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RE: home grown mulch

  • Subject: RE: [cg] home grown mulch
  • From: "John Verin" jverin@Pennhort.org
  • Date: Wed, 6 Nov 2002 17:16:51 -0500
  • Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
  • Thread-index: AcKAhb2tCQbkj5PTQr2Hadv9z+ShIAFXA0XQ
  • Thread-topic: [cg] home grown mulch

The essential key to true food growing sustainability is to grow your own soil fertility in your garden. Importing fertility from elsewhere means you're depleting resources there.
Thus, growing carbon-producing crops is vital, particularly those that provide food (wheat, rye, corn, sorghum, sunflower). These crops are grow to maturity, allowing the stalks to dry while in the ground, which maximizes lignin content. Then they are composted with other green material you have grown (alfalfa, comfrey, etc.) AND with soil. Soil is a key ingredient for making compost.
In simple terms, sow winter covers of wheat or rye now, leaving some of it to reach maturity in the bed. Save the seed for fall replanting, and compost the stalks and roots. (Do not turn cover crops into the soil. This wastes soil life on the composting process, resulting in a net loss of organic matter).
All of this info and technique is outlined in "How To Grow More Vegetables" by John Jeavons, the book for the "Grow Biointensive" method. www.growbiointensive.org
Available at www.bountifulgardens.org, the seed and supply catalog connected to Jeavons.

Paco John Verin
City Wide Coordinator - Philadelphia Green
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
100 North 20th Street, 5th floor
Philadelphia, PA  19103-1495
Phone: 215-988-8885; Fax 215-988-8810

-----Original Message-----
From: Nicole Georges-Abeyie [mailto:nic_geo_abe@hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 9:32 PM
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: [cg] home grown mulch

Do any of you use some of your own crop residues as mulch? --pea straw, garlic stalk, grasses, cover crops.  I don't mean planting into winter-killed growth; I'm wondering about something you'd harvest, dry(?), and lay on a different bed.  If so, how do you best harvest it for the purpose? And any other tricks of the trade.
Also, Does anyone have strong feelings for or against using spoiled hay (intended for livestock feed) as garden mulch? I guess seeds could be a BIG problem.  Are the mold spores detrimental to a garden or its gardeners?
Nicole Lewis
Washington, DC

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