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Creating Biomass

 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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We live in Western Kentucky - I struggle to find material to create mulches for orchard and want to grow my own. Recently I obtained a pickup load of hedge trimmings from boxwood hedge. its quite thick and resists the chickens scratching better than leaves. I dont want to plant this , anyone with experience growing siberian pea shrub in this region? Any other fast growing biomass generators ?
 
Ben Stallings
Posts: 149
Location: Emporia, KS
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I have a very small property and rely on neighbors' excess biomass (weeds), of which there is always plenty. Even if you are in a rural area, I bet you have neighbors with an excess of weeds, and then there are the roadsides and parks... I have found giant ragweed to be particularly excellent for sheet mulching, and literally nobody wants it to bloom...
http://blueboathome.com/blogs/ben/sheet_mulching_ragweed
so my advice would be to look for ragweed patches and find out who owns them. You can fill a pickup truck with ragweed in no time, and if you harvest it just before it would have bloomed -- July, here in Kansas -- it will not come back the following year, so it's a win-win. Ragweed's close relatives sunchoke and sunflower do not break down as quickly or thoroughly in my experience, so look for the raggedy leaves.

Other invasive weeds that are easy to harvest and make good mulch in my experience include trumpet vine, bindweed/morning glory, and honeysuckle. All of these are easy to recognize from the road once you get a good look at them. Good luck!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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cattails, comfrey, rhubarb leaves, ornamental grasses, burdock leaves,
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Thank You - I am still in the gathering stage for mulches. My neighbor has 2 giant oaks that supply leaves and fallen branches. Certain plants with small woody stems seem to keep even with chickens. All the soft leaf matter breaks down wonderfully and the chicks help it, but it disapears quickly.I am hoping to get to the place where I produce my own close by the trees. Was watching Skeeter cut weeds on video and saw alot of thick stemmed biomass. I will plant comfrey this year and perrenial vegies into orchard. The clovers are moving in. Is pea shrub hardy in this zone - Western Kentucky?
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I have no idea how they'd do in your climate, but fava beans provide food, nitrogen and enormous amounts of woody or green biomass.
 
Ivan Weiss
Posts: 170
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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Hi Wayne. Pea shrub is native to Siberia. So don't worry about hardiness.
 
Dave Miller
Posts: 408
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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We had a landscape plan done for us by a permie landscape designer. She put a few large native deciduous trees (acer macrophyllum) in the design to provide a steady supply of mulch/compost material.

Until the trees get big, I get all my biomass from 1) tree services (just listen for the distant sound of a chipper in your neighborhood), 2) lawn clippings, 3) grass cut with my scythe.
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Thank You all for that info - Fava beans are wonderful , I want to try them here . Hot summers , will plant in fall or late summer. Does honeysuckle reroot from trimmings? Will start comfrey , nettles , and rhubarb this season. After studying Skeeters videos I have just ordered a kama and will be more selective about what I cut and keep.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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another crop to consider in your orchard to create biomass is jerusalem artichokes..they will fill in a space quickly and the tubers will prevent a lot of other weeds from growing
 
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