(go to kickstarter page)
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

perennial clover in pathways  RSS feed

 
Angelika Maier
Posts: 854
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So far I keep my pathways in the veggie garden mulched, which is not bad. How about perennial clover? Will it invade the beds? Does it contribute nitrogen or other nutrients?
 
Erwin Decoene
Posts: 67
Location: Courtrai Area, Flanders Region, Belgium Europe
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In Australia you have problems with invasive species. Are there no local alternatives?

Clover does contribute nitrate to the soil and is perennial. The white (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trifolium_repens) and yellow European varieties are best to tread on and are of some benefit to bees. I use the yellow flowering ones (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicago_lupulina ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trifolium_dubium ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trifolium_campestre) in pots. No nitrate supplement needed so far.

I experimented with white clover to get established in my garden.

The red clovervarieties  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trifolium_pratense, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trifolium_hybridum) are common in the sunny parts of my garden and even colonizes my patio.


I hope to continue my experiments with yellow clovers in pots. They are small, produce lots of smallish yellow flowers and are attractive to bees. My goal is to establish pots with herbs, strawberries and ornamental plants that don't need much upkeep and devellop a small community of perennials.


 
Roberto pokachinni
pollinator
Posts: 1213
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
77
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
While on the one hand I would encourage you to put plants like clover in your paths, to use this space for growing great leguminous insectaries, on the other hand, I think about what clover is going to do there: 

So you have mulched paths, and clover plants.  Clover plants will be fixing nitrogen in the mulch (which is high in carbon), and thus the soil microbial life-now boosted with nitrogen-will be making compost/soil out of your mulch, so you will need to apply more mulch sooner.  The clover, through it's sprawling pattern that is low to the ground, provides a moist seedbed in dappled light, which is ideal for any other plant to germinate... like weeds.  While weeds are generally so opportunistic that they don't need rich soil, they also tend to thrive in nitrogen rich soil that the clover provides. 

So, in the end, if you have clover in your paths, you will likely end up with a bunch of other plants in your paths, and if your goal is to reduce the work of weeding with mulched paths, then you may be defeating this goal, and as mentioned you will need more mulch sooner.

I'm not saying that is the only goal of having mulched paths.  I certainly have it for multiple reasons.  But I have found that when I encourage plants, like dandelions, to grow in my path, grass seedlings tend to grow in their under-story, and chickweed, and ox eyed daisies, and hedge nettle.  I do the extra weeding, but I'm just saying that it may not be in some people's interest, and sometimes I get behind, and then it's serious work.  Sometimes I just have to do a reboot and pull up the mulch, chop all the growth down, water it, lay cardboard over everything and re-mulch.      

What I have been tending to do lately, is putting clover and dandelion (when I weed their excessive populations from my beds) on the sides of the banks of my raised beds.  In this way, the garden beds have more soil life, more nitrogen, and better water retention and the path's are simply mulched.

Clover will spread, and enter your garden, regardless.  That's just part of it's job... ; its a ground cover.  If it is in your paths, it will take longer to spread into your beds, obviously, than if it's on the banks of a raised bed, particularly as the paths are being treaded upon, and you have more opportunity to control it. 
 
Roberto pokachinni
pollinator
Posts: 1213
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
77
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
An additional thought is to grow it in your paths, but regularly chop your clover, and toss it onto your beds.  That way you inspect, fairly regularly, what might be growing under them, and get benefits to your beds.  This is another method that I have used with some success in the past.  Observation, and diligence are your key factors when doing such things.
 
Jason Bijl
Posts: 21
Location: Kamloops, BC - Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Over the past few years I've been digging raised beds into my lawn.  The paths between mounds are still undisturbed lawn/white clover.  I just run a wipper snipper through as needed, and toss clippings onto mounds.

This works fine for me on a small scale, the only downside is that honey bees like to forage in the clover paths... So I just steal some of their honey for the inconvenience.
 
Roberto pokachinni
pollinator
Posts: 1213
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
77
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
he paths between mounds are still undisturbed lawn/white clover.  I just run a wipper snipper through as needed, and toss clippings onto mounds. 
  With some grasses, this would not work well; at least from my perspective.  The perennial grasses that are in my meadow might be more tenacious than your lawn grass; almost all of the species will send runner roots spreading it outwards and upwards to the beds, and these will pop up clones sometimes a foot or more away.  It produces soil fast with these types of grasses, and makes a strong meadow root net for other permacultural purposes, but for me, in my place, grasses have no place in my garden.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!