Donner MacRae wrote:Greetings Travis,
"Loamy soil is really prone to compaction. We do minimal tillage, and that works pretty well."
You strike the best deal you can with Mother Nature - on terms that you're comfortable with. =] In my planning, I'm placing an emphasis on reducing organic matter depletion (one of the downsides of tilling) to minimize the need for offsite-sourced OM inputs in the future. Here's my downside: I'll have to limit the size of my planned production areas to what I can do manually myself without heavy machinery. Trade-offs...
"...our soils tend to be highly erodible."
I wonder if it's a common attribute of very silty soils? The soils in my area frequently have a high susceptibility to sheet and rill erosion by water. (Wind doesn't seem to be as much of a factor there, for whatever reason.) Sheet and rill erosion seems like a problem one can lick - though you might have to 'permaculture-it-up', hah. (Much depends upon the slopes present within your farming areas, of course.)
Donner MacRae wrote:
I have to admit to an inadequate understanding of soil building programs/timelines. The mulching you're talking about is accomplished through chopping and dropping cover crops, right?
Donner MacRae wrote:
how fast do wood chips break down into usable soil?
Donner MacRae wrote:
Does this tend to move the soil pH up or down? What's the a risk of obtaining (along with the wood chips) tree-diseases that aren't already present on the site?)
The idea of such a device is that it rolls down cover crops and “crimps” the stem every 5-7 inches to stop the flow of juices through the stalk…thus killing the cover crop while leaving it in place as a mulch. (TIMING is absolutely critical in such an operation…if the crop is rolled down too early, the roots will still have enough energy to sprout new stems, and if it is done too late, there will be viable seeds that will re-seed a new cover crop. The time to crimp/roll is when the plants are in flower, and the first seeds are visible but unripe.)
Our results showed that crop yield was lower in reduced-tillage management systems due to low cover crop biomass [4,111 kg/ha (3,670 lb/acre)], well below the optimal threshold biomass of 8,000 kg/ha (7,000 lb/acre) when compared to the grower’s standard system. However, using reduced-tillage management systems enhanced nutrient concentration of a-carotene, lutein, calcium, and phosphorus in winter squash when stored for 60 days. Total polyphenol concentrations increased by 1.75, 2, and 1.5 times in the BCS, RC, and grower’s standard treatments, respectively, as storage periods increased from 0 to 30 and 60 days. Vegetable growers who have limited resources and capital may start by using the BCS system, an affordable low-input management technology, to roll-crimp the cover crops while producing high quality winter squash. In addition to enhanced nutrient levels of winter squash when using the high-input technology method, growers will observe reductions of 1/5 the time required to roll-crimp the cover crop and 1/6 the time required to transplant seedlings as compared to those of the low-input technology system.
hey Eric. just to let you know. i talked to a lady on another site from Alaska and she said she was growing wine caps on mostly black spruce wood chips. i didn't think this was possible but she sent me the pics. they have only spruce, and some cottonwood and white birch but mostly spruce grows up there. I'm going to try a experimental bed next spring with spruce/ fir chips to see how it compares to hardwood. been feeding mine arborist chips that are mostly spruce sometimes and they are doing just as good.
Eric Hanson wrote:Hi Donner,
You have gotten a huge amount of great input from Marco and RedHawk—and they give out great advice and have helped me tremendously, so I only have a couple of minor points.
When I asked if you had access to non-coniferous wood, I was not thinking about lumber, I was thinking about the potential for woodchips. Wine Caps are amazingly easy mushrooms to start with, but they are not especially fond of conifer chips. What I was thinking was if you did have some deadfall trees (non-conifers) or brush needing to be cleared, then you could potentially chip these up to use as a substrate for mushrooms, and their resulting compost is amazing! Alternatively you could bring chips in and accomplish the same as long as the chips are not conifers.
about the only thing id think wine caps can't use is any kind of cedar . i don't even use cedar as mulch around my plants due to its allopathic tendencies. now in between rows where you don't want grass, cover it with cedar and it will be a long time before anything grows there. heard black walnut is the same. next load i get from the arborist next spring, I'm going to ask him what kind of trees are in there.
Eric Hanson wrote:Steve,
I will be very interested to see how your conifer bed works out!
I have been told not to use Wine Caps on mushrooms, but if they work, then who am I to say otherwise.
Please let us know how things work out!