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Sepp Holzer's method of planting  RSS feed

 
                          
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So I recently started working a plot at a local Community garden project. I have decided I will be using Sepp's method of planting, mixing a bunch of seeds together and tossing them.

Everyone I have spoke to at local nurseries tells me this is a bad idea.

I have the plot sectioned off into smaller plots that are 8'x4' with a walkway between that is 12"

My question is...Is there a method to his madness? Does he only sprinkle certain mixes this way?

Any help would be much appreciated.

-Chris
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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An important method is that he sows very thickly, and harvests very often & intelligently.

My impression is that he works to craft a mix that offers many seeds an opportunity to try out many situations, and lets the health of various species as they develop determine the mix that grows up out of what was seeded.
 
                          
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
An important method is that he sows very thickly, and harvests very often & intelligently.

My impression is that he works to craft a mix that offers many seeds an opportunity to try out many situations, and lets the health of various species as they develop determine the mix that grows up out of what was seeded.


Can you explain what you mean by sowing thickly? From the looks of it in the videos it seems that our definitions of thickly might be different. I'm a complete novice when it comes to gardening so I think my preconceived notion of thickly is off.

Thanks in advance!

-Chris
 
Aljaz Plankl
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He works with a lot of seeds on a big scale. He doesn't mind the loss. He mix a lot of different kinds of plants and add a bit of veggies.
What you want is to mix only veggie seeds and toss them on a garden?
I mixed lots of different veggie seeds and toss them on a garden beds like yours. Results were not as good as a vegetable gardener expects. But if you are into experiments go for it. If you are into production it will be a challenge. But it grows, just not as one would expect.
If you still like to broadcast different kind of veggies seeds here is one really good option. Polyculture of salad, cabbage and others.
What i learned on a typical vegetable garden is to choose only two dominant culture on one garden bed and then adding different plants into the habitat, if it is possible.
For example.
Now i planted garlic. A bit more further apart so i can sow carrots inbetween in the spring. So garlic and carrots will be dominant cultures on this bed till summer when they are harvested.
So you can go for typical garden bed and have more produce or you can go for a wild garden bed and have a beauty but not so much produce.
wildbed.jpg
[Thumbnail for wildbed.jpg]
 
Tyler Ludens
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I plant many different kinds of seeds in a single bed, but I don't mix them.  It's easier to get even distribution if you broadcast them one kind at a time.  Especially if some are large and would benefit from a heavier soil cover.  I broadcast those first and cover with some soil, then the next deepest kind, cover with soil, then finally the small seeds on top.  I press them in with the back of a rake and then water.  My primary difficulty is I tend to sow too thickly and some plants get crowded out.  "Gaia's Garden" recommends a seed every couple of square inches.  I still tend to overdo it because it's just so much fun sprinkling seeds around. 
 
Aljaz Plankl
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Ludi, i would love to know which kind of seeds to you sow in the same bed!
 
Jordan Lowery
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this is the only way we plant seeds in the forest garden unless i have some special new plants that got started in pots. otherwise its toss and let nature do its thing. one thing you have to do as mentioned is thin them out when they grow.
 
                          
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Awesome! Thank you for your reply's
 
Tyler Ludens
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Plankl wrote:
Ludi, i would love to know which kind of seeds to you sow in the same bed!


Let's see, I'll consult my little garden notebook...

On Oct 22 I planted fava beans, sbanach spinach, german chamomile, mixed lettuce seed (Pinetree Gardens mix), lemon balm, mustard greens, salvia officinalis, carrots, mixed radish seed (Pinetree mix), turnip. 

But each bed varies, depending on what I have on hand and feel like planting. 

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Forlane wrote:
Can you explain what you mean by sowing thickly? From the looks of it in the videos it seems that our definitions of thickly might be different. I'm a complete novice when it comes to gardening so I think my preconceived notion of thickly is off.

Thanks in advance!

-Chris


In the videos, he visits a neighbor that he has been teaching his methods to. He sounds a little frustrated that the plants are crowding one another so much, and scolds the landowner to harvest more often.

In his own garden beds, it looks like there are young seedlings every inch or so.

A part of this effect might be that his climate is very good for beets and similar, which can't really be sown as individual seeds, but rather as tiny fruits which each contain several seeds. This means that even if the total seeding rate were very sparse, some thinning would likely be in order.
 
Aljaz Plankl
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Ludi, turnip for the root harvest and favas also for harvest? Mustard green for green manure or something else?
Vegetable growers sometimes grow mustard as a green manure. Its main purpose is to act as a mulch, covering the soil to suppress weeds between crops. If grown as a green manure, the mustard plants are cut down at the base when sufficiently grown, and left to wither on the surface... -wiki


soil, you mostly toss seeds on bare ground or into vegetation?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Plankl, all the vegetables may be harvested or some left in place as mulch.  I don't think I'll be able to eat all the vegs, so some of them will remain to produce seeds. 

 
Jordan Lowery
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soil, you mostly toss seeds on bare ground or into vegetation?


both. but not very thick vegetation, just low ground cover stuff. the thicker places get seedballs.

i use the toss method mainly to fill in empty pockets in the forest garden.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Seedballs might help if one wants to broadcast a guild with widely divergent seed sizes.

These forums have included discussion of a method partway between bare seeds and seedballs, where seeds are moistened, clay soil is added while stirring until they are uniformly covered in mud, and dry soil is mixed in until the mixture is again dry and crumbly. Other forum-goers have reported good results with this.

Heavy vegetation might call for chop-and-drop, with the cuttings collected on top of species that push through deep mulch particularly well (garlic, favas, potatoes, sunchokes, small grains), and bare soil seeded with a different mix of species.

Mustard seed is a useful antimicrobial. Mustard does not spoil, and I could imagine dusting mustard powder to something that might get wet, that you would prefer not to rot (it is activated by moisture). It harms macroscopic life, too, so I'm not sure if it would be safe to use on plants, but it might be worth a try vs. slugs or aphids. Be very careful not to get any in your eyes, for example.
 
Aljaz Plankl
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Joel, i think it was me telling about coating seeds with mud and then slowly adding soil... I had great success. But this was on bare ground, construction places and similar.
I have tried to introduce veggies into a meadow, which is a very thick, fast growing, diverse habitat. Two years ago i have tossed seeds of different veggies. Two carrot plants made seeds, after two years. They are still standing there with the help of dried grasses and reseeding the area. Most seeds are still on them. Maybe there were some carrots growing the first year, but i would need extreme luck to find them in there. I was lucky to find some radishes the first year in the fall, after scything.
I have never tried to use seedballs in this habitat.
Soil, do you chop and drop, or just toss seedballs in thick vegetation and let everything grow as it?
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think it would be unlikely to successfully introduce domesticated vegetables into an existing meadow - just too much competition.  Constructing a meadow which includes domesticated vegs might work better. 

 
Brenda Groth
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I have good luck in braodcasting mixes of smaller seeds, but the larger seeds or those that need soil cover i do tend to put into the ground one at a time..to make sure they are actually IN the soil..like beans, peas, etc.

Another thing I do is take my seedheads when they are ripe all year long, and spread them where I might want them to grow..not necessarily everything all at once..some seedheads ripen at different times..so I spread them out when fresh unless they are seeds that require saving for spring here in  Michigan.

Most of my perennial seeds are spread immediately into the new area where I want them to grow, and I do tend to always drop a couple near the mother plant just in case it dies off on it's own..

some things actually do better if sown in their fruit, as they feed off the rotting fruit, so you might want to consider that for osme of your tossing things about..as well..I also don't have just herbaceous borders with no trees or shrubs..I combine trees and shrubs in ALL of my gardens here..you can see my blog below
 
Paula Edwards
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I'm sure Sepp does not buy his seeds. But if you have not much experience and buy your seeds which are expensive then go for one at the time. Or plant say tomatoes and put some lettuce in between. You must know how the emerging stuff looks like that you don't rip our your vegetable instead of the weed or you don't weed at all because you don't know  how the plant looks like.
I often mix two things together, maybe a quick one and a slow growing one.
 
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