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Clay Rogers
Posts: 33
Location: WI Zone 5a
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I am just starting my version of a permaculture orchard. I have in mind to do something like Stefan Sobkowiak's Miracle Farms project. Mainly for friends and family though, not so large scale.

So, I have most of my trees planted (a few more on the way) but need to figure out what to do with the alley's between my rows or they will just turn into weed beds. So, what would you guys suggest?

I'm in zone 5. I was thinking at least something annual for the short term while I determine what I want to do long term. My orchard is in a spot where it had been used for row crops (corn) for numerous years before being fallow the last 2+ years. So, there isn't much in the area other than weeds right now and left over stubble from old corn stalks.

Thanks for the help!
 
R Scott
Posts: 3343
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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My vote is for subterranean clover or white Dutch clover. Thick low growing ground cover that won't need mowing often if at all. Then fill in with perennial herbs and flowers a la miracle farm.
 
Clay Rogers
Posts: 33
Location: WI Zone 5a
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White dutch clover definitely sounds good especially with it's ability to be a nitrogen fixer.

It sounds like a perennial though so if I plant it then it seems like that's what I am committing to. So, I'll have to make sure that it would make the most sense. Wondering if a annual like alfalfa and the like with it's ability to add biomass might be a good fit also.

I will definitely look for items to plant within the rows such as herbs, berries, etc like Miracle Farms. I want to get the alleys planted though with something so that more than weeds grow.

How would I plant white clover? Sorry, new to this and not sure how to plan something so numerous. Also, instructions I see mention to "till it under during the flowering stage for best results." Is that something I would want to do?

Where would you suggest buying white clover seed from?
 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 746
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Clay Rogers wrote:Wondering if a annual like alfalfa
Except alfalfa's not an annual [though a few extreme climates would probably kill it off young]
 
Ron Helwig
Posts: 124
Location: New Hampshire
10
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Clay Rogers wrote:White dutch clover definitely sounds good especially with it's ability to be a nitrogen fixer.

It sounds like a perennial though so if I plant it then it seems like that's what I am committing to. So, I'll have to make sure that it would make the most sense.


I wouldn't worry about it being a commitment. It isn't that hard to remove.

Clay Rogers wrote:How would I plant white clover? Sorry, new to this and not sure how to plan something so numerous. Also, instructions I see mention to "till it under during the flowering stage for best results." Is that something I would want to do?


I would guess that the "till it under" instructions are for if you wanted to use it as a temporary nitrogen fix and now want to plant something else there. This also speaks to it being easy to remove. But I'd guess you mostly won't want to as it will likely be a decent companion to anything else you'd want to plant there.

As far as planting it, I've had success just tossing the seed out there and scraping the dirt a bit with a garden rake.
 
Jessica Padgham
Posts: 95
Location: Denver, Co 6000ft bentonite clay soil
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What about squash? They get huge and shade out most weeds. Even if you don't actually like squash you can trade them or use them as compost.
 
Clay Rogers
Posts: 33
Location: WI Zone 5a
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I just want to clarify that I am talking about the area between my rows (I have 4 rows) NOT the area between the trees in my rows.

Miracle Farms from what I remember of the video just looked like grass. I don't remember them discussing what to use between the rows. But, it's been a while since I watched it and I could be forgetting something. I remember them talking about possible herbs, flowers, etc to be between the trees within each row.

I just wanted to make sure we are all on the same page.

Thanks for your suggestions so far!
 
R Scott
Posts: 3343
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Miracle farms has mostly grass in the alleys, as it can stand up to the foot traffic of a you-pick and they tractor birds through. His rows are arranged by harvest time, so only a couple rows should be active any week and the rest are available to the birds.
 
Clay Rogers
Posts: 33
Location: WI Zone 5a
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I'm going to start with some white clover. Can I ask a dumb question: What should I do to get the ground ready to plant the seeds?

Right now, there is stubble left from when corn was planted, and now a healthy dose of weeds that have started coming up. So, what should I do to prep the soil? I'm trying not to till but is this a job for a rototiller?

I want to incorporate some aged manure into the soil also.

Thanks!
 
Abbey Battle
Posts: 83
Location: Wealden AONB
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You need to be careful with manure. There is a chemical that is sprayed onto grass / hay meadows to killed broad leaved weeds. This chemical stays in the hay, stays in the animal that eats it, stays in the manure and continues to work. It will kill off a lot of plants that aren't grass. I don't know how apple trees cope. The use of manure has been banned in a number of allotments here in England because of this.

It's a Dow chemical and they have data on their website. It was removed from use here for a while but has been re introduced. Don't know how this translates to where you are.

I've had success with just tossing the clover seed on the ground. It's used as a green manure here. You can just scythe and rake the grass then toss the seed. Scythe the clover when it flowers and leave as a mulch. I actually find that if you do this in it's first year it doesn't always come back so you aren't left with clover growing everywhere and taking over.

I'd just scythe and rake. Hope your 'weeds' haven't taken off like mine. We are having perfect weather for plants. Sun, rain and warmth.
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 371
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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Clay Rogers wrote:I'm going to start with some white clover. Can I ask a dumb question: What should I do to get the ground ready to plant the seeds?


I would use a no till drill to seed clover, trefoil, or alfalfa into thee grass, weeds and stubble. I you choose a mix, you will probably see the best choice dominating in 3 years..
 
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