Eric Markov

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since Jul 12, 2012
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Recent posts by Eric Markov

We trialed digging in fresh Eucalyptus chips into a broccoli bed, found that up to 2" of chips didn't effect the plant growth at all.
However 5" of fresh dug in Euc chips did stunt the plants growth all season.

Have a video report here:  

2 years ago

Our farm received a California Healthy Soils Program grant to trial tilling wood chips into vegetable beds.

We have been quite surprised by how well it works, even with fresh chips and even with fresh Eucalyptus chips.  Only a couple drawbacks.
Also it didn't take using extra fertilizer, however we did spot fertilization, so this helped.  Next year we will investigate how much broadcast
fertilization will be needed to overcome nitrogen tie-up.

The first year results have been video logged here:

2 years ago

For many years I planted a tomato plant next to an oleander. I cut back the oleander to the ground in spring and use the cuttings to mulch the tomato plant. Worked well, I'm still living.
Oleander stems decay quit readily, gone by fall, even in my dry climate.
6 years ago
Visited this farm twice now. It is an impressive operation.

I work(volunteer) almost full time at a CSA farm and we are trying to emulate Paul & Elizabeth's methods, in a similar climate.

What they have done is very innovative in it's practicality.

Like many smaller market farms they rely on growing many different types of vegetables for a CSA direct to consumer retail pricing.
A lot of work, but a method smaller farms can compete with larger mechanized ones while giving people fresher, healthier food.
Their profitability probable exceeds large farms when looking at profit/acre, profit/capital investment. Profit/man hour is probably less though, but this means they employ more labor and employ less machines.

6 years ago

Doesn't help deter racoons, rats, or rabbits. At least not the ones grazing my gardens!
6 years ago

Sheet mulching creates an explosion of worms in the soil. So I've always wanted to do this in the garden bed during the summer while crops are growing.
But whenever I've attempted this before, raccoons would always come and dig it up and mess up the nearby plants.

Here's a method that's so far solved this problem.

Place about a gallon of scraps in a small 4" deep hole. Cover with a little dirt and then wood chip mulch.

Then cover with a 1'x1' piece of chicken wire and secure. Make sure all sides of the chicken wire have sharp points.

This method will allow me to add scraps, even meat and fish scraps, in between growing plants.
8 years ago
Sounds like great soil for growing in without putting in lots of amendments. My comments were targeted for low organic soils.

Just a quick picture about wood chips in the soil.

As an experiment last year I dug in wood chips to a garden bed. At the end of the season I dug it up to look to see what the plant roots were doing.
The roots all congregated in pockets of soil with lots of wood chips (luckily, I didn't mix the chips in very uniformly).
The picture show two soil clumps that were just 4" apart in the ground. The clump with lots of chips had lots of roots. The clump with few chips had no roots.
So if the roots like wood chips, I figure the plants must like them too
8 years ago

Sounds like a great location. Good morning sun which is much better than afternoon sun for growing.

Once those big hugel beds are built you won't be able to till or amend the soil again.
So you should add as much amendments as possible when building.

In my own backyard hugels I was surprised by how much better plants grew in the beds which I dug in wood chips.
If you have the normal California foothills soil of bright red clay, I recommend 1 part soil : 1 part wood chips : 1 part manure&sod.

Whenever I've dug in wood chips it seems like a lot, but then a month later when I stick my hand in the soil to check it out, it seems like only a small fraction is left.
Just dug in 50% chips to some small holes a month ago, and now when redigging it feels like there isn't enough for optimum plant growth.
8 years ago

Thanks, first time I heard about this program.
8 years ago