Magnus Fundal

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since Dec 02, 2014
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Recent posts by Magnus Fundal

Sally Munoz wrote:I found this post while researching using moss as mulch.
How did it work out for you?


Not well, unfortunately. Based on my own experience, it doesn't deter slugs at all, and I had a lot of those in that garden. The result, of course, was that the soil was protected and kept moist, but the plants growing there were eaten. I made a blog post about it here.
The garden was in the middle of a wilderness patch that I borrowed off my university. It had dry and sandy soil, so it really needed mulch. It had lots of slugs, so I couldn't really use mulch. A very annoying paradox.
I've moved back to my old garden, which is much more satisfying.

If you don't have any problems with slugs, I imagine moss is great. It was still alive (albeit dying out) at the time, so I think it will keep longer than most mulches. But it won't keep slugs away.
3 years ago
Short version: Did any of you try moss as a mulch? Did you get slugs? What about woodlice?

I read this very excited article (In Danish) about using moss as a mulch to inhibit slugs. Slugs have been quite a problem in my experimental amateur garden, and ironically, so has drought, so it seemed a nice solution, or at least a nice try.

The original article killed the moss in a grass lawn with iron vitriol, then added it in a generous amount to a garden bed. I try not to use chemical poisons, so I have just been ripping it from the grass, then adding it on a newly loosened bed with compost. I have some good 10 cm of moss, maybe more.

So far it has been a mixed success. It keeps the moisture nicely, but it also keeps the cold, so I think I was a bit too fast putting it on the beds; I could have waited until it warmed a bit. I have seen no hint of the fava beans I sowed, underneath it, and I would have expected them to show up by now.
On a more serious note, several of the pole beans I planted the other day have been gnawed over, seemingly by woodlice (isopods). No slugs (so far), but still something eating my plants. 😠

Has any of you had problems with woodlice?
My soil is notably poor, so the earthworm population is fairly low in most of the beds. I have seen woodlice in my father's greenhouse and in a kitchen "worm" compost, so it seems like they and worms fill out a similar niche.
4 years ago
Yes, I saw it. It was my main inspiration for collecting coffee grounds.
I don't drink coffee myself, but he's not the only one who's been recommending them.

His take is that coffee grounds go well with leaves, because they are "hot". So he's making it sound like hot compost is what we want.

I've also read that coffee grounds doesn't release nitrogen immediately, though. That if you mix them into the soil, they actually trap nitrogen for a while when they start decomposing.
5 years ago

Ken Peavey wrote:I have no references or sources to offer other than my back field and years of personal observation to support my conclusion that compost is different from leaf mold.


Don't mind if I make my own observations, then. Problem is, it's going to take a while.
I've been collecting leaves galore this autumn. I'm leaving them in big piles in the not-yet-cultivated parts of the garden, I'm using them as mulch, and I've made a compost pile out of leaves mixed with coffee grounds, urine and kitchen waste. It's nice and warm near the middle.
I could be using a different material for the compost, but I have lots and lots of leaves and very little else.

What should I do with the nitrogen I'm not adding to the leaves? Would you recommend adding nitrogen to the soil along with the leaf mould?

Ken Peavey wrote:
Can you send me a copy of your thesis when completed?


I'm afraid that for now, "thesis" is only a figure of speech. I won't be writing my master's thesis for another year and a half.
If I do manage to make it a thesis on compost/leaf mould/humus/whatnot, I'll let you know.
5 years ago

Ken Peavey wrote:
Adding Greens
This does not speed up the process, it CHANGES the process. Instead of leaf mold, you will have compost. There is some cellulose in the leaves which will compost, but you are creating conditions to promote the bacteria. The fungi will break it down if you let it, and will produce more humus out of the same amount of cellulose than the bacteria will. If you want to make compost, go ahead, but it will be compost, not leaf mold.
Just leaves, nothing else.


I would really love to have a look at your references on this. The statement makes sense, but this is the only place I've encountered it so far, and "some permaculture forum" doesn't sound too good in the master's thesis.
Plus, I want to read more about how and why.

From what I've read, lignin is notoriously hard to break down, and it generally occurs through fungal decay. I read a remark in an article in "Nature" (I believe) that coal formation mostly occured in the carboniferous period because lignin-decaying fungi hadn't evolved yet.
Wikipedia suggests some bacteria can break down lignin as well, though. It's sounds plausible that we encourage these bacteria by adding nitrogen to the leaves, but please, show me your sources on this.
5 years ago