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Seeding into mulch

Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
I've been reading past posts trying to find an answer to my dilemma and I feel I may have come to a dead end. I am in a very dry area and need to cover the ground that I have prepared in my yard. I have been buying (about 35 bags now) organic compost to cover the dirt and thanks to our horrible weather; the wind has blown nearly all of it away. Last year my trees were beginning to die, so I placed wood chips -both store bought and those from the city- around the base of the trees and they thrived. I have thus learned a valuable lesson in keeping the soil covered here. What can I use this year to cover my garden areas until I have enough organic matter from my compost bin and chop-n'-drop collections? I almost bought some cypress mulch today, but was warned against planting seeds directly into it.

Some things to keep in mind:
1. There is no local source for organic hay or straw :0(
2. If I do wood chips it would need to be purchased at Lowe's or Home Depot (only local stores)
3. The wind ranges from 15-50 mph every day (more in storms)
4. My vegetable and fruits ( >60 varieties) will be directly seeded into these areas
5. No lawn clippings as it's all bermuda grass here
6. All the leaves in the city are gone (they blow away during the winter)

I appreciate any and all help!!!
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
You might want to look into making buried wood beds if you have a source of sticks and logs. I had very good success with buried wood beds in the drought. I know this doesn't solve your mulch problem but it might help your dryness problem. You might also want to make berms and basins to help collect rainwater in the land; the berms can help protect the basins from the wind somewhat. Where it's dry and windy like that, I think earthshaping for rainwater harvesting is very important. I lost a lot of trees in the drought because I had them planted in a flat exposed location. I won't be planting more trees without making some kind of rain harvesting earthwork or buried wood bed.


http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/


Idle dreamer

Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
do you not have windbreaks? there are a lot of useful shrubs and small trees that will slow that wind down and provide say food or medicine for you as well.

do weeds grow?


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2092
Location: FL
    
  49
Perhaps a mechanical method of holding down lightweight material would work for you. Chicken wire would do a fine job, but some plants are too big for the holes. There is wire fence of larger gauge, but the price can be considerable. Just running string back and forth would form a net. Take a look at vegetable cover cloth, aka row cover. It's lightweight, like a feather, so strapping it down will be crucial or it'll be gone with the wind.

There is black plastic sheeting on the market that may be the solution. Hold down the sides with dirt/rocks/lumber/stakes. Drip irrigation can be installed under the sheeting. To plant, cut holes. It's not exactly a permaculture solution, but it would give you a chance to improve the soil and get some things planted. Over time the soil quality may improve to the point that you no longer need the sheeting.

Cloches or a greenhouse would protect the plants and soil from the elements.



Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
http://farmwhisperer.com
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
Sadly no, I do not have windbreaks. I am on a busy 7 lane road, so we get the brunt of the wind. I will be planting quinoa along the front, but that will be a while until it gets high enough and it will only be a short term (seasonal) fix. I have bushes planted, but I'm thinking it will be about 3 years before they are large enough to do any good.

Weeds do grow, though I don't know the type that we have in the yard. The front is a mixture of bermuda grass and low yellow and purple flowering weeds. They die off during the summer and I have chamomile and clover to plant over them if I don't get the energy to dig up the entire front yard.

Hmm, I just tried to put some pictures on here, but it didn't work. We are a corner lot on a busy street and there is really no way to buffer the wind. I have to find a way to deal with it for the time being until my plants get to full size. I have a feeling even then it will be an issue as even the fully fenced in back yard gets so much wind that the compost has blown off there as well. The only thing I've gotten to stay in the front yard are the wood chips we have in black plastic edged areas, though they need to be placed about 2-3" thick to do the trick.

Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
Tyler,
I have a small hugelkulture bed that I did in the back yard with branches and trunks of trees that we found at the city organic matter dump site. I would love to do earthworks in the front yard. We only have 15' on one side of the sidewalk and 20' on the other side to work with. I think we could make a small berm, but I don't think I have the strength to dig that deep. You're right though it would take care of enough wind to perhaps let the compost stay on the ground and we would only have to deal with what would get through from the sidewalk areas. I heard Paul's podcast on berms and wanted to do one.

Ken,
I think that chicken wire would be in my price range to do, but the compost I have been buying is too fine. I'll have to buy a thicker material to get it to stay under it, but I'm not sure which to buy that won't kill my seed investment. I wish I had the money to put up a nice fence around the yard that would also work for vertical gardening. We're a bit concerned about our neighbors stealing our food once it gets growing. That or just vandalizing it.

I was hoping that there would be something better we could put down on the dirt areas, but it sounds like I'm going to have to get more inventive and dig into the savings a bit. Sadly non of this would be a problem if the city would allow plantings in rock areas between our main street and the access road. We could plant Junipers or Oleander to make a nice windbreak. I thought about gorilla planting there the other day then I saw them using roundup on the weeds. They'd just kill it all, sigh.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
A possibility if the budget allows it might be to have soil or rocks brought in to form a berm.
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
We were lucky this year and found two truck loads of good soil on some demolition jobs my husband helped with. Maybe we'll get lucky again. Thanks for the suggestions!
Alex Ames


Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 351
    
    1
If the question is seeding into mulch. Simply pull the mulch back and plant and when the seedlings come up pull the
mulch back. Bill Mollison says to pull the mulch back and "put down a line of sand" then plant into that and cover with
a board for 2 or 3 days until seeds germinate.

Your wind situation is such that you need a solution for that and that is another topic all together.

Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
I wonder if the sand is to balance mulch acidity?? Either way if I can get that cypress mulch and leave it away from where I plant my seed the ground will retain its moisture well for the year. I'm not sure the reason, but I've read to make sure you don't mix the mulch into the soil, so that may be why it's needed to pull it back when planting. I'll give it a go on my larger beds and see how it works out. Thanks so much!!
Alex Ames


Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 351
    
    1
Lori Evans wrote:I wonder if the sand is to balance mulch acidity?? Either way if I can get that cypress mulch and leave it away from where I plant my seed the ground will retain its moisture well for the year. I'm not sure the reason, but I've read to make sure you don't mix the mulch into the soil, so that may be why it's needed to pull it back when planting. I'll give it a go on my larger beds and see how it works out. Thanks so much!!


The reason you pull the mulch back is to prepare a seed bed to plant in. Seed put on top of the mulch might make its way down
to the soil but that would be the exception rather than the rule. I think Mollison's suggestion about using "a line of sand" is just more
of the same. You are trying to maximize the germination rate. He covers it with a board for the same reason.
Saybian Morgan
volunteer

Joined: Apr 22, 2011
Posts: 580
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
    
    8
Not that putting a board conflicts with what bill mollison suggest but where is that stated? I know he's told the story of seeding pee's directly into mulch and raking it about at the protest of another gardener; and I know he talks about covering carrots with a burlap sack and watering the sack for 3 days then pulling off. I'm more asking cuzz I don't like missing anything Bill Mollison has said.
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
Are these statements in his book? I don't remember them from any of his videos.
Alex Ames


Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 351
    
    1
Lori Evans wrote:Are these statements in his book? I don't remember them from any of his videos.


It came from my memory bank and that is sometimes sketchy. I didn't make it up however, I am quoting from
a document "Sheet Mulching for Home Gardens" which says it is "Mostly borrowed from Permaculture Two by
Bill Mollison". I have no idea who said what in this document considering the word Mostly was used.

The quote is: "If you must sow small seed then do it this way: Pull back the mulch in a row; lay down a line of sand,
and sow small seeds of radish, carrot, etc. Cover with a narrow board for a few days, until seeds have sprouted
(or sprout them first on damp paper).Then remove the board and draw mulch up as the tops grow."
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
There's a lot of detail about planting in the Desert Strategies Chapter 11 of "Permaculture: a designer's manual" by Bill Mollison. He writes about covering seeds with hessian (burlap).
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
I just read that article. I bought the Dave Jacke Forest Garden book and have been reading volume 1 over the winter, I just got into volume 2. I think I should have purchased Bill's book instead. I did something pretty close to this for my small hugelkulture bed in the backyard as the only area I could use was covered with bermuda grass. I still have a few questions on logistics, but I think I'll do a sheet mulch section for an area I haven't yet dug up in the front yard. Putting the heavy mulch and my unfinished compost on top will keep the cardboard down in the front yard and save me hours digging out all the weeds and grass.

I saw in one of his videos where he took a newspaper placed a potato in it and covered it with straw to grow. I guess from seeing that I and other videos that everyone just used straw and wood chips were frowned upon. I bought three packages of comfrey and I have chamomile and white dutch clover to seed the sections I will use as paths or as future vegetable beds. This should do good for the border. Since the type of mulch listed in the article is mixed I'll just go to the city dump and grab their chippings for free rather than purchase mulch from a big box store. I'll take the purchased compost I have left and just use it to mix into the soil. I haven't found any worms in the front yard, just grubs. Perhaps I'll transplant some of my worms I bought for the compost out front in certain locations near trees and shrubs. This should give them a chance to take over the front yard.

I'll have to wait until summer as I don't have much time to read extra while in classes, but I'm going to purchase the Bill Mollison books. Sounds like there is a lot of hands on information in there that I can use. Thank you so much for posting that article. What a great help!
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
As you improve the soil, native worms will come from all around to be in your lovely soil. Buried wood beds especially seem to attract them.

Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 990
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    5
i kinda have the same problem that you have here
my strawberry beds will lose all their mulch within a week (woodchips) so what i did with them is take branches and twigs and stuck them into the ground and mulched around them, the little "stakes" help hold the mulch in place for that

as far as direct seeding, i direct seeded in my greenhouse(as in scattered seeds on the soil) and then covered with lawn clippings that i used to mulch the year before and then i put wood chips over this and the plants are begginning to germinate and work their way through the mulch, working fine for me

for keeping it all in place, have some really large wood chips and large sticks mixed in with small wood chips and medium, particles, etc. and the large pieces should help hold it in place fairly well, if you don't feel like removing them ulch to place seedlings on the ground, make some fukuoka seed balls perhaps?


Current Cheyenne, WY project
"Do you Hugel?" T-shirts and other products
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
Devon,
What kind of trees are in your wood chips? The mixture here seems to be pine/juniper bushes, locust, birch, cedar, and mulberry. I will be getting these from the city piles where they do all their collections. I hope so many different types will be good for the soil. I got a lot during the winter and placed them under our picnic table area where it was all dirt. There are a lot of big pieces that I could use for stakes, thank you. The only down side of getting my things there is that I have to sift through for some garbage that they have chipped. However, being on such a busy road in a dirty city I am constantly picking garbage out of my front yard anyway.

I did have an issue last night with the birds digging in and eating some of my lettuce and pea seeds. I have to go tonight when I get home from class and get some clay from a dump site. I looked up all my ingredients and such. The seed balls are looking like a must right now with all the birds in our yard. But this is all good experience. This yard is my testing ground for the next several years until we purchase a large amount of land. I might as well just use several different techniques and see what works best. I have several bare (all grass) patches to experiment on.

Thank you all!
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Laying twiggy branches on the ground can help keep birds from eating the seeds, this will also help hold down the mulch.

Bill Sullivan


Joined: Mar 05, 2012
Posts: 18
Location: New York State about 25 miles south of Syracuse.
Don't fight mother nature because you will always lose in the long run. Some places just aren't made for planting. I'm going to give you the best suggestion yet. Look for a nice location away from the 7 lane freeway where it is quiet and peaceful and has a good location for growing. Usually that would be in a valley as the soil and mulch you lost will be there waiting for you. Life is too short to battle natural disasters.
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
Sorry, but we are an urban lot less than 1/4 acre in the middle of the city. There is no other area.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Not everyone has the luxury of moving to a nice location. Many people need to learn how to garden in less than optimum locations. Seems like permaculture (and permaculturists) could help with that!

Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I wonder if a temporary short windbreak could be made from bales of straw or hay.
Bill Sullivan


Joined: Mar 05, 2012
Posts: 18
Location: New York State about 25 miles south of Syracuse.
Tyler Ludens wrote:Not everyone has the luxury of moving to a nice location. Many people need to learn how to garden in less than optimum locations. Seems like permaculture (and permaculturists) could help with that! I guess if your doing it for fun that is fine.

Daniel Morse


Joined: Feb 13, 2012
Posts: 215
Location: SW Michigan
    
    3
have you thought of creative walls or more solid fencing. Your area has adobe walls and such. Its a cheep enough material. I had to do solid fencing when I lived in the desert. Always windy and dry hot.. I would think that would help a lot. Its a traditional method from the far east and parts of Africa to look into.


I have never met a stranger, I have met some strange ones.
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
When I lived in Arizona everything was solid walls. Either from adobe or more commonly from cement blocks. Here though it is all wood, which rots easily in the climate and gets knocked over all the time by the wind. (I seriously think they have no common sense here at all). I checked the ordinances and you can put a 3' fence in the front yard. We bought one section of fence (two rail old farm style) for $50. I am planting my Hardy Kiwi on it to be a wind block from the direct West. I bought 3 blackberry bushes that are going in between the road and the sidewalk (just in case they decide to spread out they only have so far they can go). This will block the other corner section from the South winds. On the other South side I have Hawthorns and bush cherry planted, though they will take a few years to grow. So, by the end of the summer we should have a small section that is blocking a lot of the wind.

I began putting my compost into the soil and mixing rather than just leaving it on top for the wind to blow away. Next week when I am not so busy I am going to the city dump for the wood chips as they have no problem staying in the front yard, though I am still nervous about the wood chips killing my seed. I am going to do the sand circles bit and the seed balls while crossing my fingers that they grow. I'll post some pictures later, but it may be after the second week of May as it is getting very hectic right now with the plantings and my class schedule.

Thank you everyone for all your abundant help and input!!
Nicholas Mason


Joined: Dec 05, 2011
Posts: 83
Location: Colton, Or
    
    1
Why dont you try a living mulch. put in some clover or something. Do a living mulch. That why you dont have to buy fencing or anything the roots will hold it down and it will still help improve your soil. You could also do something easy with the wind if you just need to get thing to germinate, just build a small wall in some of the planting areas to help get a foot hold on the area. some rocks or a couple 2x4s should be enough to protect a small area until the cover crop can get established, and then it can grow from there.


Please check me out. http://www.dandeliondreamspermaculture.com
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
I'm doing chamomile and clover in areas where we have grass and weeds that die out during the summer. These will be my walking paths. The walls are not feasible as they get to be expensive. It's not just one section, it's many. I have a section in the backyard along the fence where I placed bricks stacked two high as a boarder for plantings. The bricks were free as we took all that we found from a dump site and cleaned up the mortar from the edges. This kept about 1/3 the compost in the area. As you see it would have to be pretty high walls to do a substantial job and that is more money than we have.

The idea is dirt cheap or free. Right now it has to be free as I spent more than budgeted for the yard. It's a waiting game now for hedges to grow and provide a wind buffer. I have to work with the wind blowing on the yard and need to find the best way to keep my ground covered while letting seeds grow and take hold. Most everything I have for planting will be perennial, with the exception of some annual vegetable crops. Once these plants are established and growing the ground will be covered and evaporation will be neutralized/minimized which is the goal.

The wind is blowing all my compost away and most likely will be an issue with chop and drop mulch until the hedges grow up. I'm not trying to block the wind from ever touching the property, that's going to be impossible. I'll minimize it's effect over time. My main concern is getting something now on the ground that will stop my soil from drying out and not kill anything I plant into that section. We have a 6' tall fence in the backyard and it doesn't stop the wind. It's a losing battle. I'm looking to have wood chips which have been proven to stay in place in the front yard, or something like them and to do it in such a way or in such a combination that it will not kill my seeds.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I've not had any success with chamomile. I hope you'll let me know how yours does and what is your secret. There is some native clover that grows here mostly in moist periods.

Morgan Morrigan


Joined: Oct 16, 2011
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
old Arizona trick, buy bags of mulch, cut the bottoms open. Slice down center of bag, plant in the slit.

as the acid breaks down the alkali soil, it will soften it, while holding moisture and your mulch.

think it is in the rainwater harvesting book from Tucson.


Get involved -Take away the standing of corporations MovetoAmmend.org
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
I think we have that book. I'll have to look in it. It must be a burlap bag? Thanks for the tip, sounds like I have some more reading to do tonight :0)
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
i gave up using a compost bin a long time ago..and now i sheet compost..

a lot of people think it is ugly, who cares, it works..

i put all my compostables..right on the garden..you do have to put the heavier stuff over the lighter stuff that might blow away, but it really really really works well..

I don't care what it is if it is organic it goes on the garden on TOP of the soil sheet style..

I just throw it on..

sometimes i use cardboard, flat..but you can shred it if you want..if i use it flat i put stuff on top of it..to cover it completely.

I shred all my junk mail..yes all..

i throw out bark, wood chips, sawdust, branches, leaves, kitchen scraps, and even my husand's coffee filters..yeah they are ugly, throw a weed over them if you don't like it.

i throw my weeds on it..but if they are noxious like quackgrass I don't toss them in the mess as they can reroot.

if it is nasty old food, sure, dig a hole and put it in rather than toss on top of the ground..holes are fine..but mostly it is just easy to sheet compost..and it works


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
I found 3 mice in my compost bin this weekend. I guess that's what happens when you run out of enough brown material. Since I am a newbie, let me ask this question. I don't mind if pepper plants or tomatoes start growing where I throw out the remains, but I'm concerned if all the composting material will rot the seeds as well? I should only have to worry about this for a little bit until things get established.

If my seeds are fine in it then I'm game. My soil can use all the help possible. Then my bins could be used to hold leaves and such for future projects. Thank you for the tips, Brenda!
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 990
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    5
Lori Evans wrote:Devon,
What kind of trees are in your wood chips? The mixture here seems to be pine/juniper bushes, locust, birch, cedar, and mulberry. I will be getting these from the city piles where they do all their collections. I hope so many different types will be good for the soil. I got a lot during the winter and placed them under our picnic table area where it was all dirt. There are a lot of big pieces that I could use for stakes, thank you. The only down side of getting my things there is that I have to sift through for some garbage that they have chipped. However, being on such a busy road in a dirty city I am constantly picking garbage out of my front yard anyway.

I did have an issue last night with the birds digging in and eating some of my lettuce and pea seeds. I have to go tonight when I get home from class and get some clay from a dump site. I looked up all my ingredients and such. The seed balls are looking like a must right now with all the birds in our yard. But this is all good experience. This yard is my testing ground for the next several years until we purchase a large amount of land. I might as well just use several different techniques and see what works best. I have several bare (all grass) patches to experiment on.

Thank you all!


i have cottonwood bark/shreddings mixed together for my cornfield mulch, for my greenhouse mulch there were some small logs sitting near my fenceline that were rotten to the point that i could break them apart with my hands and a shovel(also really spongy) and i broke these apart and threw them on the greenhouse bed, and for my strawberry bed, there is a mix of wood chips that were laying on a plastic sheet out back for a few years(no idea what kind they are) that plus some cottonwood and mostly sticks, twigs and branches picked up passsively from the lawn and added to the bed...

as for it being a testing ground... GOOD, the learning that comes from trial and error in the garden is part of the wonderful experience that brings one to know and love his/her soil
good luck on your testing
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
Some updates on my endeavors:

1) For the bed I have by the road I loosened the soil, laid down a layer of kitchen scraps on top of the soil and placed city-shredded wood chips about 2-3" thick on top. After this I dug small holes and placed my seeds. This bed is mostly medicinals and beneficial insect flowers. I watered last night and noticed that my sunflowers are coming up as are a few of the comfreys. I think the other seeds will need a bit more time, but it looks very promising.

2) A backyard area where I loosened the soil, put down my organic store-bought compost (parts of it blown away), and put wood chips on top of this about 2" deep has a few seeds coming up, but not many. I'll see how many come up in the next few weeks, but this area is scaring me as the carrots, kale, cabbage, etc. has not come up. The peas seem to be able to grow in any circumstances and are coming up no matter how I prepared the beds.

3) My hugelkulture bed: I placed two layers of cardboard over bermuda grass, put down 3 rows of firewood (my husband never noticed it missing hehe) and placed kindling and stick on top of that. Then I put leaves and dirt from a free dump site on top of this. I then put a mixture of store-bought organic compost and wood chips (very thin) on top. Nothing is growing. I've seeded two different batches in of various early-sow vegetables and nothing. I hope that dirt didn't have persistent herbicides in it. I'm going to put my spaghetti squash seeds that have sprouted indoors into it next week. If they die, then I know I made a bad mistake and the bed will have to be removed when I have time over the summer.

4) Front yard has a few sections where I did the same with loosening the dirt, organic compost, but my chips there are about 4-5" deep (right on the road) to prevent the wind from blowing it away. I have blackberry bushes planted there and they seem to be doing well, but the elephant grass I planted on the corner as a windbreak has no sign of sprouting. Maybe this needs more time. I did get those seeds from a stroll in the local botanical gardens-who knows how good they are. I have two weeks and I am planting my quinoa and amaranth in the same location, so I will pull back a bit of the mulch in the directly seeded areas to give them a better chance of breaking through all the thickness there.

The soil under the wood chips is looking pretty good and is drying out on the second day which is much better than before. Usually it would dry out in a matter of hours. Last frost date for me is 4/30 so I will be sowing about 30 or more varieties then. I'll do another posting in mid to late may to see how the rest of it goes. I am also going to be doing a sheet mulch bed out front ( I've been saving the neighbor's newspapers) for one of these May plantings and hopefully that will go well!
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
I strongly suggest that you plant Jerusalem artichokes on the wind side of your garden, not only will they make a permanent windbreak but they also will provide privacy and food and be a nurse crop for any trees and shrubs you would like to put in for a windbreak in the future..I started out with 3 tubers and can dig between 50 and 100 tubers from one plant now.

they quickly grow to about 8 to 10 feet tall and have stout stems that can withstand wind, they may not make a windbreak the first year, but by the second year you should have an impenetrable windbreak, I'd put them maybe 3' apart or so for a windbreak, or possibly closer but you will have a lot to move around by the second year
Lori Evans


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
Brenda, thank you for the reply. I do want to plant some sunchokes, but I didn't put them in with my last seed order. There area few things I need to reorder and that is definitely one of them. I bought the quinoa as it stated in the catalog that it is very tolerant to wind, drought, and does well in heavy clay soil-which to me sounded like a winner.

I was actually thinking of putting the artichokes in a patch that is on the other side of my husband's shop. The curb gets taken out partially by the garbage truck, but there is a good section there that needs something. Perhaps I'll put some chokes and comfrey in that patch and then save some extra choke seeds for my corner front section where the elephant grass is planted now as I don't think it will end up growing. It's a good space for them as I don't need to worry about them spreading too much as it's between the sidewalk and the road.
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 990
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    5
yeah the sunchokes sounded like a good solution for a fast growing windbreak, especially since it sounds like you are in a dryer area, probably better than the idea im proposing below lol
along the same lines bamboo would work IF you wanted something that required a bit more work to put in, of course buried hugelbeds could provide enough moisture for the bamboo to establish itself, the nice thing about this imo is that the bamboo wouldnt be very likely to spread as much if you're in a dry climate, it would simply take more work to get it established, but it probably wouldn't take over your yard very fast at all if you're in a dry area
 
 
subject: Seeding into mulch
 
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