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planting to meet composting and mulching needs  RSS feed

 
ronan Watters
Posts: 15
Location: Ireland
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hi

Looking at getting a piece of land in Catalonia in Spain. It hasn't been worked in the last 5 years but as it's not as dry in this part of Spain as further south. The lands not in to bad of shape. The land isn't totally finalized yet but i will probably be in that area, even if the one I have my heart set on falls through. So it's a Med climate and I think it would fit with a plant hardness zone of 9 (not sure of that part as the plant zones are new to me)

Drawing up some plans and starting off one of the big limiting factors will be limits of compost and mulching materials. So I am looking at some tips and ideas about how to get around this.

So are there any plants that folks would suggest that would be good for quickly growing? largely for getting chopped and added to a compost pile. Obviously all the better if the plants have other functions.

What are peoples thoughts on using ponds to grow duckweed for harvesting for mulching or compost?

When I get some compost produced I am thinking of using compost teas so I can spread that micro biology further, then it would go with compost alone?

In terms of off site resources I can get in some straw bales. There is also a local commercial seaweed composting company which sell a ton for 90euro if you pick it up yourself, don't know if this is organic or anything else about it. But have driven past it and it's made out doors in huge big steaming piles.

any imput or suggestions are welcome

thanks
ronan
 
Toby Hemenway
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Growing biomass crops takes water, so what you grow for it depends on where your water is and how much you have. Comfrey has been the lead herbaceous biomass plant for most permies, but in subtropical zones people use leucaena, moringa, erythrina, and other fast-growing trees. Also, it's best to mulch only where you can irrigate. Mulching dry land in Mediterranean climate can prevent water from getting to the soil, and actually inhibit growth of plants, especially natives.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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ronan Watters wrote:

What are peoples thoughts on using ponds to grow duckweed for harvesting for mulching or compost?


Personally I would grow Cattail, which is a large fast-growing plant and is edible by humans and animals. It can be surprisingly drought-tolerant and does not need constant standing water to survive; it will live through dry periods during which there is no standing water, going dormant, though months of drought will kill it. http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Typha+latifolia

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i have some sterile ornamental grasses in my flower beds and they do create a lot of biomass, esp the really big ones. Cattails are a huge amount of biomass..and you can also cut branches and leaves off of some bushes and trees, like alder esp. some weeds are good cut before they go to seed as well and then there are field grasses like they would use for hay, but get them before the seed ripens. You also can use prunings off of evergreens, bark, rotted wood, etc..
 
ronan Watters
Posts: 15
Location: Ireland
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Thank you for all the replies. The piece of land I am mainly thinking about at the moment does have irrigated water on it at the moment which I am happy to use to get things started.

Toby. Comfrey is one of those plants that seams to be on every permaculture lists. In terms of mulching in Mediterranean climates. We have fairly distinctive periods when it will rain or not rain. Would it be good to pull back the mulch for the times when we will get the rain and then pile it back on to keep that moisture in the soil over the dry summers. Or switch to a cover crop to protect the soil in summer?

I think cattails and duckweed will be good starters. The river Ebro is nearby. So I am thinking I can just go down to it's banks and see what kind of rushes and grasses are growing well along the more slower water moving inner bends in the river and take samples from there.

Also I think European cane (Arundo donax) will be a useful for biomass as well as for the canes themselves and it clearly grows well around here from what I see.

thanks again
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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rush and cattails are edible so IF you use those you might also be able to use parts for food when you harvest the mulching parts...actually cattails are edible several different ways and times of year..shoots, inner parts of stalks, unripe and ripe seed heads and roots..some books will give you info on how..
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Personally, I like the idea of a living cover crop better than a mulch. While the cover crop is living, it is constantly benefiting all of the microbes in your soil. It is growing your next batch of mulch right where you need it. It will benefit your soil more than a bale of dried straw. Its roots are sequestering moisture and nutrients at the same time they are opening your soil deeper, allowing air and water to penetrate to depths even a plow cannot reach.

If you allow it to reseed at summer's end, you have achieved a permaculturist's goal: a perpetual, self tending, beneficial crop. It will nourish your soil forever.
 
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