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starting with weeds in the tropics :)  RSS feed

 
Ginna Quesada
Posts: 14
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For the past 6 months, i left the community garden to be tended by the community without me, and now that i am back, it has turned into a weed garden... I am living in the tropics (costa rica), so weeds are rather tricky here, seeing that they all have different maturity seasons and times, therefore they are very hard to suppress and control without pulling them out. Nevertheless i would like to try to suppress these weeds with themselves, using them as though they were straw being placed over a Fukuoka field after harvest. My plan of action is to, put some chickens in the garden while the weeds are still up, have them fertilize the area and scratch up the surface a bit (while eating some weeds)... then cut down all the weeds, spread seeds, and cover the seeds up with the cut down weeds... This is a bit different to Fukuoka’s pattern, specially because i am in the tropics and starting off with weeds.. For the moment being i plan to use peanuts as my green living manure (until i can get tropical kudzu, goa beans, hairy indigo, or sunnhemp... so i am pretty worried about what will come from this... and if it will be a grand failure.
any advice would be highly appreciated.
a great big hug to you all
 
matt davey
Posts: 8
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choko (chayote) is pretty good at smothering weeds wholesale. There's a funny picture in the permaculture designers manual of a patch that suppressed lots of weeds and 'covered a truck'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chayote

 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1320
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato) is also good...
I have not yet decided myself for the adapted green manures, according to aim and month of sowing...
My climate is much dryer than yours I guess!

I have problems with weeds too, especially because of the perennials... How to put hens?
And problems with fast annuals that overcome the rest (galinsoga...)

A complete weeding suppresses what I want to keep!
I want to keep the nettles now, and chenopodium album!
Not to mention I have salads and others coming out...

So I try to do some selective weeding, letting the ones I want grow and seed.
But long and working for a small surface.

I think hens will eat a lot and that your weeds will dry and cover everything,
What sort of failure are you afraid of?
I see only one problem: if you have weeds able to start growing again from their stem or root cuttings...
 
Emily Brown
Posts: 61
Location: Maine
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I'd take a good hard look at those weeds. What needs are they filling in that ecosystem and which more "desirable" plants would be able to fill the same need?

There are tons of ways to cull the weeds but unless you come up with a more permanent solution that addresses the root of the problem (pun intended) you'll be facing the same thing again.
 
larry korn
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Location: Ashland, Oregon
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Hi Ginna (and hello again Nicolas), Although I have spent a lot of time in the tropics, I haven't farmed there. There are tropics and then there are tropics. Every place is different. I have a video posted on my Fukuoka website that is from a group in India that worked out an ingenious plan using runner beans. Check it out...go to the video section of www.onestrawrevolution.net
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1320
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Well Xisca is my firstname, I am a woman.

http://www.onestrawrevolution.net/One_Straw_Revolution/Videos.html

I looked at the last one as it is the only one in India, and did not find it. It is 1 hour long,
so please if you can tell where this information about runner beans is?
What is a runner bean, any other name?
Is it Phaseolus coccineus or also called lima bean?

If this one, I grow it, and mine has got white flowers which surprised me...

Sure it is perennial and covers everything! Is it how you suggest to use it?
 
Troy Santos
Posts: 40
Location: Southern Thailand
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HIYA Ginna and Xisca! Well, Ginna, did you try it? I want to do something similar someday. Don't have land just yet. I live in Thailand, and sure the weeds are an issue, but if they're covered ...? Depending on what you want to have come up, in part, it will be more or less successful, I'd say. For example, if you want annual vegetables (lettuces, for example) to come up, and you've got a thick cover of weeds, then I imagine it'd be less successful. If you were to have something like, say, Sweet Leaf (aka Katuk) then I suppose you'd be more likely to have success. I've got tons of this vegetable growing here, and though I didn't try this method you've described, the plants come up easily from seed. I've got a cover of straw, and the seeds that dropped last year, came up in hundreds this year, even with the straw cover. I couldn't tell you just how thick the straw cover was, but it kept most weeds down during the cooler season, even though I was watering nearly every day. (Normally I'd push Enter here but the button's not working.) Xisca and Ginna ... did you look at the video that Larry Korn mentioned? I don't know that I found what he was referring to, but it's likely to be the one. It's 13 + minutes and the bean they show in the video is Velvet Bean, not Runner Bean. Ginna, this is similar to what you mentioned. No chickens ... I also wanna do it without chickens, or any other animals. Happy farming!
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