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Alison Thomas
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Has anybody else watched her video?  Why did she put those rods across the beds?  So that they knew how high to keep them?  And what stops the paths from becoming weed infested?  And if straw is such a good vegetation supressant, does it mean that only sturdy seedling plants can go in, not seeds direct?
 
Tyler Ludens
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I've watched it.  I think the rods are measuring devices.  I think the paths are kept weed free with mulch, or maybe just by walking on them.  The video shows putting transplants in among the mulch on the beds, but I bet you could plant large seeds directly.  For smaller seeds you might need to clear a little space in the mulch and put down a little patch of fine soil.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Alison Freeth-Thomas "heninfrance" wrote:
Has anybody else watched her video?  Why did she put those rods across the beds?  So that they knew how high to keep them?  And what stops the paths from becoming weed infested?  And if straw is such a good vegetation supressant, does it mean that only sturdy seedling plants can go in, not seeds direct?


Close on most accounts.

As I understand it, in the first video, those poles are for measuring the 4' wide beds that are 20"+ high with a nice path in-between.  The zig-zagging poles are so little plants have something to grasp onto while smaller.

Straw is not there for suppression, it is there to hold the soil in place.  Direct seed can be used, but honestly as someone who has built these, I really do not recommend it.

As Emilia Hazelip goes on in the other videos, you can see she transplants into those beds from a greenhouse where the plants are started in compost.  This is the only time any kind of chemical, fertilizer, pesticide, etc is used at all.  ((Same with my place)).

I did attempt to methods of seeding.  One was using soil on top of the bed, no straw.  The other area was direst seed overcasted with other seeds that live well next to them.  IE - Cabbage, Onion and Hairy Vetch.  By overcasting, I mean I distributed more seeds then is recommended. 

Weeds.  Non-Issue when using the Fukuoka methods.  You simply chop and drop the weed right there, at the plant meets the soil.  If you feel you NEED to remove the roots, simply pull it, leave it in the sun a few days to kill the plant out right, and then let it be green mulch right in place.  This allows the nutrients that the plants brought up to return to the soil surface to break down, and you know the rest I reckon.

These methods worked great on small scale when I lived in Berkleley, CA, but now I am in Oregon.  I have new larger beds just finished in time for some winter planting. 




 
Paul Cereghino
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Thus in this systems, the path area is used to grow mulch...

My understanding was that they have trouble with snails, and used copper collars to keep transplants safe.  Similarly sown seedlings get devoured quickly and are harder to protect then a transplant.  The duck option might be viable, but I really don't understand duck behavior in an annual garden.

The arching poles provide a trellis for climbing beans and other such plants so they can be integrated into the polyculture.

This system requires a donor area for harvest of the straw (or import).

I have been leaning toward this approach, and rake back an area of mulch for direct sowing patches.

 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Paul Cereghino wrote:
Thus in this systems, the path area is used to grow mulch...

My understanding was that they have trouble with snails, and used copper collars to keep transplants safe.  Similarly sown seedlings get devoured quickly and are harder to protect then a transplant.  The duck option might be viable, but I really don't understand duck behavior in an annual garden.

The arching poles provide a trellis for climbing beans and other such plants so they can be integrated into the polyculture.

This system requires a donor area for harvest of the straw (or import).

I have been leaning toward this approach, and rake back an area of mulch for direct sowing patches.




She did have problems with snails, I don't remember what her conclusion was, but she used Indian Runner Ducks and they wound up eating the veggies when the snails were gone.

This system DOES NOT need a donor area for straw at all.  It was a 1 time application only to keep the soil in place and act as temp mulch.  Everything that is grown in these beds, stays there after.  Chop n Drop.  Also, many of the plants in her system were self-reseeding.  Thus, when the veggies are harvested there is a new layer of green mulch on top which by spring is ready to get back into production.  It is Mr. Fukuoka's synergystic system redesigned for cool, rainy climates.

The path area, is just that, a path; and not a place for growing anything. 

YouTube has a 4 part video series uploaded to it. 
 
Alison Thomas
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Ok we've started.  We excavated by hand for one bed 15m long and did it on contour, kind of like a swale (we've had serious drought conditions here this year and need to keep as much water where we need it and not at the bottom of the hill in our neighbour's fields.)  The question now is for bed 2 - do we continue on contour, or just make a 20" path from bed 1?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Hm...a couple of places where I disagree slightly.

The system isn't exactly for cool, rainy climates, but for Mediterranean ones: moderate temperatures at all times, with almost all precipitation in the cool season.

The mulch is partly about shading weed seedlings, which is partly intended to conserve any moisture that they would transpire. Mulch also conserves moisture by slowing direct evaporation.

Some soil nutrients are lost as vapor after a cut weed is left on top of the mulch, most notably water.

I would also say that the intent is less to prevent soil from blowing away, than to feed and to shelter organisms that generate soil. Unusually-high organic content, and an unusually-mature soil ecosystem, are IMHO the most important positive results of the strategy portrayed here.

Some plants are very well-adapted to punching through thick mulch. This consumes a lot of stored calories, and many weed seeds simply aren't large enough to supply so much. Fava beans, by contrast, are amazingly capable; so are "seed" potatoes, bulbs like garlic or shallots, etc. Most weeds have a place in the ecosystem that doesn't give them much incentive to develop this ability: they are pioneers that prefer bare mineral soil to deep duff. So I'd say, direct seeding is worth a shot, more so the larger the seed is.

The path is also a place for the beds to temporarily drain into. If drought is always a problem, and flooding never is (i.e., not the Mediterranean climate this system was developed for), it might be worthwhile to build raised paths with sunken beds. If water is very scarce, the beds should perhaps be narrow, and the paths, wide; soil deep under the path will still add to field moisture capacity, especially as drought-tolerant plants leave huge networks of dead roots in it each year.
 
Paul Cereghino
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It does make me wonder about how Fukuoka's Shikoku climate (more east coast like with humid summer culminating in monsoons) affects his strategies as compared to Hazelip.  The growing of transplants is a major difference.  Fukuoka was the ultimate purist... perhaps Hazelip's style was not just about climate shift but also about increasing control.

I have just been planting cover crops, and when summer planting usually apply a thin layer of straw, just enough so that you can see maybe 50% of the soil, and find that it enhances germination, both I suspect through shading and reducing air circulation.

I have some self seeding, both of weeds I like (lambs quarters and chickweed) as well as bygone veges.  They grow thick, and then without thinning the veges tend to bolt early.  Thinning at any scale is labor intensive.  Once you have a strong seed bank I could imagine a byproduct of mulch would be to reduce the density of germination.

I stand corrected about not importing straw.  I imagine you could even initiate the system with a mulch crop (maybe a winter killed grain, or something leafy slashed in the spring... overwintering brassicas or poppies).

I have drifted away from fukuoka, and I am feeling inspired to stop tilling a couple beds.  The slug challange is very real. My slug populations are much higher after a season of mulch.

How did Hazelip and her diaspora irrigate? (I imagine necessary in the med. climate).
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Paul Cereghino wrote:Fukuoka was the ultimate purist... perhaps Hazelip's style was not just about climate shift but also about increasing control.
...
How did Hazelip and her diaspora irrigate? (I imagine necessary in the med. climate).


I read him entirely differently! To me, his writing starts from a very pragmatic place, of doing whatever works. He's a strong advocate of the principle that very few things work, and so he's relentless about eliminating non-essential activity, but he talks about heavy metal pesticides and all sorts of other tactics that the community here (myself included) are too purist to consider using.

I say the essential difference between them was that he made his living on field and orchard crops, while she was a market gardener. Fukuoka didn't write very much about his kitchen garden, but I get the general impression that he used traditional Japanese methods in it, despite the semi-wild vegetables available from the understory of his orchards.

[center]*  *  *[/center]

The synergistic gardening video talks a little bit about drip lines running under the mulch.
 
rose macaskie
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joel hollingsworth i agree with what you say except as regards the mediteranean climate. Califfornia is meant to have a mediteranean climate though much of california is further south than the mediteranean. sort of level with the sahara desert i think there is more rain in southerly latitudes like those of the sahara in noorth america. If you had sat in madrid with me this summer yoiu would called the climate here extreme, 35 degrees sometimes more seems extreme to me though other climates are more extreme.
pakanohida talks with such certaintiy that i wonder if it is not a pseudonym for <emilia <hazelip.
i have read tha straw is allelopatic at lleast to more wheat. that is it stops other things from growing. agri rose macaskie.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
I read [Fukuoka] entirely differently! To me, his writing starts from a very pragmatic place, of doing whatever works.


He does seem to play both ways...

"[Natural] farming arises when may earnestly seeks entry to the realm of Mahayana farming... when the the human spirit and human life blend with the natural order and mad devotes himself entirely to the service of nature, he lives freely as an integral part of the natural world, subsisting on its bounty without having to resort to purposeful effort."

                              Fukuoka, Natural Way of Farming, p93

Of course... earnestly seeking entry, like all revealed traditions, is open to interpretation...
 
Alison Thomas
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rose macaskie wrote:

pakanohida talks with such certaintiy that i wonder if it is not a pseudonym for <emilia <hazelip.

If only she was still alive to pass on her comment that would be wonderful. She died in 2003.  I tried to find her garden near Carcassonne but I think even her project has passed on    I'd be happy if anyone can correct me on that.

rose macaskie wrote:
i have read tha straw is allelopatic at lleast to more wheat. that is it stops other things from growing. agri rose macaskie.

Oh dear, I was intending to grow wheat in the beds that we've made in the field and they've already been covered with straw 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Paul Cereghino wrote:
He does seem to play both ways...

"[Natural] farming arises when man earnestly seeks entry to the realm of Mahayana farming... when the the human spirit and human life blend with the natural order and man devotes himself entirely to the service of nature, he lives freely as an integral part of the natural world, subsisting on its bounty without having to resort to purposeful effort."

                               Fukuoka, Natural Way of Farming, p93

Of course... earnestly seeking entry, like all revealed traditions, is open to interpretation...


You certainly can't take everything Fukuoka said literally!  He often expressed himself playfully.  He called his process "o-nothing Farming" but clearly, one is expected to do something!  Just what one doesn't do is as important as what one does do.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Ludi wrote:
You certainly can't take everything Fukuoka said literally!  He often expressed himself playfully.  He called his process "o-nothing Farming" but clearly, one is expected to do something!  Just what one doesn't do is as important as what one does do.


I agree with the fundemental pragmatism of all food production... you either have food in your bowl and the end of the day or not.

I haven't noticed us disagreeing.  I can't help but notice the huge percentage of words he dedicates to "world view adjustment" in his written work.  I have only had the pleasure of reading his words, and take them as written, and don't know what was play and what was otherwise.  I also notice how long it took him get get where he got, and how often he reports failing (i.e. he appears to have been willing to accept no food produced in pursuit of a farming ideal).

This tension between ideals about how food production should be, and what gives you calories seems like something we talk about a lot.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Paul Cereghino wrote:

This tension between ideals about how food production should be, and what gives you calories seems like something we talk about a lot.


Definitely!

 
rose macaskie
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  THe gardening that i read about that suggested using a heavy cover of plants, not giving much space ton each  vegetable is gardening that uses a big quantity of manure so gardening that grows a lot in a small space. He was writting about growing his own food not about growing  to make a living so maybe the work work of pulling up the extra plants for mulch when the overcrowding gets to big is not too great.

Some rods are measuring device the upright ones in the path, my guess is that other are to hold down the straw.
   She does say in the video i have just whatched that in spring she took off the mulch to let the ground warm up and to sow seed. So she does take off the mulch to sow seed. She said sowing took two people two mounths time as if that was a record it seems a lot of time to me. she does not seem to be very practicle it is not practicle to have such inefficient sowing methods. agri rose macaskie.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Paul Cereghino wrote:


How did Hazelip and her diaspora irrigate? (I imagine necessary in the med. climate).


Drip irigation was put in after she tilled and dug the beds to size.  4' wide, 18" high or so, 20" wide paths.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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rose macaskie wrote:
joel hollingsworth i agree with what you say except as regards the mediteranean climate. Califfornia is meant to have a mediteranean climate though much of california is further south than the mediteranean. sort of level with the sahara desert i think there is more rain in southerly latitudes like those of the sahara in noorth america. If you had sat in madrid with me this summer yoiu would called the climate here extreme, 35 degrees sometimes more seems extreme to me though other climates are more extreme.
pakanohida talks with such certaintiy that i wonder if it is not a pseudonym for <emilia <hazelip.
i have read tha straw is allelopatic at lleast to more wheat. that is it stops other things from growing. agri rose macaskie.


Well, I have her videos on my computer for reference since it is how I made my vegetable beds for this winter and next year.  I also followed her information on the Fukuoka website for more detailed information.

I am only writing with certainty because it is how I am raising my stuff. 

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Paul Cereghino wrote:This tension between ideals about how food production should be, and what gives you calories seems like something we talk about a lot.


...

rose macaskie wrote:Matrix is a terrible film at the side  of karate kid films, it talks of other worldy things rather than situations we all face and is all nerves.


The religion that informed The Matrix is Gnosticism, which sits at the extreme edge of the ideal vs. practical spectrum.

Some Gnostics go so far as to say that the physical world is a work of evil, intended to snare us away from the truth and beauty of the spiritual realm. It is said some of the early followers of that tradition rejoiced at the loss of teeth from malnutrition.

Personally, I sit a lot more toward the practical side of that spectrum. I don't want to step on any toes if there are Gnostics on this forum, but I found the religious message of that film series prevented me from liking it much, especially the third one.

I don't think Fukuoka was ever satisfied with low yields, except as a learning experience. He didn't keep the low-yielding methods, although he did have faith that they would guide him to something better. I would call him a pragmatist because he let nature be the judge of his methods, rather than taking his physical situation as something from which to escape into the realm of ideas.
 
Mori no Niwa
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I gardened with Hazelip's method last year, and to some extent this year (I've just moved this summer). This year I didn't plant as densely or do as much intercropping on account of using a larger garden space with much poorer soil; I didn't want to try to get more out of the soil than it could give. I would say that my experience with it last year was very successful. Slugs were sort of a problem, but in the future I hope to encourage more slug predators by having a small pond near the garden, ensuring habitats for toads and other slug-eaters.

Here are some photos showing my process from last year:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pjchmiel/sets/72157618007545306/

I also have some documents downloaded from the Fukuoka farming yahoo group, as well as a PDF of a website on the Hazelip method from a Fukuoka website that has since disappeared. You can download that here:
http://www.pjchmiel.com/pdf/Synergistic_Garden_article.pdf

I think the general principles (no tilling after the initial preparation, constant mulch, mixing of many species and flowers, no compaction, etc) are very solid. I direct-seeded things like beans, corn, squash, garlic, onions, some flowers; I transplanted out seedlings of many others. Things with smaller seeds were trickier, but it still worked if I moved aside the straw, made a little furrow with my finger, dropped the seeds in, then covered everything back up. Sadly I had to destroy/flatten-out my beds (I'd made them at a house I was renting and had to move from), when I did, the worm population was good and the initial sheet mulch had mostly vanished. The second year I had lots of volunteer calendula, nasturtiums, lettuces, radishes, etc.

One lesson I learned from my second hazelip-bed garden is that I won't use autumn leaves as a mulch again: they don't fully rot away before spring, and they mat together forming a rather impenetrable layer for bother water going in and plants growing out. Better to leave them in a pile somewhere to rot down into leaf mould.
PJ
 
Alison Thomas
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Wow what a comprehensive set of photos!  Fabulous.  Does the soil wash off the beds in the winter rains?
 
Mori no Niwa
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Thank you! No, as long as the mounds are covered with straw or some other mulch over the winter, it doesn't seem to wash off (though if you had a heavy clay soil which didn't readily allow water in, it may be an issue). One of the great assets of this system is drainage; in my case there were trenches between the beds at first, but I had access to a large quantity of wood chips, so I filled the paths in with these, to the point of the former ground-level. This prevented my legs from rubbing against the exposed dirt in the trenches and also gave a wonderful place for drainage. In cases of extreme rain the trenches will fill up with water, so it's nice if you can fill them with something like wood chips...it also allows you to have more or less vertical walls in the trenches. I worried a bit about the wood chips tying up nitrogen and competing with the beds as the chips broke down, but it didn't seem to be an issue (and I peed in the paths sometimes to offset this process a bit). 

I have a couple of other friends who have gone in this direction. This one made the mistake of making his rows very long with no paths in-between; I'd recommend a bed length of 7-8m/20-25ft (his were maybe 16m/50ft?), this makes it tedious to get around the garden:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pjchmiel/3487029727/in/photostream/

Note also that his garden is in a very low area, so he often had water in his paths. I think his paths should've been a bit wider in relation to his beds, and he should definitely fill in his trenches with something.

Another friend did it on a smaller scale in his backyard, he had somewhat clay soil, and this photo shows his beds halfway-through making them (left if finished, middle ready for mulch, right one just dug): http://www.flickr.com/photos/pjchmiel/3378025094
PJ

Alison Freeth-Thomas "heninfrance" wrote:
Wow what a comprehensive set of photos!  Fabulous.  Does the soil wash off the beds in the winter rains?
 
rose macaskie
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  Mori No Niwa, your photos make it easy to understand how to make a raised bed. Beatifull still life at the end.
    Are you japanese? Your name sounds japanese, Ever since i knew that in japan they wrap up trees instead of hoping the frosts won't get them i have wondered what other gardening tips the Japanese might not have. Do you know about japanese market gardening? Can you tell us about it. What about orchards?agri rose macaskie.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Emilia Hazelip (1938 - February 1, 2003) was an organic Permaculture gardener who was born in Spain and began gardening seriously in the late '60s. A former Merry Prankster and pioneer of the concept of synergistic gardening, her farming methods were inspired by the work of Masanobu Fukuoka.

Where Fukuoka focused most of his attention on orchards and the rice/barley crop rotation, Emilia Hazelip focused on creating and maintaining market gardens of vegetables and herbs.

Emilia Hazelip, who introduced the concept of permaculture to France over a decade ago, drew on many sources as she continued to develop gardens. The work of Permaculturist Marc Bonfils with self-fertile cereal production and the microbiological research of Alan Smith and Elaine Ingham are frequently mentioned.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugFd1JdFaE0 ; ((Part 1 of 3, follow the links))





This is my attempt to rerail the subject.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I think perhaps the rods criscrossed over the mulch were to allow the gardener to lean out over the bed without compacting it. A hand at the intersection of two rods would spread out pressure over a fairly large amount of mulch.
 
Alison Thomas
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Hmmm yes that's an idea! Hadn't thought the rods could be used in that way but then, we haven't yet planted them up.  How ingenious!  It's the simple things isn't it!
 
paul wheaton
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I deleted all of the off topic stuff.

Yes, I have the ability to split a thread.  And I've done it sometimes.  It is a fair bit of work.

In this case, I don't think I want to get a lot of that sort of discussion going on any forum here.  It leads to anger which leads to more work for me.  So I just deleted it.

Along the way, there were some on topic remarks mixed in with some off-topic remarks.  I would like to ask folks to just keep their remarks on topic to make sure that their on topic stuff doesn't get deleted in the future.

Thanks!
 
rose macaskie
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.paul, I understand you splitting threads and choosing the content of your forum though i think it is important to talk of  the negative side as well as the positive of religion,  the religiouse seem good at asking for a priveldeged position in which their acts can't be questioned. You can go for politicians throats but not those of rthe religiouse. I undrstand you editing threads but I don't understand you talking  of the work it costs you to edit the content as lots of us do lots of work contributing to it.  rose
 
paul wheaton
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You are welcome to talk about religion all you want.  Just not on these forums.  These foruums are limited to practical aspects of permaculture.


 
Travis Philp
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Alison Freeth-Thomas "heninfrance" wrote:
And if straw is such a good vegetation supressant, does it mean that only sturdy seedling plants can go in, not seeds direct?


In my experience you can direct seed by:

pulling the mulch apart to create 1-2 inch wide furrows/trenches and fill them with soil, compost, manure, or a combination mix. Patting this down and direct seeding as you normally would. The deeper the trench, the better. I usually go right down to the previous ground level, or at least within an inch or so.

There is a chance that wind or animals can knock the mulch back over the seeded rows so keep an eye on that.

Another thing to watch out for is the trenches drying out. Where I'm at, they need to be checked at least every other day.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Travis Philp wrote:
There is a chance that wind or animals can knock the mulch back over the seeded rows so keep an eye on that.


I have had rufous-sided towhee's (forest edge, ground foraging passarine) working the grass clippings for bugs... they didn't seem to like the coarse straw and hay mulch as much... I spent a month keeping daisy and borage seedlings from getting covered up -- but in the end they got swamped by the oregano... alas... then some daisy's I had forgotten about elsewhere are doing nicely... including some I seeded into mole hills in my lawn back in spring. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Paul Cereghino wrote:I spent a month keeping daisy and borage seedlings from getting covered up


I had good success this year with borage that shared a starter pot with tomato. Those two plants are gigantic now, and just seem to egg each other on.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Been thinking about my Hazlip beds the last 2 weeks, and I can't decide how I should lay out a soaker line, or if.  Should I put it under the mulch or on top.  I just cant seem to remember. 

There isn't too much growing in mine currently since I only moved here this year and finished making them a month ago.  Currently I have planted in mine honeysuckle, bok choy, cabbage, beets, carrots, flax, daikon (beautiful plant btw), turnips, red onion, yellow onion, 3 types of garlic, bunching onion, blueberry, & spinach while using wheat straw as mulch, which also started to grow as did buckwheat which was turned over from spring after being chopped down and laying as green mulch for 2 months over the whole area.

Well, I guess I should explain.  In order to make my Hazlip beds, I had a keyhole system going on contour but it wasn't working out as well as I liked.  So, I re-watched the Hazlip videos from Youtube for the 20th time or so and went for it.  I tilled the whole area that gets a decent amount of light through the summer and winter for the very last time.  I then dug out trenches and piled it in mounds about 4' wide and 20" for trenches. 

Then I tilled down again and repeated these steps till I got it up to my knees.  I then spread wheat straw, and hairy vetch seeds over all the mounds, watered, kept them moist for about a week.  Then I broadcasted some compost lightly over the bed I was going to be seeding.  The I broadcasted the seeds in small groups that work well together.  Like cabbage and onion together, next to that area I broadcasted beet & carrot together, over lapping into the next area which was flax, and the afore mentioned cabbage and onions, I worked like this down the bed with planting (recently) garlic along the sides of the beds.  Slugs have not been a problem yet, but I suspect soon they will be.  I go out on slug patrols nightly. 

I have more garlic on order due to arrive soon.  Since I am on dial up I will try and get some photos uploaded some how today. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Pakanohida wrote:Been thinking about my Hazlip beds the last 2 weeks, and I can't decide how I should lay out a soaker line, or if.  Should I put it under the mulch or on top.  I just cant seem to remember. 


If you decide to, I believe under is the way to go. This preserves the plastic, the water, and the mulch. And it's not like you'll accidentally hoe the lines to bits.

You might want to put in some fava beans as well, if there's space.

If there is a native population of amphibians, but habitat near the beds is scarce, it might be worthwhile to put in a tiny pond of some sort, even just a coffee mug buried in the soil but covered by mulch. A forgotten fully-glazed flowerpot with no drainage hole seems to have hosted some slender salamander tadpoles for me last winter, which seems to have really cut down the slug population; it should be possible to set things up so that the water is topped up by a drip emitter.
 
Alison Thomas
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Pakanohida wrote:

There isn't too much growing in mine currently


With the list that followed that statement, by my standards you've got LOADS growing there. 

How long did you leave them between finishing a bed and sowing it?

Soaker line - is that like a seep-hose?  I think Emilia put them under the straw.  I hope so, that's where mine have just been placed today!
 
Travis Philp
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My instinct would also be to put the soaker under the mulch. You'd lose less moisture to evaporation and I think that the degradation suffered under mulch would be less than if its exposed to sun, wind, and air.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Alison Freeth-Thomas "heninfrance" wrote:
With the list that followed that statement, by my standards you've got LOADS growing there. 

How long did you leave them between finishing a bed and sowing it?

Soaker line - is that like a seep-hose?  I think Emilia put them under the straw.  I hope so, that's where mine have just been placed today!


Thanks all about the soaker hose.

Uhh about the sowing and building the beds.  I believe it was about 5 minutes.  I didn't want other plants of any kind to start suddenly getting a root hold.  I got pics now, but they are too big and I need to resize on the wifes computer.    I really don't have a lot growing there, it just sounds like it at the moment. 

I also covered that section of the beds recently with Agribon-19 row cover since I am on a North slope, and my tomatoes in another area since mine are actually ripening here in the Pacific NW & have been. 
 
Alison Thomas
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OK, coming back to this subject for a few more questions...

What about the 'nasty' bugs like leatherjackets, chaffer grubs etc?  If the soil is never disturbed then they go their merry way, eat all my roots, hatch out and proliferate.

I'm still mystified by this direct sowing bit.  I've done some and nothing germinated.  That was when I pulled the straw aside, planted in a drill, then put the straw back.  So now I've done some more but not put the straw back but then it negates the moisture retention principle.

Plus I've put in some sugar snap peas that were sown in root-trainer modules (long deep ones) and something (I suspect leatherjackets) has chewed them off at the base.  Sigh.

So what now?  The 'traditional' way of doing things seemed to work better for me 
 
Alison Thomas
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Can anyone help on the 'nasty' bug bit in my post above?
 
Did you see how Paul cut 87% off of his electric heat bill with 82 watts of micro heaters?
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