• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Home grown mulch. Any ideas?

 
jeremiah bailey
Posts: 343
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm in short supply of mulch. I'd like to grow my own. I already have a patch of cowpea and buckwheat, that I intend on mowing for straw after harvesting the seed. I'm wanting to get some fast growing shrubs and trees, as well as some other sources growing on my small 1/4 acre plot. I already harvest my neighbor's tree leaves in the fall. I also plan on utilizing green mulch, like clover. Any thing left over will be composted.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 20470
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This would be a good time to look into hairy vetch.  You plant it in the fall and in the spring you get a huge mat of vegetation!
 
jeremiah bailey
Posts: 343
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hairy vetch has been running in the back of my mind recently. I'm thinking of co-planting it with winter wheat just before I harvest my patch of co-planted cowpea and buckwheat. The buckwheat is about 15% mature on the seed heads. The cowpea has started blooming and the pod stalks have started growing. I figure I should plant about the beginning to middle of Sept. I figure I'll go a bit denser with planting the vetch/wheat. The buckwheat/cowpea didn't quite achieve choke out coverage. Thanks, Paul, for reminding me of that option. I should get my seed ordered soon.

I'm also looking into trees and shrubs for their leaves/limbs. I'm thinking of planting a hybrid poplar. I was thinking also of planting some pawpaws for their fruit. geekinthegarden has another thread in the permaculture forum that is parallel to this one. I just noticed it today. There he mentioned that the pawpaw leaves look like they'd make a great source for leaf mold and mulch.

I'm not sure if I should kill this thread, and continue on geekinthegarden's thread. Or should I keep this one active from here? Possibly just post the content from here in one post on the other? Paul, what do you suggest?
That thread is here: http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/1971_0/permaculture/temperate-mulch-plants
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 20470
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I can mash two threads together - that one seems specific to a region - do you think it matches your region?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you have open water, I hear azolla produces a lot of biomass.  I've also heard good things about comfrey, particularly its ability to mine K from subsoil.

Lastly, you might look into giving some small area to vetiver, particularly as a hedge, erosion stop, or quick-and-dirty (taken literally, perhaps less dirty than usual) swale.
 
jeremiah bailey
Posts: 343
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, it may be better to just continue things as is. I have a nasty habit of over complicating things, if you haven't noticed.

Nope, no open water, just a few 1000sqft. of marsh in the spring. Much of which I learned is not actually my land, and my land extends further into a dryer area than I knew. Hooray for land surveyors! I haven't researched comfrey yet, and buckwheat apparently mines potassium as well. Vetiver seems promising for some issues I have.

Paul, have you any experience with hairy vetch planted in a winter cereal? I've ordered 5lbs ea. of seed for hairy vetch and winter rye, and inoculant for the vetch. I plan on planting late Aug/early Sept. whenever the seeds arrive.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 20470
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have experience, but I have to say that the soil I tried had serious problems and the seed didn't take.  So it would be best to leave my experience out.
 
jeremiah bailey
Posts: 343
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lol, I guess I'll just have to try it and report back then, eh? What kinds of problems were you trying to overcome with the soil?

I did some reading on the comfrey, and got excited when I found it had a turnip like root. Hello soil breaker! I'm keen on trying vetiver for its deep, dense root system.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 20470
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I planted a half acre of buckwheat.  It germinated, got about an inch tall and just sat there.  Cowpeas did the same thing.  A soil test showed N to be near zero, OM to be okay-ish (about 2%) and P and K to be really high.  pH was around 6.5. 

During my permaculture training, one of the presenters, Rick Valley, showed a slide show of some of the work he has done.  He said for all of his planting projects, he didn't do soil tests because using hay mulch basically fixes "everything" .... except .... one time ....  he planted his stuff and laid down the hay mulch and .... nothing happened - all of the plants just sat there.  After a while he finally did a soil test.  Really high ....  (I can't remember which) P or K.  Apparently, this state makes stuff wanna not grow - but just sit there.  He planted an alder next to each thing he planted.  The alder doesn't mind this problem.  The alder takes in the excess.  And then the plant next to the alder grows again.






 
jeremiah bailey
Posts: 343
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah. That's good info to know.
 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
in the interest of not making things more complicated then they need to be don't forgot about natural grasses. they are well...natural.....adapted to the enviroment......already growing.......tend to benefit from being cut regularly and can create tons of mulch!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
well one thing that isn't really necessarily mentioned here..and i'm not sure what quantity you are looking at..but i'm a person who HATES pulling small weeds..so i tend to let them get fairly large before i pull them (unless of course they are runner grasses etc)..and i pull them before they go to seed.

i make sure their roots aren't touching the ground..but i lay them beside my plants and around them..for mulch..kinda sheet mulching..when i weed my berries and vegetables esp..i also use my shredder paper around the plants..and laying weeds on top of the shredded paper hides the paper under a dying pile of mulchy weeds..

i also use spent plants as mulch, rather than  throwing them into a compost pile, i put them on top of the mulches around my plants..i did that with my green beans last week..they decompose and provide a great mulch for my plants..i generally pull the plants and flip em upside down so their roots are in the air..so they won't regrow.


i'm not so big into growing mucles in the ground around my plants as so many of them can become invasive weeds
 
jeremiah bailey
Posts: 343
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do that with my "weeds" too. Just pull 'em and toss 'em on the ground. Same with my old plants. If I didn't tend to some weeds and they went to seed, I pile them in a special spot just for seedy weeds. I'm thinking of buying a sickle for regularly mowing weeds around my plants.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
jeremiah bailey wrote:
I'm thinking of buying a sickle for regularly mowing weeds around my plants.



Is there an Asian market center near you?  The Korean housewares store in my neighborhood sells sickles for 1/4 the price of any corporate store I've looked in.  Plus the drug/hardware store varieties tend to be serrated and stainless, so getting a good edge on one would be doubly impossible.
 
jeremiah bailey
Posts: 343
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'll have to check that out. I think there's a Korean store on my way home from work. Barring that, Marugg sells a hammered steel sickle that I can get for under $30 including shipping. I haven't seen a good sickle in a hardware store either.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!