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The proof is in the produce

 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
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Location: Palmyra, Virginia
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books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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Years ago I had talked my husband into trying the ruth stout method of year round mulching - applying basically anything to the surface of your garden (hay, straw, weeds, decaying vegetation....) He was on board for a short time. We ran out of sources for mulch to keep up the year round mulching.
I recently purchased for Back to Eden DVD. I have a small supply of wood chips (that's the premise of this method.) I told him today I wanted to have a place where the tree service could easily dump chips. He said he was not on board with this idea, even though he has not watched the video.
My only choice is to prove him wrong. I have full say so in my herb garden, so that's where my experiment has to take place. If I can have success there, I may convince him to expand the method into some of the main garden areas. Place your wagers ....game on!
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 493
Location: Palmyra, Virginia
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books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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Dale,
The wood chips, being acidic, is great for the blueberry plants I've ordered. The problem is the tomato plants that will be the real proof of success or failure in his eyes. Any advice there?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Do you have room to grow some perennials for leafy mulch? I think using as many different sources of mulch as possible is the most likely for success, in avoiding nutrient deficiencies and imbalances.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 493
Location: Palmyra, Virginia
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books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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Other than the wood chips, I have several bags of shredded leaves and I'm considering planting some Comfrey. I'm going to try growing it containers so it won't get out of hand.
 
Jeff Stainthorp
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Location: Yakima, WA
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Hi Karen! I agree that you should diversify your mulch. About the comfrey, coming from personal experience: it doesn't like living in containers. It never seemed to grow as vigorously as my plants that went into the ground. If you're worried about it taking over, you can order the bocking 14 cultivar that is sterile, but you can still propagate it by root cuttings.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 493
Location: Palmyra, Virginia
39
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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Hey Jeff,
Thanks for the tip. I never did find any local source for comfrey so it's still on my wish list.
I did make my herb garden a BTE garden. I put down a layer of compost, then a layer of bagged leaves, then about 6 inches of hemlock wood chips. I've planted carrots and chard so far by pulling the chips back and seeding. What I see so far is that the chips want to collapse back onto the seeded area. The seeds are finally starting to germinate but are going to be smothered by the chips falling in on them.
As far as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants... I bought the book Epic Tomatoes by Craig LeHoullier and I'm trying his method of dense planting. That method is to plant from 1-50 seeds per individual planting cell that is 1.5 inches square. I planted 12 per sq. Now I've moved those to 1 per container, using clear plastic drinking cups.
My plants now have their first true leaves and some have their second leaves starting. My husband has not yet planted his seeds. He's still trying to heat the soil in the seed bed/cold frame. Heating the soil will kill any unwanted germinating seeds.
We compete each year. I start mine early inside and he puts his in later in the cold frame. His usually catches up with, then passes mine. One of these years I'm going to find the method that beats him.
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My little tomatoes, eggplants and peppers
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His empty cold frame
 
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