Scott Stiller wrote:Hey Mathew. I was able to get a few minutes into your video before being accosted by my family. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish it tonight. The fact that this type of thing is on your radar means you will definitely succeeded. Get back to you soon. Scott
Michelle Heath wrote:Matthew, satellite internet sucks when you hit the data limit. I've added the video to my watchlist and will try again tonight as I'm very interested in the methods you are using.
Anne Pratt wrote:Ugh, satellite internet. Costs more, does a LOT less.
I see you have really put great effort into researching and putting into place ways to avoid irrigation. As a viewer, I would have found it helpful to know approximately where in the world you are (and I apologize if you mentioned it; it's noisy here). It helps me orient to the issue, understand why there might be annual three-month droughts.
I'm really interested in the hugel paths. Is there a reason not to put the wood under the planting beds? I wondered if the rotten wood became available after your beds were established.
Good stuff! Essential in your climate. My climate usually has plenty of rain (and my land has a spring and vernal stream). But this year it's been dry, with rain clouds dropping 3 minutes of barely drizzling once a week or so. My raised beds are hugel-ish, with a base of rotten wood and rather thin cover of soil and compost. I've done much more watering than usual, to the point where my partner is worried about our well's capacity and we've started bringing water in from a spring about a half-mile away.
I didn't finish the video, but I will. I fear we will need to know more and more about this in the future, as climate change turns what we know about our own gardens upside down.
Tj Jefferson wrote:I’m lucky in that I get as much wood chips as I can possibly use, but this is a good primer for those who want to pay the bill up front and have an infrastructure garden rather than a maintenance garden. I have completely failed at convincing my local gardeners but this year I actually built a demonstration garden so they can see it in action.
I will keep this handy as a link for people!
Daron Williams wrote:I enjoyed your video--lots of great tips in there. The part about the dust mulch was very interesting. I was curious have you seen any of videos featuring Dr. Elaine Ingham or Gabe Brown? They both make the case for completely covering the ground with perennial plants as an approach to reduce or eliminate irrigation and build overall soil fertility. The basic idea is that all of these plants feed a large diversity of soil life through the release of their root exudates. This increase in soil life in turn results in the building of soil and an overall increase in organic material in the soil. All off which increases the water holding capacity of the soil. I was wondering if you had seen any of their material and what your thoughts were on it.
On my own homestead I normally focus on keeping a good layer of mulch down over my beds to build soil and minimize watering. I've also built a lot of hugelkultur beds. But I'm experimenting with implementing Dr. Elaine Ignham and Gabe Brown's approaches in my gardens. I've got a terrace garden that is currently covered with perennial edibles that I'm also growing corn and melons in. It's been an interesting experiment and I plan to make some changes for next year to better manage the edible cover crops. One thing I'm learning is when and how often to chop and drop the cover crops to prioritize my main crops and speed up soil building while ensuring a good fall/winter cover. I'm also planning to add more perennial vegetables to my kitchen garden with annuals mixed in. This approach makes sense to me but I still got a lot to learn on how to implement it in a practical way. One thing I need to do is research more low growing perennial plants to use as a living mulch. Lots to learn and test!
Thank you for making the video and sharing!
Eric Hanson wrote:Mathew,
Much like TJ, I find woodchips to be absolutely invaluable in the garden. Also like TJ, I have a nearly inexhaustible supply of woodchips thanks to a living hedge populated with invasive bushes that need regular trimming. But I did not always have unlimited woodchips and I also used to scavenged for mulching materials. If you just can’t find woodchips or at least not in a timely manner, I find grass clippings are a pretty good substitute. It has nitrogen and will rot down quickly. The soil beneath improves very quickly. All you need to do is rake after mowing (or offer to rake a neighbor’ Lawn).
Another great option would be fallen leaves in the fall. I used to rake a neighbor’s lawn to harvest the leaves. The make a great mulch (as in ground cover), but are best if shredded. I shred mine with a Worx blower/shredder/vac with a hose attachment that fits to a round garbage can. I can haul around 30 gallons of shredded leaves very easily. I especially like to apply the leaves in fall and let them age and condition the soil over the late fall, winter and early spring.
Either of these options can be a great ground cover and are especially helpful in preventing evaporation. I am of the opinion that soil should never be bare and exposed to wind and sun. Either/and grass clippings/fall leaves can be a great option to cover that soil quickly while waiting for a supply of woodchips.
This is just a thought and I wish you the best of luck. Please keep us updated.
Michelle Heath wrote:The dust mulch idea is one I never would have though of and since it doesn't really add anything to the soil, probably one I would never consider unless I was out of mulch too. That did get me thinking about the buckets of river sand I have in the garden though. Essentially that could be used as mulch too.
I'm a big fan of pre-germinating. I didn't get a chance to order seeds before the pandemic and had only picked a few seeds up beforehand, so I used some old seed. Most germinated just fine but some old bean and pea seeds I had in the freezer did nothing. I've been soaking beans and corn for several years now because it seems like as soon as I plant, it never rains.
Eric Hanson wrote:Is there any chance that you could get some straw bales? A layer of straw can serve much the same function as woodchips. They won’t last much more than a year, but it is some good stuff if you can get it.