• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Miles Flansburg
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Daron Williams
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
  • Bryant RedHawk

Living Mulch on the cheap, from your soil's seed bank.  RSS feed

 
gardener
Posts: 1244
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
370
bee books food preservation forest garden cooking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What is the cheapest way to provide cover for your soil? Withdraw desirable plants from your soil's own seed bank!

I’ve read various accounts on folks’ struggle to remove weeds from their gardens. And I’ve thought to myself, huh? That plant is useful! At least, to a certain point in its growth pattern, and in my climate. These are a few weeds that are welcome plants in my garden.

Carpet Weed was my first introduction to living mulch. Before I’d heard of permaculture, through observation, I discovered this mystery plant, with a little help from me eliminating competition, would shade out grass seeds. This resulted in less work weeding for me. I think it took me three YEARS to figure that out. Pictures from seedling to carpet, are at the below site, as it is currently missing in my garden! Shrug.

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/carpetweed


Until recently it's name had remained a mystery. Above ground parts can be eaten, though I have not seen it since I've known. http://www.eattheweeds.com/?s=carpet+weed



Barnyard Grass is another one that I like in my garden. My bush bean beds helped me learn this one. When I started gardening I was sold on raised beds. Without the funds for wood, I dug out the pathways, and dumped them on the beds, creating sloped edges that are impossible to keep weed free! Barnyard grass would sprout up. And spread out, and cover sooo much real estate! With only one plant to evict, once the beans were large enough to shade the area by themselves, it is less work, when it is time to remove it. While it will root at some nodes, it is easy to pull it up, if it’s still below 2 feet tall.

And the seeds are edible in various ways. http://www.eattheweeds.com/barnyard-grass/ So far, I've only munched on a few seed heads, raw. Picture of seed heads to be posted when they mature, though Green Dean has a good representation in the link.

EDIT    pic added


seedling.jpg
[Thumbnail for seedling.jpg]
4-in..jpg
[Thumbnail for 4-in..jpg]
18-in..jpg
[Thumbnail for 18-in..jpg]
3-ft.-Side-View.jpg
[Thumbnail for 3-ft.-Side-View.jpg]
Root-Nodes.jpg
[Thumbnail for Root-Nodes.jpg]
Seedhead-Progression.jpg
[Thumbnail for Seedhead-Progression.jpg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 583
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
78
bee chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Its funny you mentioned the "barnyard grass" which is really a crabgrass. We have both main North American species here, and I have left it pretty much alone, except in the tiny lawn. It shades, makes massive biomass, and acts as an air well with its little hairs.

I will say I tend to pull the hairy crabgrass (which roots readily) in planted areas and leave the other kind (which just gets big and wants to make seeds). The hairy also seems to make an allelopathic compound, nothing sprouts after it was been there in my experience. The other stuff (Digitaria ischaemum), doesn't seem to. And it looks nice and shades out other more obnoxious stuff.

I was thinking of making a post about the difference between them botanically. If someone is interested I will put it together.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
gardener
Posts: 1244
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
370
bee books food preservation forest garden cooking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am Someone. I am interested.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2126
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
90
forest garden trees urban
 
Posts: 1125
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
9
chicken dog hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've got this perennial rhizomous whistle that persists in my garden, long, deep root, easy to pull if you pull straight and don't touch the leaves especially when pulled young... but painful addition to mulch as leaves become more dangerous as they dry,  for now I just use these to mulch pathways where shoes will protect me
 
master pollinator
Posts: 2775
492
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh have I got one for you!! (LOL)

So this farmer went bankrupt and left me a 10 acre corn field on a 15% slope. The erosion was pretty bad, so I applied for a grant to get the field sown back into nitrogen-fixation grass. I got the grant, but was required to deep till the soil. The thing was, the cornfield had been fertilized with tons of liquid dairy cow manure. Well clover seeds pass through a cows system unaffected, so by the time the government granted me the...well...grant, it was several years later and well sodded in with clover. So I had to till under the clover just to sow more clover!

I did have a better field as the new field was smooth, and the mixture was 50% Clover and 50% Timothy, but it did seem silly to till under clover to till clover!
 
Travis Johnson
master pollinator
Posts: 2775
492
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another one is Smooth Bedstraw. Here I watch people spend tons of money on lime to get the PH level up so that Smooth Bedstraw is abated, BUT if they had sheep instead of cows, it would work out better for them. Sheep can graze Smooth Bedstraw with immunity because their wool protects them from that foul grass.
 
Posts: 19
Location: Saskatchewan
1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a a plant I believe is Trefoil taking over my garden which also have nitrogen nodules on their roots!
20180720_193633.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180720_193633.jpg]
 
Posts: 2300
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
107
forest garden solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Those yellow flower are most likely not in the Legume family instead it is a wood sorrel "Oxalis"
 
Joylynn Hardesty
gardener
Posts: 1244
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
370
bee books food preservation forest garden cooking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think Marc is right on in his ID. Wood sorrel has a 5 petaled flower, not a clover looking thing at all. Also the fold in the leaves of Wood Sorrel sends the leaf edges toward the ground. Clover's leaf edges point to the sky.

https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/yellow-wood-sorrel


My first thought was Black Medic, but the leaves on his plant are too wide.

http://urbanbutterflygarden.co.uk/black-medick-medicago-lupulina-wildflower
 
Joylynn Hardesty
gardener
Posts: 1244
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
370
bee books food preservation forest garden cooking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Some kind of Asian Grass has cropped up around several of my trees. When I first saw it, all I could see was grass that wouldn’t stay the same height as the rest, messing up my mowing job. It grows very well in mostly shade, and will tolerate mostly sun. I leave it, creating a graceful ring around them. When ready add to a guild, it has a very shallow root system, making it easy to remove. I have moved it around my acre by letting it go to seed, then using it as mulch, seed heads intact. Next spring the seeds become plants for mulch! No need to thresh, winnow and store the seeds. Anyone know the name of this grass?

Hey, William! See, I have Creeping Charlie too!
Asian-Grass-Seedling.jpg
[Thumbnail for Asian-Grass-Seedling.jpg]
Asian-Grass-6-in.-Tall.jpg
[Thumbnail for Asian-Grass-6-in.-Tall.jpg]
Asian-Grass-with-Seed.jpg
[Thumbnail for Asian-Grass-with-Seed.jpg]
Asian-Grass-Seeds.jpg
[Thumbnail for Asian-Grass-Seeds.jpg]
 
garden master
Posts: 2197
Location: USDA Zone 8a
464
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting cooking purity trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have let the spurge go this summer.  I am sure it helps shade the soil though I am sure that it is dropping hundreds of seeds.

With temps of 115, it is about all I can do to keep the plants watered.  I lost one echinacea  most likely due to poor soil and being eaten by a deer.

SPURGE:







 
Joylynn Hardesty
gardener
Posts: 1244
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
370
bee books food preservation forest garden cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have used that one for mulch too. Every time I see Spurge, it reminds me to be careful in identifying plants. We harvest and eat wild foods, and I tried really hard to make this stuff match Purslane. That would not have turned out well, it is toxic.

https://dengarden.com/gardening/portulaca
 
Anne Miller
garden master
Posts: 2197
Location: USDA Zone 8a
464
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting cooking purity trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have had purslane aka portulaca and I have moss rose.  This spurge is not a succulent like they are.  Though I can see the confusion. There are lots of things called spurge.  I also have croton which is in the spurge family.  It is said to make livestock sick and is an important food for some butterflies.

Speaking of moss rose, some call it portulaca.  I have thought of using it as a ground cover but it is so prolific that I keep it in pots.  Something is so hungry that it is eating it.  Maybe a squirrel, as I keep finding one not far away.

Moss rose:


 
Posts: 181
Location: On the plateau in TN
10
books food preservation urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Anne Miller wrote:I have let the spurge go this summer.  I am sure it helps shade the soil though I am sure that it is dropping hundreds of seeds.

With temps of 115, it is about all I can do to keep the plants watered.  I lost one echinacea  most likely due to poor soil and being eaten by a deer.

SPURGE:









Another name for Spurge, Carpet Weed?
 
Michael Moreken
Posts: 181
Location: On the plateau in TN
10
books food preservation urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have creeping charlie in yard.  Goose grass, too makes great compost material when pulled up.   Some weed that has tiny multiple red flowers that is flowering now in Oct in TN that is easy to pull up.  Another prolific weed is Indian mock strawberry.  Another I call henbit that has clover like leaves and yellow flowers.  Young henbit has a purple look to the early leaves.  Have at least two more weeds I have not ID'd yet.  Lawn have a lot of broad leaf plantain too.   Attached is an unknown young prolific weed by me.  That white material I think is some sort of fungus.
weed-unknown.jpg
[Thumbnail for weed-unknown.jpg]
same-weed-at-top-what-I-call-henbit.jpg
[Thumbnail for same-weed-at-top-what-I-call-henbit.jpg]
 
Joylynn Hardesty
gardener
Posts: 1244
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
370
bee books food preservation forest garden cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Michael Moreken wrote:

Another name for Spurge, Carpet Weed?



While I do use spurge for living mulch, the plant I was refering to as carpet weed is the one pictures below.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
gardener
Posts: 1244
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
370
bee books food preservation forest garden cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Michael Moreken wrote:Another I call henbit that has clover like leaves and yellow flowers.  Young henbit has a purple look to the early leaves.



This is what my edible reference books call henbit, and her messy cousin deadnettle. Henbit has an upright growth habit, deadnettle lays on the ground, rooting at the nodes.

picture from http://foragedfoodie.blogspot.com/2017/02/identify-deadnettle-and-henbit.html


If you get adventurous in your eating, I recommend only eating the top 3" or so of either of these plants, and serve them in a spicy recipe. Otherwise they have a musty taste.
 
Anne Miller
garden master
Posts: 2197
Location: USDA Zone 8a
464
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting cooking purity trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What I call spurge is in the Euphorbiaceae, the spurge family, a large family of flowering plants.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphorbiaceae

I think mine is called Spotted spurge, Chamaesyce maculata:

https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=CHMA15



There is one in this family called Fendler's Carpetweed, Chamaesyce fendleri  https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=CHFE3





It is in a different family from the Carpetweed, Mollugo verticillata, that Joylynn is referring to:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mollugo_verticillata




I hope this clears up the confusion.  Plant ID's are difficult sometimes because of the similar names of plants in different families.


 
Michael Moreken
Posts: 181
Location: On the plateau in TN
10
books food preservation urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Plant ID's are difficult sometimes because of the similar names of plants in different families.   Yes, I concur.  I no longer see the prostrate dead nettle with pink flowers from about 2 months ago.  What you are calling dead nettle seems to have a lot more reddish than I remember.

Nice, you ID'd green carpet weed (Mollugo verticillata) for me, one I see flowering now in Oct in TN.

Rats think I pulled out most my 'other carpet weed'.  So no photo... :(

I was about to retract my yellow flower comment above.  

So have the new easy to pull out upright reddish small flower mystery.  I thought to get a ruler (Then grabbed a seed head from one of my goose grass) for measurement of my 'henbit' wood sorrel and 'unidentified red' easy to pull up.  Took a pick of a champion in parts of my lawn goose grass!
20181008_100850.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20181008_100850.jpg]
red flower with creeping charley as the back drop
20181008_101356.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20181008_101356.jpg]
See the small well camflouged bug on goose grass!
20181008_101210.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20181008_101210.jpg]
 
Posts: 131
9
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I dropped so many chichorum endivia seeds from just 3 parent plants that my garden, paving and lawn are now covered in this nutritious vegetable. The only weeds that manage to grow among it are dandelion and chickweed. Dandelion's an amazing aphid attractant, keeping aphids off my eating plants.

It's spring here and it breaks my heart to chop it all down to make room for summer plants like tomatoes. I have mounds of endive now for a regular mulch, and the main stems is hollow which I now put up the on fences and walls as habitat for ladybugs and native solitary bees.

I could just leave it instead of course; the tall dead stalks would provide habitat for beneficial insects. I leave the roots in the soil either way in the hope it'll loosen my dense clay soil.
 
There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those that understand binary get this tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!