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miniclover as pathways  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 1376
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I got truckloads of woodchips in my garden. Since I have 3 times the amount of potassium than I should I want to replace the woodchips in the pathways by something else.
My idea is to use miniclover or microclover, since I don't have to mow it. How about that? It probably is not that good with the nitrogen fixing (was never bred for it) but not to mow is really good.
 
Posts: 56
Location: Kitsap Penninsula, WA
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I have planted clover extensively in my gardens to help with soil mitigation, nitrogen fixing and getting more green manure working in some pretty neglected soil.

I actually love working with it, but other's tried to warn me off it bc it tends to become unruly after a year and grows EVERYWHERE.

Which, it actually does. I seeded my beds and now I have clover everywhere. But I actually like it, because it creates a living mulch around my plants, looks pretty, and attracts bees. All of these things I love.

What I don't like about working with clover is that it makes the garden look "messy", which, if you are a permaculture fiend, doesn't really matter. I have had to get used to the wild look it gives my garden.

If you seed it into your pathways, it will eventually make its way into your garden beds, so that's a consideration.

Here is how I manage it:
When it gets high, I mow it and leave it on the ground for mulch. I only used clover in the garden where we grow staple crops (large amounts of beans, squash, tomatoes, kale, collards, etc). When I am getting ready to plant, I rip out big handfuls of it and throw it to the chickens and ducks and they love it. Then I plant right in the space I created, cover with a bit of compost and move on. Seeding clover has helped me a lot with less watering and my soil is much richer after only 1 year. This year, I'm not going to cut it in the spring as I have a huge amount of compost to spread - so I'm just gonna spread it right over the top and plant into it. Our soil is very sandy and has been neglected for years, so the addition of anything to help the soil is greatly needed.

If you use microclover in the walkways, your only chore would be keeping it out of the beds you plant, but I think it would look lovely. Mini and regular clover, from my research, acts pretty much the same in growth. I couldn't find any difference between the 2, so would love if anyone knows of any big difference. We currently work with dutch white clover.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 1376
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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That sounds actually really good. I will use the microclover in the more nice areas since we're opening our garden. And since I can't buy microclover in Australia I will use it only were it has to look tidy. I will use normal clover were the bulk crop like potatoes or amaranth is, but I will have to have that tidy to not mess up with the lawnmower (we need it for clients). Our bees will attack me close to the hive they are doing it already. I am really excited growing nitrogen on the pathways!!! I might need to inoculate the clover maybe.
 
pollinator
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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I am not sure what the micro clover is that you are referring to. Do you have pictures or links to your source? I am familiar with a small clover with red leaves when it is in full sun and small yellow blossoms. The only problem with it in pathways is that it forms small sharp seed pods that are uncomfortable on bare feet.
 
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Hello!
I found a sciencie article about microclover and it said:

It does fix nitrogen - woot!
It "dies back in the winter." Might be a bummer, but it your summers are mild, it might not.
Extreme heat and drought will kill it. (I don't think the test plots are large though, so there was not enough of a population to stolon out. Perhaps with  larger reservoir of plants, less would die)

I found that here:
http://plantscience.psu.edu/reduce-runoff/questions-about-microclover

 
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Angelika Maier wrote:I got truckloads of woodchips in my garden. Since I have 3 times the amount of potassium than I should I want to replace the woodchips in the pathways by something else.
My idea is to use miniclover or microclover, since I don't have to mow it. How about that? It probably is not that good with the nitrogen fixing (was never bred for it) but not to mow is really good.



Actually micro clover is a nitrogen fixing plant, it forms the rhizobium nodules just like most of the nitrogen fixers.
You can mow it if you so desire and that would add mulch with nitrogen content.
Don't forget spent coffee grounds for a source of nitrogen, fungi, bacteria, and that it is a wonderful worm food.

Redhawk
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
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I will order some seeds! Apart from the mowing the normal clover would actually be good enough for the veggie beds, but the microclover (which apparently does not grow above a certain height and does not need mowing) would probably look awsome in my 'ornamental' garden (medicinal plant collection). The problem with mowing is either the paths are wide enough for the lawnmower (and even) or I have to use the whipper snipper which is not so nice on the back.
The idea of clover in the pathways is to grow a bit of nitrogen in the pathways. Since our climate is mild enough to grow broad beans over winter (and some other things) it seems a bit of a waste of spave to out in cover crops instead. But using the paths seems pretty clever.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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That sounds to me like a great plan Angelika, better use of spaces is always great.

Redhawk
 
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Location: Southern New England, USA (41N)
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We used clover (regular white dwarf, trifolium repens) between fixed beds in a small farm plot, instead of bare earth, to great success.  We mowed them periodically with a mulching mower.  It did attempt to move into the rows of crops, but we just ripped it out and used it as mulch when we weeded.  When we pulled up the crops at the end of the season we found lots of horizontal roots that we'd never seen before, growing sideways into the clover. We also used clover between raised beds and had no trouble with it migrating there, but we also didn't get the crop benefit of the clover (we did have lots of visiting bees though!).  We used clover last spring to do secondary paths in our baby food forest, but it didn't do a great job of suppressing the taller weeds, and still needs mowing to be maintained as paths.
 
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