I live in north-central AZ, at 5,000 feet. I am new here. I told a friend from Mexico that we just put a load of horse manure on a garden bed we're starting and he said, "Don't use manure. It gets too hot and it dries out too quickly. You'll have to water it a lot." He said, "you have a lot of junipers on your property, right?"
We do. They are one-seed and Utah junipers. He said that the soil should be good. Just use litter from the trees instead of manure. He said the litter is especially good for growing peppers. I'd always thought junipers were very allelopathic, but the research I've googled up indicates that they aren't. Isn't that interesting? Should I try my friend's advice?
Thanks Kevin. I will keep you posted as well. I found a couple studies about how one-seed juniper and Utah juniper don't seem to affect native grasses chemically,it's the depth of the litter and physical characteristics that inhibit growth.
I collected juniper leaf litter last month and planted black beans.
They look okay but time will tell.
This is pure leaf litter, no soil added and it didn't compost. Water goes right through it.
Maybe I'll try some mixed with potting soil this spring and if that looks good it will go into the ground with my next batch of trees this November.
Great idea, Kevin! I wonder if that's the value of juniper litter in this arid climate - that it allows the water to seep through and then maybe keeps moisture from evaporating out of the soil layer beneath? Shot in the dark.
Anne, Kevin mentioned that he has only One Seed Juniper. Are you in this area too?
posted 2 years ago
When i plant my trees i cover the good soil with a piece of plastic to keep the moisture in and then cover the plastic with more local soil.
I plant all my trees in a recessed hole. If i we're using leaf matter i would make it a mound so that as the matter deteriorated it would sink down.
Years ago i planted like 4000 papaya seeds in 400 pots using mostly leaf matter (neem tree if you must know)
Within two weeks i had a bunch of half filled pots.
Yes, i had to eat a lot of papaya to get those seeds.
posted 2 years ago
Update on juniper leaf litter and growing beans.
After starting black bean seeds in pure juniper litter I transferred the whole bunch into regular soil. They are doing fine. (In California)
In late October I brought a plastic storage box with compost worms to our Arizona area. I left the box out in the open till January, figuring that in the freezing nights the worms would die or cocoon hibernate or come back from eggs. In January there were still live ones and I moved the box to a sheltered area and added juniper litter to the mix.
Last week I dumped the lot into a large garbage can full of worm food and I found a plenty of active worms centered around the juniper litter.
I keep my worm composting simple: a garbage can with holes in the bottom and keep filling it with things worms like to eat. I keep it covered and somewhat wet. Out here we have to make our own soil. I finally found a use for the Gallup New Mexico yellow pages.
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