Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Notices

A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old June 12, 2013   #1
zeroma
Tomatovillian™
 
zeroma's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 637
Default Adding 'found' organic material results

I've been collecting all sorts of leaves, pine cones, etc and lately the toad stools that seem to be popping up all over the place to add to my no till garden experiment.

Have any of you added them before?

zeroma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 14, 2013   #2
simmran1
Tomatovillian™
 
simmran1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Iowa Zone 5
Posts: 266
Default

Zeroma,

Hoping all sorts of leaves do not include walnut tree leaves (or hedge) as these will inhibit plant growth. Pine cones are pretty acid and for my own garden I don't consider them as useful.
For your composter, if you add and equal (approx.) amount of leaves and grass clippings from untreated lawns you should have some fine stuff for soil amendment.
__________________
Tomatovillain
simmran1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 14, 2013   #3
greentiger87
Tomatovillian™
 
greentiger87's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Houston, TX - 9a
Posts: 211
Default

I wouldn't use the pine cones either, unless you completely break them up.

I think one of the coolest things is burying logs horizontally (hugelkultur) or smaller branches vertically, especially those that decay fast. The vertical branches provide routes for water, air, earthworms, and everything else to travel up and down within the soil. It can take a lot of work though. Which is which prefer for these routes to just grow in place, so I don't have to dig (ie, clay-busting cover crops).
greentiger87 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 14, 2013   #4
zeroma
Tomatovillian™
 
zeroma's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 637
Default

Thanks for the replies. I do try to break the pine cones up. And my soil needs acid! The soil here in Ohio is limestone based clay and usually runs on the base side. "Hugelkultur" YouTubes are interesting to watch, but look too 'messy' for me, since this no till garden area is my front yard. I have no grass, so no grass clippings and all of my neighbor's/friends use chemicals on their lawns.
zeroma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 17, 2013   #5
Redbaron
Tomatovillian™
 
Redbaron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 4,478
Default

There is always the leaves in fall and growing your own "green manure" between crops. Things like annual clovers alfalfa etc. They do double duty. You can clip them for the clippings used for mulch and they fix nitrogen too. Just a thought.
__________________
Scott

AKA The Redbaron

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture
Redbaron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26, 2013   #6
zeroma
Tomatovillian™
 
zeroma's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 637
Default

Thanks Scott. annual clovers sound interesting as a 'ground cover/green manure'. Is it just like the sort you see growing in residentuals lawns? And how tall is alfalfa?
zeroma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26, 2013   #7
Redbaron
Tomatovillian™
 
Redbaron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 4,478
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeroma View Post
Thanks Scott. annual clovers sound interesting as a 'ground cover/green manure'. Is it just like the sort you see growing in residentuals lawns? And how tall is alfalfa?
There are over 300 species of clover Zeroma! Perennial, annual, tall, short, native, introduced. It is impossible to name them all or even come close to answering your questions!

But here is a place to start.

Crimson clover cover crop
__________________
Scott

AKA The Redbaron

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture
Redbaron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1, 2013   #8
dice
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: PNW
Posts: 4,750
Default

You can look up descriptions of a lot of cover crops,
including various clovers, here:
http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/database/covercrops

The stuff that one typically finds in lawns is some kind of white
clover:
http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/database/covercrops

Clovers do come in all heights, though:
http://www.beetberry.com/BeetberryIm...verCropRay.jpg
__________________
--
alias
dice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1, 2013   #9
zeroma
Tomatovillian™
 
zeroma's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 637
Default

Thanks for the posts. One of the main garden leaders said the oats is the usual cover crop in this part of Ohio, so that will likely be what we use. I still need to discuss it with the garden group. Area has been too wet to use Round Up and I'm hoping it won't have to be used.

: )
zeroma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 2, 2013   #10
simmran1
Tomatovillian™
 
simmran1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Iowa Zone 5
Posts: 266
Default

Z,

I don't see where your, 'how tall does alfalfa get' question was answered. For me between 24" and 32" tall. My alfalfa seed source from Skyfire, Kanopolis KS, which is a packet for non-farming operations like small gardens. I've also grown annual rye many times, and it is great for erosion control, but of course does not add N.
__________________
Tomatovillain
simmran1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 2, 2013   #11
Redbaron
Tomatovillian™
 
Redbaron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 4,478
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmran1 View Post
Z,

I don't see where your, 'how tall does alfalfa get' question was answered. For me between 24" and 32" tall. My alfalfa seed source from Skyfire, Kanopolis KS, which is a packet for non-farming operations like small gardens. I've also grown annual rye many times, and it is great for erosion control, but of course does not add N.
It is important to note that while it is true that non-legumes usually don't "add" (fix) nitrogen, they do contain nitrogen and effectively "add" nitrogen a different way, (by scavenging nitrogen and locking it up to be released later as it decomposes)

So yes, they don't "add" nitrogen. But they do "hold" nitrogen and prevent it from leaching away. Further, there are free living nitrogen fixing bacteria that can be quite high in healthy soil. Turns out that material with a high carbon to nitrogen ratio tend to keep these free living nitrogen fixing bacteria fed, and healthy soil will tend to try and reach that 10-1 ratio even if it started much higher. There can be a delay, since the nitrogen is not available to the crops until the bacteria dies, and it won't die until the high carbon material is decomposed to the point it isn't usable as a food source for them anymore. But if you keep the cycle going and use blends of both high and low ratio crops and materials, in the end it will reach a balance that is ideal for you plants.

There is just so many subtle interdependencies going on that it is really hard to explain. But you can see it when it happens.
__________________
Scott

AKA The Redbaron

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture
Redbaron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22, 2013   #12
zeroma
Tomatovillian™
 
zeroma's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 637
Default

thanks again Redbaron and all others.
zeroma is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:27 PM.


★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2017 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★