Hey Mekka, I just watched those videos of Emilia Hazelip, and she is pulling back the mulch and planting seedlings in the ground, not in the straw. I'm sure those lettuces were going right into the soil in the third video, but maybe I missed something earlier.
I am really trying to figure this out because I have been frustrated with my no till beds.
Last year, I made no-till beds, using cardboard, wood chips, manure, and straw. I did a final thin layer of compost over all. When planting my starts, I pulled back the straw to make a coffee can sized hole, filled the hole with compost, and planted in that (as my PDC instructor had described). I used drip irrigation, and overall, things worked well. The compost was moist, even the straw was moist.
This year, I (perhaps mistakenly) thought I needed to repeat some of those layers again. So I added more manure (llama, so it is not so "hot"), and another layer of straw. I did not add a thin layer of compost, but did plant the starts in a pocket of compost as before. What is happening is that the drip irrigation is not even getting the entire pocket of compost wet, let alone the straw around it. Things are not growing as well, and my watering seems very uneven. Lots of dry areas, even very close to the plants. I did switch several garden areas to 1/4" soaker hose, thinking my drippers were clogged, but no improvement in soil soakage. I think I did use different straw this year, I believe it is rice straw, and it does have a different texture. So maybe that explains the dry straw, at least. Also, I did not top off the whole bed with a thin layer of compost.
Now I am thinking that I really need to just pull the mulch back and plant down in the dirt, so the water will soak the soil more evenly. But I do have lots of questions,if anyone has answers or ideas for me.
Should I just keep adding manure every year (pref. in Fall) until it looks like healthy soil?
Does anyone have preferences in straw type for the no-till beds? My husband likes the rice straw for his archery targets, and he gives it to me when the bales start to compost from the rains.
What watering systems do others use in their no-till beds? I have dry summers here in N. Calif. I can overhead water, and may resort to that this week, but don't want to do that next year.
Why is the water not soaking outward into the coffee-can sized lump of compost???
Mekka or anyone, where can I find the pdf from Emilia Hazelip online? Her gardens look great! I really enjoyed the videos.