• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Somthing I dont understand about cover crops and mulching

 
Gilad Fisher
Posts: 20
Location: Rehovot, Israel
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi all!
I have a qustion about cover crops and mulch:
So Im in permaculture for only 4 month and already im planing a community garden for my village.
Im doing A LOT of reserch, maybe 100 hours of reserch or even more.
Now I know that every guild need 5 things:

nitrogen
nutrients/ dynamic accumulators (non mineral, mineral, soil)
mulch
pollination
protection from external threats

Now here are the things I dont understand fully, and will help me a lot if someone could answer me:

1. How do I get the N out of N-fixers? does the plant puts the N in the ground via his roots? or do I need to chop it down, lay it on the ground and wait?
2. Same qustion about the dynamic accumulators.
3. Lets say I use clover as a cover crop. Lets say I have a climing rose and clover all around it. Now I want to mulch the clover and put it on the ground as mulch. but the whole ground is full with clover? what do I do? do I put the cut clover on the living one? wont it kill it?
4. Living in Israel, Its harder to find info about native plantes and there permaculture usess. Is there any way to know permaculture usses from the plant data? for example: I find that a plant has a flower that is rich with P, K, Ca and Cu. So can I know that the plant is a dynamic accumulator to those minerals?
5. lets say me cover crop is 30 cm tall. If I put higer plants in the cover carpet, will those plantet thrive? or will they be stangled by the cover?

Thank you very much for reading and helping!
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2310
77
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Gilad Fisher wrote:
5. lets say me cover crop is 30 cm tall. If I put higer plants in the cover carpet, will those plantet thrive? or will they be stangled by the cover?


Maybe, maybe not. How thick is the cover? If it is quite thick, then yes, you can strangle your tall plant. If it is not so thick, then you can have tall plants poking up in the middle.

Is there any way to know permaculture usses from the plant data? for example: I find that a plant has a flower that is rich with P, K, Ca and Cu. So can I know that the plant is a dynamic accumulator to those minerals?


That's roughly true, but what do you do with this knowledge? If you harvest an accumulator and go and eat it, then you have removed those minerals. If you just chop&drop it, then those minerals are available to the succeeding crop.

3. Lets say I use clover as a cover crop. Lets say I have a climing rose and clover all around it. Now I want to mulch the clover and put it on the ground as mulch. but the whole ground is full with clover? what do I do? do I put the cut clover on the living one? wont it kill it?


Yes, that will kill it. If you do it after it has set seed, it may resprout for the next season. Most clovers are just a part year cover crop; it gets chopped&dropped or rolled and crimped prior to seeding the next crop, which ideally is one that will take advantage of all that nitrogen that was left in the soil. Pasture and orchard clover is a different matter. Those are usually left to go to seed and then they can be counted on to come back year after year.

How do I get the N out of N-fixers? does the plant puts the N in the ground via his roots? or do I need to chop it down, lay it on the ground and wait?. Same qustion about the dynamic accumulators.


There will be some nitrogen in the roots, especially if you are dealing with an inoculated legume. But most of the nitrogen is in green leafy matter as plant proteins. If you chop it down and let it lay, as it decomposes it provides nitrogen to the soil food web. If you till it under, you may be able to make the nitrogen even faster acting, but then you have to consider that against the negative of disturbing the soil. Strip tillage is probably a good middle ground; you've turned a lot of nitrogen containing green under, but you've also left a good bit of soil undisturbed and the soil life has an easier time of moving back in.

Since you are in the Mediterranean, there should be a lot of info about native plants. The study of botany was started in the Mediterranean, and the Romans left many notes about what was growing in the area during their time. The olive and chestnut trees of the Mediterranean islands are examples of sustainable agriculture long before the word 'permaculture' was thought up. There would be many more examples of sustainable permaculture around the Mediterranean if it wasn't also for the herds of goats and other grazing animals that the local inhabitants are fond of having. Overgrazing has been a big problem in the area, and the sooner people can switch over to Allan Savory's method of intensive grazing and then recovery, the more sustainable it will be.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Watch geoff lawton's From Desert to Oasis in 4 years. It'll explain quite a bit for you. You have to sign up to get free access.

Here's the short version:
 
Gilad Fisher
Posts: 20
Location: Rehovot, Israel
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank the both of you for the help.
There is still something I dont understand:
Lets say I use a penial cover crop, like Tropaeolum majus.
Now how can I chop it, leave it on the ground to decompost and not kill the plant? I mean if I cover the plant it will block the sun and the plant will die, no?

Tropaeolum majus
 
Mike Wong
Posts: 36
Location: Southwest UK, Maritime Temperate climate, Zone 9, AHS Heat Zone 1
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you chop some but not all of it then the plant will not die. Just leave the chopped material on the ground. You don't need to cover the rest of the plant, but to be honest, even if you then normally the plant will grow through it. My nasturtiums will grow through almost anything, although I do live in a much colder climate than you.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Gilad Fisher wrote:
Lets say I use a penial cover crop, like Tropaeolum majus.

I'm not familiar with that plant, but other plants are almost impossible to kill once established like comfrey.
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 468
Location: Eastern Kansas
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Supposing you have a clover plant. Then, some animal like a rabbit eats some of it and leaves.

The plant now has less leaves to support and so it has more roots than it needs, so the plant shuts nutrients off to some of the excess roots, and they die and decompose. As the plant grows back, new roots are grown while the roots that were cut off decompose. Then another rabbit eats the top or it is mown or whatever, and the cycle begins again. This is a slower method than chop and drop, but it is a slow and steady way to enrich the soil constantly.

As for the mulch killing the plant it is dropped on, it depends how tall the plant is when you cut it. If the plants are bushy and 3 feet tall (not likely with clover) it will be very hard on the parent plant: if you cut it BEFORE the plant is huge then the green matter will dry up, the sun can reach the parent plant, and it will be fine.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1302
Location: Central New Jersey
34
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You also do not have to chop and drop at that spot. You could cut back your clover and rake the cuttings over by your lemon tree, as an example.
So you cut the clover, it sheds some roots and releases nitrogen where it is, but you move the cut material to another area and it releases nitrogen there without covering the cut back clover.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic