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Does anyone know WHY Cut Grass?  RSS feed

 
          
Posts: 18
Location: Saskatchewan Zone 2b-3a maybe 3b
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I moved to another property
and am in the process of turning the whole grass area
into a diversified area for mixed growth of vegetables , flowers, currents.

I cut nothing, have nothing cut so far as of this date in June;
after all, isn't the invention of hay a rather modern invention
long after the era of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire!

And with the winds here would the grass not be wounded by the cuts,
wind that sucks out the water,
diminishes the grass' root growth that turns eventually into soil
after worms and bacteria can live and thereby enrich the ground?

Am I not supposed to preserve as much moisture for as many microbes as possibly?

Very early, long before the grass started growing
I seeded on top of it an experimental "row"of wheat,
another row of oats, then broadcasted  a mixture of different clovers,
a mixture of annual/perennial flowers mixed with vegetable seeds, Daikon etc

and to protect the area from drying out, from the nearly continuous winds
I took some dry hay and let it softly float onto this area as a cover,
against wind, seed eating birds, against wind blowing away precious moisture...
as protection against cold nights...

The grass growth developed, if at all,
much slower than seeds of wheat, oats, Phacelia,
but the clovers remain  slow as if after sprouting they are waiting for warmer nights and days...

But I let all grass, all "weeds" grow until the end of June and beyond into the fall
so I can see all the spots, wild plants, "weeds" and all areas where growth is "different",
i.e. with lots of dandelions, different grass species...

I also did an other area: put sunflower seeds, wheat and oats on the still not green grass-lawn area,
then floated loosely dry straw on top and covered with a row cover:
against, birds, wind, trap snow and rain to preserve moisture...trap sunshine, warmth.

Again, the seeds do better than the grass itself...

Later in the year I will simply press down other grown grass areas
and cover them with just enough straw to merely weigh grass stalks down,
not exactly to suffocate the grass growth,
but to gently overwhelming grass with mixtures of vegetable-annual/perennial flower-herbs...

AND to trap as many falling leaves... to capture as many leaves from the blowing prairie winds...

some tall grass areas have lodged, fallen over in the wind and rain like some wheat field;
this area, I propose, would have to be planted with potassium producing plants...
like what?

what I do, I would not call it "mulching":
suffocating one type of growth and  pushing aside its live-bacteria
solely for some human nutrient utility
is not what I intent to do.

Everything here is forever no-till;
also cut -no weed, cut- no grass.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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sounds a bit like Fukoka
 
rose macaskie
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    If you leave the grasses then they produce seed for the birds and mice and ants.

      I have just read in the google section on companion plants that ants move black fly to certain plants, that could mean getting them off the ones you mind about.

    Here there used to be a dump in each village for the village rubbish and there were lots of kites you could not drive anywhere without seeing kites flying around. They cleaned up on the village dumps and the kites disappeared, i don't know if the dumps produced lots of rats and mice and the kites ate them or if they ate the rubbish but now they are gone.
        In some places here in Spain they don't make hay, they let the livestock eat the grass that dries in summer in the feilds without cutting it. A shepherd when I asked him of the nutrient value of green grass and dry grass laughed and said that green grass makes them pee and pee, he did not seem to approve of green grass.
 
      If we have very few mice then we will have very few birds of prey and so then we will get plagues of mice we can't control, without animals of prey who keep them down.

      We need birds of the crow family because they eat tent worms.

        I once read an article and it said that cutting the lawn creates a lot of carbon dioxide, not because of all the people using their lawn mowers, as i understood it but because the cut grass produces carbon dioxide. I wish i had kept the article  to cheque up on that. agri rose macaskie.
 
 
                    
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Beautiful AR! 
Thatching grass with help plus seeds
Summer tomatoes
 
                    
Posts: 18
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And I cut grass to concentrate the natural thatch effect.  Consider the scythe.
 
rose macaskie
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    I saw a scythed feild in yugoslavia forty years ago, beautiful, there was someone plaing a pipe somewhere too, sounds improbable but it was true.
    The article said the cut grass produced the carbondioxide not the machine.
  Y    ou cut grass for hay in winter or hay in summer. Maybe you cut grass to stop the fire risk in a dry season. rose.
 
Burra Maluca
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The main reason I know to cut grass is to keep it as grass and not let it turn into scrubland.  Of course, grazing animals are what naturally do this, but if you want to maintain grasslands without them, or while you are waiting for their numbers to build up again, you need to imitate the actions of grazers by cutting the grass occasinally. 

The other reason I cut grass is that where I live it is required by law to keep grass short during the fire season so we have to cut it in the areas we have planted young trees and don't want to graze the donkey.
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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Uncut grass is illegal in many suburban and urban areas in the US, for cosmetic reasons. Additionally Uncut grass is prone to grass fires, which do produce natural biochar and built the wonderful prairie soils across the globe, but can lead to house fires too. Cutting grass also suppresses many kinds of weeds. That said uncut tall grass like big blue stem is magnificent and I really like the look of it.

Lawns are cosmetic, so doing something cosmetic to them makes sense in that regard.
 
                                                    
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What zone are you in? also, if your area is low fire risk you might consider a burning rotation. I
have heard that controlled burning helps increase fertility and reduces competition from annuals. In many grassland ecosystems fire plays a vital role recycling nutrients, removing litter, and creating habitat for perennials. Some Native American tribes (not sure which) regularly burned grassland across much of the United States. 
       [size=8pt]"Generally, the American Indians burned parts of the ecosystems in which they lived to promote a diversity of habitats, especially increasing the "edge effect," which gave the Indians greater security and stability to their lives."
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_use_of_fire
[/size]
If you are working on tired or abused land, an inoculation might help those clover. Clover accumulates potassium as well. Check out this link, its a list of dynamic accumulators
http://oregonbd.org/Class/accum.htm
 
                      
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My thoughts are:
Grass is cut
if you want to cut hay for your livestock, or need the cut grass for some other purpose (such as roofing material, mulch)
if you want to avoid seeding and producing hard stemmed grass, if you want good quality hay for you livestock
if you want to reinvigorate the grass – producing tender grass, more shoots, encourage more roots
if you want to control some kind of potential pest (depends what you consider pest)
if you want to avoid spread of uncontrolled fire
if you want to have a nice looking grassland

Grass is not cut
if you have no projected purpose
if you want to retain a landscape that protects you from various elements (rain, wind, neighbors?, etc.)
if you want to let nature take its course
if you want to retain an all natural untouched area, a sanctuary for different kinds of life

I hope I am right, and these help
 
Fred Morgan
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Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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We have a band of grass around our house I cut with a reel mower - probably just 4 meters. After that, I cut with a scythe and use it in the garden or give it to a horse. I only do this about once a month. This is to keep critters at bay - (I am all for nature, but draw the line at co-habitating with fer-de-lance.

Further away, I tend to cut when it gets knee high unless I want to create a forest. Usually though that is just used for a horse.
 
rose macaskie
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  If you cut grass doesn't it mean there is less seed for the wild life. Aren't we always doing everything so there is less for other forms of life? agri rose macaskie.
 
                        
Posts: 122
Location: sub-tropics downunder
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yes cutting grass at the wrong time is going to cause moisture loss from you property we never cut ours in dry periods so what is called lawn stays nice and green looking with no loss of property moisture. when we had acreage we wouldn't slash until rain was imminent, see too many people slashing because they feel they have to or mowing here in the 'burb's and then see their yards dry out and the grass shrivel. we cut our grass at near max' mower height keep it long and we rake so we leave some clip on the ground for nutrient for eh grass. we would never slash in the late summer either giving the grass a chance to strengthen up for the winter. also here in the 'burb's it is winter so grass won't be cut for a long time yet maybe until september at the earliest.

depending on how much land you have nothing wrong with knocking the top off the grassed areas at the appropriate times, if done regular then you won't have that much over burden to deal with. lots wrong with cutting grass like a bowling green that discourges deep root growth and cost lots of moisture so then requires the wastefull folly of having to water it to keep it looking green, just to repeat the process all over again, bit silly hey?

len
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Burra Maluca wrote:The main reason I know to cut grass is to keep it as grass and not let it turn into scrubland. 


Sometimes it turns into desert, instead. Depends on the conditions. But yes, truf grasses seem to have co-evolved with large herbivores. Periodic cutting both suppresses competition, and can be directly necessary for the survival of the grass.

An earlier thread linked to an article on the topic:

When [grasses] are left standing, dying upright, the result is to block light from reaching growth buds; the next year, the entire plant dies. The death of grass leads to bare ground, and desert spreads.
 
Burra Maluca
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Where I live, so much grassland has been planted with eucalyptus and pine plantations that there is virtually no grassland left.  What little is left is generally not cut, but plowed up to prevent fires.  The result is that the natural herbivores are dying out, and their predators are going extinct.  The iberian lynx is on the verge of extinction because of loss of grassland habitat and there are thought to be no breeding lynx left in Portugal, possibly no wild lynx at all by now.  For me, buying as much grassland as I can afford and maintaining it as grassland is important, and with only one donkey to help me prevent it turning to scrub, I'd rather cut occasionally. 

I'm not saying it's right for everyone, in fact I'm pretty sure it isn't, but it's right for me, here, now.  Not cutting it isn't really an option as we are required by law to reduce the fire risk, and cutting it, maintaining as grassland, and not plowing it up to turn it into desert seems the best option.

I'm going to go check that link out...
 
rose macaskie
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       Plants send a hormone down from the outermost tips of stems that inhibits growth of the buds below so the auxillary buds dont develop but if plants tips are cut or the grass is cropped, then the auxilary buds will grow and the grass plants thicken out, so moderate cutting increases the thickness of the grass, the amount of grass.

       Keeping the grass in rein allows other plants to grow like clover and other meadow plants this can be a reason for sever grazing or cutting of grass. I have that from a Spainish agricultual engineer.

      I have seen lawns here i think have been so severly cut they are not very strong, at anyrate the grass is not strong and it is severly and often cut. The drier the country or maybe the harder the conditions the more carefull you have to be not to press vegetation too hard.

       If you leave grass to its own devices does it form raised tussucks of grass with deep dips between tussocks? This is to say does the grass start to form cushions, a plant formation that is good for protecting the plant from extremes of weather, the centre of the cushions being cooler than the rest of the air in hot weather and warmer than the outside temperatures and in cold weather.

       If tussocks form, maybe that makes for better absorption of rain water, less run off into rivers and more run in to the water table, because it makes for ground with dips and raises which  raises and hollows stop run off.
      If hassocks create less run off this is good where there are water problems. The rain will be absorbed instead of running off the land like it runs off the roofs of houses and into the rivers. When the water goes through the ground  it means the rain water seeping slowly into rivers as the water drips out of the soaked land which means a steady flow of water instead of the sudden rush that you might expect if the rain water after a rainfall event drains straight and fast off the surface of the land and into rivers.
        It also means that wells fill as the underground water level raises and that is wells down stream as well as where the tussocks are. It also means that new rivers appear and i have that information from a the thar desert area look uwater harvesting Thar desert, not a wet area.

      I had, a while back when premaculture introduced me to the idea of increasing the places that held water to increase the ground absorption of water, turned over the idea that that ironing out tussocks might fit into the list of things we do to reduce rain water take up.
     The list is-: Straightening rivers, which straightness means  less area of river water in contact with the ground for absorption, there is more skirt in a gathered skirt than  a straight one.  Narrowing river beds and stopping the flooding  of rivers, drying up wetlands and reducing puddles and hollows because they are not good for farm equipment.

     Tussocks make walking around difficult, they are annoying for animals including the human animal.  agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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  Burra Maluca, you live in Spain, great! Where, in Galicia where they plant eucaliptus and pines. You must be fairly cool  to call yourself burra (donkey).
  I  have thought of cutting the grass after the grass has seeded at the begining of the dry season so i woudl not be drying it or anythign and it would be aqble to seed and it woudl be cut for the dry season.
  i had not heard there was an actual law about cutting grass, only the suggestion, petition. I have seen a paper up in a town hall asking for cleaning which is to say clearing all undergrowth in summer.
  I believe some grasses have deeper roots than others and so maybe do better where the rain is less to be trusted and they say that companies only sell, i think it was five types of grass, maybe there are some useful grasses out there for dry countries that are hardly used anymore. agr rose macaskie.
 
Burra Maluca
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Rose - I'm in Portugal, but only ten miles from the Spanish border so the conditions here are similar, though the laws might be a little different.  The grass here does form tussocks if it's left uncut, just like you say, and it's difficult to walk over as you have to pick winding paths between tussocks, usually with the (other) burra bumbling along behind you following the same path and tripping over your heels as you search for a good place to tether her for the day. 

The main 'farm' area we have had been plowed every year for as long as the locals have had tractors and was basically non-tussocky grassland rapidly losing soil and turning into desert.  The bigger area of grassland below the farm had been abandoned for about 13 years and the central area is tussocky, the outer area is shrub, mostly rock rose, and there are patches where pine trees have got a foothold so we have odd corners of young pine forest.  The land next to the farm has been abandoned for about 20 years and the rock rose is dying out as the pines have grown high enough and densely enough to shade them out in most places.  We did find a patch clear enough of pines near our farm gate to tether the donkey occasionally, and she has trodden down the rock rose, grazed it, and turned it back into short, sweet, fire resistant grass. 

Around the village, the locals are very very strict about not only cutting the grass but also plowing the land afterwards to help prevent fire spreading to the houses.  They like to plow it up as soon as they can, but every time it rains it grows again so they end up plowing and plowing and plowing until the summer is finally here.  We have 'adopted' some of the land for grass cutting purposes (we need hay and mulch!) and we are trying to get them to allow us to cut as late as possible after the grass is pretty well seeded and dormant for the summer and then plow only once. 

I don't know about in Spain, but here Burra also has other meanings here... 
 
Emerson White
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Can you restore the native herbivores?
 
                              
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Location: Denmark
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Where I live areas with uncut grass will turn into scrubland and then forrest in 7-12 years. Fine if that is what you want, but not so fine, if you aren't planning to turn the area into a forrest...
The permie way of having a lawn/meadow would be to have some animals to graze there, that is the way it is in the wild.

 
Emil Spoerri
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Emerson White wrote:
Can you restore the native herbivores?


this is what I say to vegans when they try to give a bad name to cows.
 
Matt Ferrall
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Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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The native herbivores here are not grazers,but browsers so grass isnt really doing them much good(although they will eat it,just not prefered).Domestic cattle were raised using shredding,in which tree branches from elms and other trees that hold their leaves were removed during winter for animal food.i.e. domestic animals were raised in a forest setting.Here in the pacific NW ,pasture grass is our worst invasive but `they` wont list it as such?.With fire outlawed and lacking grazers,cutting it might be the next best thing.Prarie moon nursery has books and plants geared toward grasslands.
 
Emil Spoerri
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Mt.goat wrote:
The native herbivores here are grazers,not browsers so grass isnt really doing them much good(although they will eat it,just not prefered).Domestic cattle were raised using shredding,in which tree branches from elms and other trees that hold their leaves


you mean they are browsers and not grazers? I think you are forgetting about buffalo. One kind of which is extinct, the other nearly extinct compared to the numbers they used to be in. Elk and moose are more grazers then deer or goats from what i understand, though still browsers.

There are roughly the same number of cows in this country as there were buffalo hundreds of years ago.
 
rose macaskie
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Burra, gosh, ploughing it up as well as cutting it, looks like the idea that fear of fires causes deserts would be true in Portugal.
  i was asking locals if the livestock ate rock rose and i got the answer that they used cut it in hard winters for the sheep and salted it to persuade them to eat it. I FInd it hard to get the locals to tell me about anything but i am not to be trusted i would write information down here for example. If they do tell me things i don't know whether to believe them, i think some types of sheep will eat it and maybe goats . Your donkey eats rock roses and she turns them into fire proof grass, usefull animal.
      I don't know of any other meaning for burra in spain than donkey it means butter in Italy.
  Tell more about the fire proof grass.
      Can you drink donkey milk? rose
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Emerson White wrote:Can you restore the native herbivores?


In the US, we accidentally re-introduced horses, which IMHO was a very good thing. There have been suggestions to experiment with either Asian or African elephants, but these haven't been taken very seriously, and I'm not sure how well-adapted either would be.

No hope of re-introducing giant sloths, unfortunately. 
 
Matt Ferrall
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Yes,I got those mixed up Emile,thanx for clarifying than.Yes also that grazers are more likely to be native to native grassland areas.Introducing them might be an option.Elk have incresed in numbers here because of an increase in feilds but they seem to also enjoy forest improvement.Making hay is somewhat recent to my understanding??
 
Emerson White
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Do hares fit the grazer bill in the PNW? Humans showing up ~13,000 years ago and again 518 years ago were both devastating events for the wildlife (the first was significantly worse if you were a critter more than 10 lbs, the second probably worse if you weigh less than an ounce). So the true native range of animals is missing, we haven't got the rhinos and giant buffalo and what not to do the job. Wood Bison are probably the answer to such a situation. The PNW has lots of rain, which gives trees an edge (and destroys  animals before they can fossilize) but wood bison do live in some fairly forested habitats coming out to graze much like the Wisent once did in the primeval forests of Europe.
 
Burra Maluca
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Rose - I don't think the donkey actually eats the rockrose.  The rockrose seems to concentrate all it's efforts into fast colonisation, rapidly growing and becoming woody then spreading thousands of seeds as it matures and then dies as young trees replace it.  It doesn't seem to have any defense against trampling by hooves - it never seems to recover if you cut it, pull it, or stand on it, and I think donkey's dear little dainty feet stomping round and round when she is tethered is a bit too much for it.  The timing is critical though as you can't tether her near big plants as the rope tangles up too much, so her best use is on areas that are just being colonised, before the plants get too big. 

I think the locals here must be of the same stock as your locals - I get the same collection of mostly unbelievable stories.  I've been told that they used to cut the rock rose as bedding, though I can't imagine it being much use for that job. 

Here's a link to a dicitonary which you may find interesting Rose...
http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=burra
 
Ken Peavey
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My new place has 3.7 acres, mostly open field.  There is some swamp nearby.  I need to cut the grass because of water moccasins.
 
          
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Location: Saskatchewan Zone 2b-3a maybe 3b
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Thanks everyone for contributing to this question....
-this is much appreciated....

The grass grew to between three and four feet high,
then fell over and dried out dead on dead dry soil...

some areas that I cut with hedge scissors went dead and dried even faster...

today I used Planki's method
Plankl wrote:
I'm experimenting with something this year.
http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=5021.msg43696#msg43696


so in an area that was still standing up I packed down the 3-4 feet of totally dry grass
so it gets in contact with the ground and then used some rotted straw to weigh it down in certain areas.

I hope snow and frost will do the rest and let it be until the ground warms up in June 2011;
until such time then I will over seed clovers and vegetables a la Holzer, Fukuoka, Planki et al...

Some other areas that I had covered with straw right onto the lawn this cold spring the clovers take their time
but I had ordered comfrey plants, nettles  and others from Richter's in June
that area comes into its own now...

the cabbage plants where "eaten" by the white cabbage butterfly
but I'm not surprised, the ground is poor and not ready yet with cabbage type nutrients;
but a tiny gray warbler went for the cabbage butterflies...
sunflowers grew on this ground to two feet at the most,
and their seeds already attracted a few  yellow goldfinches...

I think the grass grew on chemicals and fell over -lodged-lacking potassium.
I got lots of sow thistles, deep-rooters, potassium accumulators...
so next year I will seed around them lettuce combinations...
I had only a few dandelions...so no salad either until the ground improves...

Everything no till, building up the soil from a lawn towards a vegetable patch;
some Daikon grew and flowered and seeds dropped somewhere...
all roots remain in the ground undisturbed for next year's soil-builders...

 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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AR wrote:
I moved to another property
and am in the process of turning the whole grass area
into a diversified area for mixed growth of vegetables , flowers, currents.

I cut nothing, have nothing cut so far as of this date in June;
after all, isn't the invention of hay a rather modern invention
long after the era of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire!

And with the winds here would the grass not be wounded by the cuts,
wind that sucks out the water,
diminishes the grass' root growth that turns eventually into soil
after worms and bacteria can live and thereby enrich the ground?

Am I not supposed to preserve as much moisture for as many microbes as possibly?

Very early, long before the grass started growing
I seeded on top of it an experimental "row"of wheat,
another row of oats, then broadcasted  a mixture of different clovers,
a mixture of annual/perennial flowers mixed with vegetable seeds, Daikon etc

and to protect the area from drying out, from the nearly continuous winds
I took some dry hay and let it softly float onto this area as a cover,
against wind, seed eating birds, against wind blowing away precious moisture...
as protection against cold nights...

The grass growth developed, if at all,
much slower than seeds of wheat, oats, Phacelia,
but the clovers remain  slow as if after sprouting they are waiting for warmer nights and days...

But I let all grass, all "weeds" grow until the end of June and beyond into the fall
so I can see all the spots, wild plants, "weeds" and all areas where growth is "different",
i.e. with lots of dandelions, different grass species...

I also did an other area: put sunflower seeds, wheat and oats on the still not green grass-lawn area,
then floated loosely dry straw on top and covered with a row cover:
against, birds, wind, trap snow and rain to preserve moisture...trap sunshine, warmth.

Again, the seeds do better than the grass itself...

Later in the year I will simply press down other grown grass areas
and cover them with just enough straw to merely weigh grass stalks down,
not exactly to suffocate the grass growth,
but to gently overwhelming grass with mixtures of vegetable-annual/perennial flower-herbs...

AND to trap as many falling leaves... to capture as many leaves from the blowing prairie winds...

some tall grass areas have lodged, fallen over in the wind and rain like some wheat field;
this area, I propose, would have to be planted with potassium producing plants...
like what?

what I do, I would not call it "mulching":
suffocating one type of growth and  pushing aside its live-bacteria
solely for some human nutrient utility
is not what I intent to do.

Everything here is forever no-till;
also cut -no weed, cut- no grass.





You and I operate the exact same way!!!    The only difference is my grass is in an orchard where the trimmed back trees got left alone for over 10 years and had to be trimmed.  So I chopped & dropped, made swales out of the material and left it.  I love it. 
 
rose macaskie
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burra maluca, i clicked on your link and read all about burras and only want to say, and why did you then use that name for your self, because of  reverse magic, like if i have a terrible name i will get good luck or a real lack of confidence, the psychiatrist in me will have you building up confidence till you call yourself, Angel Hercules Einstein Maluca. Maybe it is a sort of menace, burros are meant to be stubborn, so  if you call yourself a burra it maybe as a warning. I believe Portuguese are meekish they don't look so competative about dress but Spaniards are pretty warlike in there neighbourly habits, so it would make sense if it were a warning and a burra that steps on roses more so. 
  I have heard of rock roses, jarra isn't it in Spanish, used to tar roads in a village in Spain,  their resin that is, in the Zamoran district of the Alba. Its resin is also used in the pharmaceutical industry. Juan Oria de la Rueda, guia de arboles y arbustos de Castilla y Leon.  I pushed the people, in the village I go to, a bit and they said sheep would eat jarra or did in the bad old days, they feed them it in winter, if things got very hard and they salted it to make them eat it. They don't tell me things if i don't push them, I am not to be trusted and if i do i don't know if it is true or not, you never do unless people are very much your friends and sometimes not even then. Lots of people in the village seem to think ancient farming methods are more embarrassing than interesting and possibly super useful. I have thought might burra maluca be my neighbors daughter, who teaches English in university, in disguise, then your village and mine would indeed be the same.
    I went through my Spanish races of sheep book and found a race or two that live where there is jarra i cant remember if i found a race that about which they positively remarked that they ate it. Goats will eat the eat its flower buds and new leaves.
  If things have got very bare and eroded jara, cistus or Christmas roses are the first thing that cover eroded slopes  here in Spain and in the end grass grows, that is my observation Juan oria de la Rueda says their leaves are allelopathetic and repress the growth of grass.  So others with a Mediterranean climate and totally eroded slopes could think of jarra as a way of restoring the land. Other places have their own tough bushes, ceonothus in California. Jarra  grow back well after fires so are a good plant in a way for places likely to be affected by fires. i suggest that were things are bad they are a precursor of grass.
i have a good book on the local trees and the traditional uses o f trees guia de arboles y arbustos de castilla y Leon juna oria de la Rueda y slaguero many of the Spanish writers on the countryside i read have appropriate names there is Jesus charco who is my other favorite,
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Rose - if you call yourself Einstein, people will expect everything you say to be true, and take great delight in tearing it apart and refusing to believe it.  If you call yourself stupid, people tend to be a whole lot nicer to you, and they don't bother refuting what you say.  Sometimes people even learn from you that way.  And anyway, I really *am* stubborn and a touch crazy. 
 
Aljaz Plankl
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I remember this thread. I was so happy when i read your post back then. Thanks for the heads up. Your thinking is very similar to mine. Always happy when i find soul brothers and sister.

No, i don't know why to cut grass, or anything else. More then 50% of plants can be eaten. Why fight this natural food abundance and then grow salad? This is not your example, you are going towards this as i can see. You are building up a really nice layer of humus above the soil with things you're doing. It will not become soil so fast. That's really good and important.

I am lucky, that i've started with a diverse field, i got so many edibles and beneficials! You've started with just grasses as i can see.

I'm reading your first post closely and i see you were already thinking about packing down the vegetation back then.
Later in the year I will simply press down other grown grass areas
and cover them with just enough straw to merely weigh grass stalks down,
not exactly to suffocate the grass growth,
but to gently overwhelming grass with mixtures of vegetable-annual/perennial flower-herbs...

It's interesting, if I do this when fields are already mature enough, there is lots of dried mature stalks, which break, snap really easy when pressed down.

I wonder when does your field start to mature? When do you start to have straw like grasses? Did they fell down green or were they straw like when this happened?

You had poor growth of your sown plants because of poor soil as i can see? Totally different story here. My soil is good and meadow is strong and diverse. I'm not sure, you are in different climate with different soil, but i think eventually, when you will build the soil and make your field much more diverse, i think you will have to start tending the sown and planted (no need for cuting) veggies, otherwise they will not grow. This are my experiences, i tried to grow them totally wild. I had very poor germination and growth of veggies in natural grown meadow, because it is so diverse and it starts to grow really fast in April. But semi wild veggies are a joy to grow and eat!

Lodging and falling of grasses at your place probably happened because of monoculture of grasses. You also mentioned soil, good thinking. In my meadow this is not happening, i think because of diversity that is inbetween grasses, which hold grasses up. And soil is also good.

I've got a really good notes on plants and their nutrient and other beneficial aspect. I will find it for you. I see you started with comfrey and nettles. Nice one.

You might want to coat seeds of clovers and others with soil before sowing.

I can't wait for future discussions. I wish you all well!
 
          
Posts: 18
Location: Saskatchewan Zone 2b-3a maybe 3b
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Yes Planki, you got it exactly right ! Thank you!

Your post quoted below as well makes clear my approach:
never immediately "reform" an area of your garden
but start from where the garden, its  soil - its growth, is ...


Plankl wrote:

http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=4999.msg43790#msg43790

Do not fight the native vegetation.
Use it for food, organic matter, new top soil.
Grow as much perennials in the garden.
Vegetable patch is monoculture, imo.
To build soil for veggies, let the patch grow wild for one year.
Intercrop with beneficial plants.
What grows, grows. Let it grow to maturity and leave it there.
What we need is soil, then humus, then mulch.
Space plants further apart, leaving native vegetation and beneficials inbetween.
Lots of food most of them. Everything else can be used for mulch.


every one of your points has an implied time-frame
-which means: timing, time of year,
last year, this year, next year
they are always for ever connected,
nature never does anything in isolation...

and nature never follows the dictates of a "mind"-
the "mind" can only "observe"
what the eyes make it a habit over time to look at...
then that's where the "mind's work" comes in
to find words, find words "to make sense" of our behaviours, acts and actions...

My grass here went dry because the ground dried out driven by prairie winds-
because it lacks organic matter that keeps moisture
in which life lives, from which, lets say, vegetable roots
select their very specific nutrients that are NEEDED for "healthy" growth...

Yes comfrey, nettles, angelica, vetches do well, better than the grass did,
but to do so I never "pack" straw, but always let it float from a height towards the ground
including onto the walk ways-simply to help accumulate and keep moisture,
and exactly there even the dutch white clover developed the best, even sprouted best...
whereas in the "garden area" itself, where it was inter-seeded as nitrogen fixer and plant booster
nothing came up - either mixed under some soil or broadcasted in-between...

so, the unusual, the contrary always tell me that thinking works differently in the garden.

Thank you again for your kind words!
 
          
Posts: 18
Location: Saskatchewan Zone 2b-3a maybe 3b
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Plankl wrote:


I wonder when does your field start to mature?
When do you start to have straw like grasses?

Did they fell down green or were they straw like when this happened?

You had poor growth of your sown plants because of poor soil as i can see?

You might want to coat seeds of clovers and others with soil before sowing.



My garden here is  725 square meter; deduct house, garage, hedges, some trees;
I had started on the south side of the house in March or so
but it was not until June I could put a stick in the frozen ground.
Saskatchewan Prairies, Zone 2b-3a maybe 3b

Nights these days go down to 3,4,5 degrees Celsius;
lots of wind, I often say I feel like being at the ocean, or the North Sea or Baltic Sea...


The grass lodged, fell over green during much rain, July I believe,
then followed by drying winds, winds and more winds
then sunshine summer dryness...

the different green colors of the grassy areas alerted me to the fact
of chemical nitrogen fertilizer for the grasses
that are simply "stuck" under/near the grass roots -
so I started out to let grass grow and let it grow...
the dearth of dandelion growth indicates to me anti-pesticides

I once had a ten acre field, clay, and soybeans were harvested when I took over the flat field:
I absolutely let it go and grow to all the "irradicable weeds" surrounding farmers were warning me of;

yes, nice Canada thistle that the yellow finches loved the seeds of,
milkweed with Monarch butterflies galore

lots of puddles, compaction, clay surface

I cut the weeds with my motorized push mower: ten acres, I walked twenty minutes to the end of the field
and twenty minutes back - it took me a week or so, BUT it provided enough cover
to broadcast red clover and horse pasture mix... and I continued mowing that the same way: Exercise!

Result was: neighbour field right (always soy beans), neigbour field left( always corn)
my field melted the snow very early - because of the clover and life under it-
the growing soil could now live off earliest sunshine
whereas all neighboring  fields remained dead, snow covered;
migrating gulls and geese and ducks spotted the field, and landed by the thousands
ate the clovers, grasses and fertilized that field profoundly for free...
and "talked" to my Emden geese!

now, BEFORE all that new growth,
my two goats I took for a walk across the field on a long leash so to keep them on my property,
(I also had trained my twelve Emden geese NOT to enter the neighboring fields!)
BUT none of the goats would eat the dandelion leaves, flowers from the middle of the field,
only and only from the two sides of the field
where there was a small ditch like separation between fields...

That told me about chemicals and weed killers.
Goats know more about "proper"diet!

And that's the same here with the dandelions in this garden
when it came to assembling an early spring salad for myself!
 
Aljaz Plankl
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Hey, no problem, i'm as happy as you are! Let's show people one of the ways to do it. Simple natural desing, more observation than anything else.

Clover! The same thing was happening to me, till i realized this year - it likes to grow by itself, when it wants. As i was planting a forest garden i saw future paths in my mind. Just walking on the same trails was needed. Lots of dandelion, plantago and of course clover is growing on my paths now. More and more white clover is growing. And it wasn't even sown. I like it a lot!

But it doesn't want to grow in a garden bed. With intention to make a living mulch white clover was sown. I can almost say there isn't any growin. Lol. Compact soil it needs. No go for a garden bed, hehe.
Now i don't care anymore, i just let weeds do the cover, and of course i eat them. I was amazed how many i can eat.

When u say you don't pack straw, but just let it from height onto the ground, you are describing the way of mulching the plants like comfrey etc.?
When i read this, i remembered, how many times i carefully loosened the mulch before mulching. Like, when you have straw or hay or leaves and the stuff is stuck together. I was never putting this whole chunks down. Haha. It sounds a bit crazy and funny, but that's me.

I see you also have a lot of knowledge about soil. My start was also in learning about soil health and web life. But i was never so focused about formulas, numbers, etc. Always used this feeling i have for nature. I'm so glad i have it. Glad you have it too!

Frozen ground in June!? That's what i can't imagine. Not sure if i even want to. So, how long is your growing season?
We also had temp at 4°C this year. A week ago, something like that. Now it's raining, it's a bit warmer again, but summer is saying goodbye for sure. But, wow, i can't wait for winter and snow. I love snow.

Some good observations about pesticides and fertilizers. Thanks.
Do you know of any exact thing to do, for cleaning the soil of pesticides and fertilizers. For fertilizers, let grass grow. But how to clean the soil for real?
I'm sure all this things to make a place more diverse is going to help.
But do you know of any exact plant or what?
I heard of sunflowers and grains being good at taking crap out of soil. But they need to be cut when still green i heard.
Do you have more info about this subject? What will you do, to eat that dandelions with no worries some day?

Those geese and ducks were happy for sure.  Btw, how did you trained your geese not to go to neighbours fields?
 
          
Posts: 18
Location: Saskatchewan Zone 2b-3a maybe 3b
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Plankl wrote:
how did you train your geese not to go to neighbours fields?



I simple took a large apple juice or large tomato juice metal can
and put some whole corn feed into it...

corn feed they got, say during cold winter, deep snow and ice periods
and early on to lure them from their free range,
which included chicken and ducks and guinneas
to lure them for the night into the barn...

so, when the geese all nicely in a row were out there in the middle of the field
to begin with, the leader would mostly turn left towards the neigbour's corn field-

I watched them from the room window
and when they got closer to the "ditch" separating the fields
I would go outside and stand in front of the house
AND watch the Geese from a distance
but they would also watch me...

now that alone already created some noise and commotion among them,
but not enough yet to change the direction they were walking in their "minds"...

so, once they  intended to set foot beyond my / their property
I rattled the metal can
with the corn
so they could hear it:

one, two of them gave off a sounds like geese do
and all started running and took off to fly towards me,
some circled me so close to my head
that I could hear in my ears the sound of the wind of their wings...
(yes, my Emden geese learned flying too!)

and they all landed nicely in the barn yard
where I fed them some corn...

geese started flying, ducks and chickens tried flying
guinnies of course fly and were flying towards me,
I mean, towards the corn...

I never had any trouble;
from rattling the metal can
whenever I went outside
to reducing this to intermediary rattling, because after a while the geese would
give off their sound, then run and fly towards me whenever I went outside...
without any rattling of the metal can...
and then sometimes without feeding anything whatsoever...

I had turkeys too, same behaviour but without the flying.

I either got all of these animals as chicks or goslings
or the eggs where put under some Bantam hen.

Even the rooster would mother chicks:
I remember I heared some commotion outside
coming from the vegetable bed and somehow the guinnea-mother hen
with 16 chicks under her wings had disappeared,
her chicks were all over the place...

and I was sooo worried I would have to look after them...
and clouds above got darker
it started raining...
AND then the rooster came running
spread his wings and the 16 guinneas-chicks crawled under
and stayed there for weeks and were looked after
by this now very busy rooster...



 
          
Posts: 18
Location: Saskatchewan Zone 2b-3a maybe 3b
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Plankl wrote:


Do you know of any exact thing to do, for cleaning the soil of pesticides and fertilizers.

For fertilizers, let grass grow. But how to clean the soil for real?

I'm sure all this things to make a place more diverse is going to help.
But do you know of any exact plant or what?

I heard of sunflowers and grains being good at taking crap out of soil.
But they need to be cut when still green i heard.

Do you have more info about this subject?

What will you do, to eat that dandelions with no worries some day?



No, I know nothing about this.
This chemical pollution is so massive,
out here in the prairies I see farmers buying their drinking water in the store...

I didn't drink any water-yes, boiled for coffee- since I'm out here,
I moved three times now and will be here in September already five years...
it's time to move! notwithstanding my present garden project here...
yes even watering the plants didn't work for me in my previous gardens...
thats where my moisture keeping straw enhanced gardening ideas came from...

as a matter of fact, on my previous property, last Labour day a year ago,
beginning of September, I saw my first frog
in the middle of my straw covered green manured vegetable patch;
I considered that progress!

No, I think we can only forget about the chemicals dumped into/unto the soil,
into the ocean
and let nature take its course...
you might as well asked how you can double your life to two-hundred years
with what chemicals to accomplish that sort of a future...



What will you do, to eat that dandelions with no worries some day?

I will have to move to some untouched soil wherever that is,
I mean, if animals don't touch them chemicalized stuff
how advanced in fact are humans going to be?

 
john smith
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Location: western u.s.
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AR wrote:

once they  intended to set foot beyond my / their property
I rattled the metal can
with the corn
so they could hear it:

one, two of them gave off a sounds like geese do
and all started running and took off to fly towards me,


That's a great idea.  Wouldn't this teach them to set foot outside the property though, to "teach" you to come out and feed them?  I'm curious how often and how long this training takes.  If you don't watch them every day, do they start leaving right away?

- - -
I like this idea of bending the grass instead of cutting it down.  It seems to me this would be much faster than using a tractor or a scythe.  I wonder what could be designed to do this more quickly, or at least as effectively as a scythe, bending the grass instead of cutting it down.
 
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