• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Planting greens into mulch  RSS feed

 
Joshua Msika
Posts: 66
Location: Nova Scotia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another question. I just got grilled by my parents who will be implementing all of my crazy ideas while I am at university so I need answers.

How can you plant small-seeded vegetables into mulch? I have put down a layer of seedy compost, a layer of cardboard and a layer of woodchips. Sowing white clover is no problem, the seeds seem to come up when I just sprinkle them on top mixed with sand to get a better distribution. Sowing salad is a different deal. The seeds are quite a bit more expensive, so I want to make sure most of them germinate.

I have been thinking of pushing the mulch (with the clover growing in it) aside, putting some weed-free compost into the hole and planting the seeds into the compost. Any comments?
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Using the compost will work, or using soil. Generally for seeds you have to do this with sheet mulching.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i just toss the seeds into the mulch, always have some grow.

to solve the expensive seed problem. let a lettuce go to seed, or grow some in a pot specifically for seed. one plant will give you a few thousand seeds easily. i let three lettuce plants go to seed this spring, 3 types. i now have about 5000 seeds for free. been doing this for a few years now and it all started with a few packets of seed that were on sale at the end of the season.

simply tossing out seeds wont give you the best germination rate. but it helps to have numbers on your side, and the ones that do grow are extra hardy.

you can also grow lettuce like buttercrunch and loose leaf types as a living mulch. simply spread the seed nice and thick ( about 3 seeds per inch ). youll have a nice solid mass of lettuce to pick leaves from in no time. selectively cutting the outer leaves gives you an even longer harvest.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Soil Im curious how the taste goes after generations of reseeding from the same plant. Are these heirloom or hybrids? Ive heard that if you keep using seeds over and over that it will go bitter, at least on hybrids.
 
                                  
Posts: 40
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would say to use transplants, but the pill bugs would probably eat those too.  After much debate and experimentation, I have decided to keep the mulch out of the annual garden and under the fruit trees where it belongs.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rob S. aka Blitz wrote:
Soil Im curious how the taste goes after generations of reseeding from the same plant. Are these heirloom or hybrids? Ive heard that if you keep using seeds over and over that it will go bitter, at least on hybrids.


the only ones that are a little bitter are the ones i let grow wild in the forest garden, almost like they reverted to there wild ancestors. cant exactly say why either. i started with heirloom varieties. the ones grown in the other garden are nice and sweet as long as it doesn't get too hot outside, or start to bolt. but honestly i sort of like the slightly bitter ones now, they have more flavor imo. seems to me they would be richer in nutrients and minerals as well.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've been growing lettuce seed from a very limited gene pool for several generations. The only time bitternesss has been an issue is in summer, so cultural.
I've never seen hybrid lettuce seed, but I've never looked out  for it.
As far as I know, lettuce is one of the rare veggies that don't tend to cross-pollinate.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
most salad green seeds do not need to be buried if well watered..or use just a dusting of soil over them..water and cool weather is the most important.

i put my salad greens for this fall into my greenhouse and they sprouted in just a few days in the warmer weather, and now that it has begun to turn cool they are growing like wildfire

 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
pippimac wrote:
I've been growing lettuce seed from a very limited gene pool for several generations. The only time bitternesss has been an issue is in summer, so cultural.
I've never seen hybrid lettuce seed, but I've never looked out  for it.
As far as I know, lettuce is one of the rare veggies that don't tend to cross-pollinate.


I did not know that! Cool.

soil wrote:
the only ones that are a little bitter are the ones i let grow wild in the forest garden, almost like they reverted to there wild ancestors. cant exactly say why either. i started with heirloom varieties. the ones grown in the other garden are nice and sweet as long as it doesn't get too hot outside, or start to bolt. but honestly i sort of like the slightly bitter ones now, they have more flavor imo. seems to me they would be richer in nutrients and minerals as well.


Yeah Summer is def a problem for lettuce here. Mine lasted into July, but was a bit bitter. Im curious if you can even grow lettuce over the warm months as long as they havea  shaded area.
 
                              
Posts: 123
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
lettuce doesnt make it through our summers in central texas.  doesnt matter where you plant it sun or shine.  day after day of over 90 degree temps send it bolting away.  it becomes inedible bitter quit a bit before that.
 
josh brill
Posts: 86
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lettuce hybrids just like any other hybrids do not set true seed.  This means that the seed you collect from a hybrid could be like any either of the two parents and most likely not like the lettuce you had.  If you do selective breeding though it is possible to take the hybrid and turn it into an open pollinated variety in a lot of cases.  So its not the case of reusing seeds that makes the lettuce go bitter its the fact that the lettuce has not held true to its variety.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


i rely on other greens in the summer. sweet potato leaves are pretty good cooked. amaranth, lambs quarters, purslane, nettle, nasturtium, and so on. also by the time summer hits. im sick of lettuce greens from eating them all winter. i like diversity in my diet.

lettuce doesnt make it through our summers in central texas.  doesnt matter where you plant it sun or shine.  day after day of over 90 degree temps send it bolting away.  it becomes inedible bitter quit a bit before that.


i leave quite a few lettuce to go to seed for next winter, I like having 20,000 lettuce seeds for free.
 
                              
Posts: 123
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
soil wrote:
i leave quite a few lettuce to go to seed for next winter, I like having 20,000 lettuce seeds for free.


Who doesnt like having a bunch of free seeds?

I like amaranth cooked but my girfriend and daughter arent to hot on it.  maybe we just havent found the right recipe yet.  i think the recipe so far is with sauteed  garlic and onions.  then fry the amaranth leaves in it.  my girlfriend also makes an ethiopian butter to put on greens.  i thought it was ok with amaranth but the girlfriend and daughter didnt care for it much either. 

it could be the variety of amaranth we're growing as well.  the huge purple flowers are starting to show now.  im interested to see how the (pseudo) grains are.

 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
soil wrote:the only ones that are a little bitter are the ones i let grow wild in the forest garden


Do you suppose that a different soil microbe profile in that part of the garden affects which form of nitrogen is available to the roots?

I've read that nitrites can make produce taste bitter, and that the fungal soils favored by trees are not as fast or thorough in oxidizing ammonia.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
really the only thing i can tell that i do differently is, in the forest garden i just let them self seed all by themselves. otherwise i collect the seed and toss it in the main gardens.

there is far more diversity in other plant life around them though, that could possibly be a cause. where as the main gardens only have 2 or 3 companion plants at most. the forest garden could have up to 20.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Soil,
What zone are you in? And, the what types of lettuce do you let go wild in the woods? I would like to try to perrenialize some lettuce myself in zone 6. Cheers.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
soil wrote:really the only thing i can tell that i do differently is, in the forest garden i just let them self seed all by themselves.


But presumably the mix of plants, and therefore the mix of soil microbes nurtured by those plants, is different in the different locations?
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rob S. aka Blitz wrote:
Soil,
What zone are you in? And, the what types of lettuce do you let go wild in the woods? I would like to try to perrenialize some lettuce myself in zone 6. Cheers.


borderline 7-8. some winters are a bit colder than others, some more snow, some more rain. but the summers are always hot and dry.

not sure what the types of lettuce they are, most were collected from other gardeners and i didn't care to know other than did it taste good, and did it grow good. and i purchased a big bag of mixed salad greens years ago to start in bulk( which buying seed in bulk, WAY cheaper )

and also this is in our forest garden, the natural woods around me has too many deer, they would eat all the salad in a heartbeat.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Im assuming you get frost down to the ground though? Im not sure if I can let them go perrenial in zone 6, but Ill try
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
well one thing i like about allowing a lot of a variety of greens and plants to go to seed, is that if you have the room, you always have some sort of green growing and producing for salads or cooked greens.

I allowed a few greens to see this summer and now i have baby greens growing in that area all ready to pick for cooking and salads, i also planted a fall garden in my greenhouse that is producing salads and greens now, saves a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on veggies from the store by now had i not put in a fall garden or allowed some things to go to seed.

very abundant gardens come from self seeding greens !
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Im assuming you get frost down to the ground though? Im not sure if I can let them go perrenial in zone 6, but Ill try


yes of course, from november to may we get nothing but frosts. lettuce seems to handle it well though. i wouldnt really say perennial lettuce, more like self growing lettuce. it grows in the fall, grows all winter, come spring it grows more then goes to seed, in the summer the seeds fall and drop, come fall again when it rains, the process starts all over.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sure that makes sense for your zone. I think with the low temps we get it would probably kill them to the ground. This winter Im going to use a double wall plastic liner over the growing lettuce to see how they do.
 
john smith
Posts: 70
Location: western u.s.
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
soil wrote:
i rely on other greens in the summer. sweet potato leaves are pretty good cooked. amaranth, lambs quarters, purslane, nettle, nasturtium, and so on. also by the time summer hits. im sick of lettuce greens from eating them all winter. i like diversity in my diet.


Can you recommend a good variety and source for sweet potato greens?  Purslane is my favorite green veggie.  It grew wild in my garden quite a few years ago and since then I've been saving the seeds. 

 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
johnlvs2run wrote:
Can you recommend a good variety and source for sweet potato greens?  Purslane is my favorite green veggie.  It grew wild in my garden quite a few years ago and since then I've been saving the seeds. 




sorry i just know them as sweet potatoes, not any particular variety. i got the original tubers at a farmers market, they tasted really good so i saved some to make slips and grow my own, planted those and do so every year. there good stir fried to me. i usually add some type of meat with them and a sweet and sour type sauce.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 21424
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Plan A)  toss the seeds on the mulch - and the seeds trickle in between the bits of mulsh.  The germination rate might be lower, but not too bad.

Plan B)  push some mulch aside and put the seeds in.

Plan C)  Toss a bit of soil on the mulch and stick the seeds in that.

Plan D)  fukuoka style seed balls.

 
We should throw him a surprise party. It will cheer him up. We can use this tiny ad:
paul's patreon stuff
https://permies.com/t/60329/paul-patreon-stuff
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!