Yeah Scott, I need to add some mulch, hopefully will be putting some down soon.
For my food forest and other woody perennials, I like to use mostly leaves and a few sticks and decaying logs that I lay on the surface of the ground. I chop up the leaves with a lawnmower for the newly planted areas so that it breaks down quicker and the nutrients can be absorbed sooner by the young plants, and then put a light layer of whole leaves on top. For longer established areas that already have some of the mulch breaking down, I just use whole leaves.
I'll probably be transplanting these to a permanent location this Fall, and will probably add some blueberries and other things around them for some good polyculture.
Some of the Honeycrisp apple seedlings are doing ok, and some of them are struggling, which I kind of expected since Honeycrisp is a very cold loving variety, and our summers get extremely hot and humid.
It should be interesting to see if any survive the summer gauntlet here.
That's a great resource Mike, thanks for sharing that. The link about halfway down the article Pictures of maturing buckwheat seeds shows some really good pictures of maturing buckwheat and when to pick it too which can be super helpful!
Cj Jones wrote:Thanks so much for posting these, Steve. It's astounding to see the progress from the may shot of the fledgling plants making first true leaves. Your growth rate is incredible. A testament to your soil and how happy they are shading/helping each other. Looking forward to trying this intensive method!
Thanks Cj, it's worked really well for me so far. No watering, weeding, or major pest or disease problems so far, just planting, observing, and harvesting. It makes gardening so much more enjoyable to me!
Beth, here's a few links to a some of the threads showing pictures of some of my garden plants. I don't have a picture of the whole area right now, but I'll hopefully add a picture or video of it soon to the first thread below.
Cj Jones wrote:Is there a particular quantity of compost or mulch that you use that you feel helps?
I don't make any compost, since I haven't really needed it.
I've found that a mulch of a variety of green annuals, mostly that I get from cutting my yard (mostly weeds ) has worked the best for me in my main garden area where I'm growing mostly annual veggies. I try not to mulch more than a few inches, the less the better, that way the rain doesn't have to rain very much to soak the mulch and seep into the soil. The mulch slows the water run off and helps absorb the majority of the water and help it slowly soak into the soil. After the first mulch, the ideal mulch is self sustained by the natural mulching of plants and weeds shading out each other, dying and forming a new layer of mulch, while the new plants are growing up as the old ones are dying. This has been one of the hardest parts in my opinion, and I'm trying to figure out the best plants to plant at the different times for my area to create this natural cycle. The only work it requires at that point is just scattering the seed at the right times.
For my food forest and other woody perennials, I use leaves and a few sticks and decaying logs that I lay on the surface of the ground. I chop up the leaves with a lawnmower for the newly planted areas so that it breaks down quicker and the nutrients can be absorbed sooner by the young plants, and put a light layer of whole leaves on top. For longer established areas that already have some of the mulch breaking down, I just use whole leaves. A light natural mulch layer here is preferred also. Too little mulch doesn't provide enough natural soil cover to provide the above mentioned benefits, and too much mulch can create an unbalance in nature, where I've seen it attract a large number of worms to break down the abundance of mulch, which then attracted a large number of moles to eat the earthworms, which then ate the roots of some of my small trees.
Using these two different types of mulches for these two different types of plants, has really seemed to meet their different growing needs.
I'm fascinated by the idea of teaching plants roots to dive deep from the time they are babies. Since they need water to sprout, when do you stop watering?
I never water my annual garden plants, all of which I direct seed.
I try to plant before a forecasted rain, so the newly planted seeds are watered shortly after being planted, and they are watered naturally by rain for the rest of their lives.
Does the type of veggie make a difference? Does companion planting or interplanting annual and perennials make a difference?
I try to plant the veggies in their preference of location, in a dryer or wetter area, but most of them can tolerate a range of conditions.
Planting them very closely, has been very helpful, since they cover the soil, which provides numerous benefits.
Planting them mixed with other different plants has been super effective at minimizing pest and diseases and maximizing soil and plant health.
Due to their different growing preferences I usually plant annuals with annuals, and perennials with perennials.
When do you mulch once you've seeded and do you remulch during the growing season.
I like to apply the mulch a good amount of time before the first planting if possible, removing a good bit of it to plant and then respreading it when the plants are coming up well if it's needed, but if the plants are planted thickly enough, they shouldn't need it and can be mulched naturally going forward like was mentioned above.
Your garden looks great Cj, would love to see some photos of how it progresses and wish you the best with it!
I love the diversity of plants growing around the blueberries, such great polyculture!
We've had a mini drought the last few weeks combined with really hot weather, which has made ours have a very strong flavor, and also I probably picked them a little early too since it was so hard to wait. We've had some thunder showers today and yesterday, so I'm thinking that will help sweeten up the berries also.
Do you have rabbiteyes, southern highbush, or another type of blueberries?
Steve Thorn wrote:By maintaining a good mulch layer, direct seeding, not disturbing the soil, never watering, accepting a few plants may not make it, and selecting for tougher plants, I've not had to water my garden at all, and I think it will work for others too!
How much rain do you usually get during the summer? I usually have 2 months with minimal rain. The seasonal drought. This year it started early. No rain for 3 weeks. But with the winter so very wet, I haven't felt the need to water, yet.
We had the same thing with the rain the last three weeks, and the temperature was in the 90's for 2 out of those 3 weeks, which was really early like you mentioned, and I was getting a little nervous , but the plants weathered it fine.
The weather data says that we average a couple inches of rainfall during the summer, but most of it is scattered thunder showers, and they have unfortunately passed around us a lot these last few years, and I think we went about two months also last year without almost any rain.
In my food forest I watered two blueberry transplants once during this recent heatwave and drought with a deep watering, since they were transplants and not direct seeded, and I planted them in a pretty dry area, contrary to their preferences. With the direct seeded garden, and my food forest plants that have been established for at least a year, I don't water at all. I also have some other blueberry transplants planted in a more moist area like they prefer, and they were doing awesome, and I didn't have to water them.
I have an extreme tough love with my garden. I never water any of my garden plants.
I plant it all direct seeded, without transplanting any of the plants, which I think really helps with not needing to water it in the future. The roots grow down deep right away, as they are never watered, so they have to develop strong healthy roots to have good access to moisture as they grow.
Never watering is really important from my experience. If it is watered even 1 or 2 times especially when young, it will develop a dependence on it, and won't be able to weather extended periods of drought. Sometimes the plants look like they need water, but will actually bounce right back to normal once they get relief from direct sunlight.
I also don't disturb the soil at all after planting. I minimize weeding, and instead of pulling the weeds out, I usually cut them down and add them to the mulch.
Some plants won't make it, but that's ok with me, I'm selecting for those that are more vigorous and can handle periods of drought.
This may not work for all climates, but I think it could work in almost all of them using permaculture techniques and design, and planting in the best areas for each plant's specific needs and unique preferences.
By maintaining a good mulch layer, direct seeding, not disturbing the soil, never watering, accepting a few plants may not make it, and selecting for tougher plants, I've not had to water my garden at all, and I think it will work for others too!
Really enjoyed the thread and blog post Daron, I look forward to reading them each week.
Yeah the weather has been really weird here too recently.
It was 50 degrees F. about 3 weeks ago and we were getting rain pretty regularly, and then it changed almost immediately to 90 degrees and no rain on top of that. I know the plants were super confused, but most of them have weathered (pun intended) it pretty well.