Author Topic: Green Mulch and cover crops  (Read 804 times)

Offline CharlotteBeeOrganic

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Green Mulch and cover crops
« on: March 16, 2014, 01:15 PM »
Quotes from Malcolm Beck (Gardenville products.) Here are some comments, edited down significantly, as taken from www.plantanswers.com, Dr. Jay Parsons, Texas Ag Extension Service:

GREEN (TILL IN) COMPOST: Malcolm also has been very helpful with experimentation of ‘green manure’ cover crops which may be useful to gardeners during the short South Texas dormant season (December and January). It seems that vetch and rye sown in late November is a South Texan’s best bet.

Offline CharlotteBeeOrganic

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Re: Green Mulch and cover crops
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 06:52 PM »
From:
http://notillgardening.com/2011/11/14/fertilizing-and-no-till-gardening/

Partial Quote:
Nature created different layers, called horizon zones, in producing soil which we in our mechanical tilling disrupt. There is of course the benign mixing by earthworms, bringing nutrients down from the mulch layer and aerating the soil in the process. With that mixing the horizon layers retain their fundamental integrity. Mechanical tilling results in over-aeration and over-mixing, confounding the soil’s integrity. Each layer of soil, including the mulch layer, consists of a different biology (different organisms) and a different color, smell and feel. These layers will re-establish themselves in time once mechanical tilling is stopped and a mulch layer applied. If the mulch layer is tilled in mechanically it decomposes too rapidly for plants to fully utilize the nutrients released, which nutrients may be lost through leaching.

Tilling also destroys many of the proper tillers – earthworms. Further, fungi which are surface organisms are diminished, which organisms play a vital role in plant nutrition and tilth (crumb structure). Some gardeners use compost as the mulch layer but I prefer undecomposed organic matter in a proper carbon:nitrogen ratio. Finished compost is not worm food and also much of the carbon and nitrogen is lost to the atmosphere and through leaching during the heat cycle.