User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Thanks for that OL, I was just coming back to say while watching the Hazelip video i notice, which I have known, straw doesn't compact like grass will allowing more air and water through, though i will not stop using grass because it has done me well so far. At least not yet.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

She has eliminated a step, without apparent issue...

Don't we call that a breakthrough? :D

You're onto something there, Gixx; I tried the grass clippings all over my mounded rows (I got that idea from native technique from this area; another country heard from) two years back and found it got water repellent when really dry. Just used it as mulch for the sides and used compost on top this past year; problem solved. Just straw or hay this year...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Rainbow, I think you're getting too caught up in the mystique. I often sow seeds and walk away because I'm planting seeds just before it rains on the same day or the next day. So if you extend that, as long as you're sowing on relatively dry ground, and there's a soaking rain within a few days.... I think the point is that once you soak the seeds, they're going to sprout. If you don't tend those sprouted seeds so that they don't dry out, they're likely to die. When you water in, the seeds are activated right away and you have some (semblance of) control/idea over when to expect germination etc.

Isn't it funny that we're ALL saying we've been gardening this way more-or-less all along? Think we're on to something? Maybe throughout history, in every generation, there have been people quietly gardening this way, but you know, the plowmakers guild/union/lobby and all... :roll: Maybe their voices are finally being heard. Maybe the number of people who hear AND LISTEN will grow.

My only issue is that I want to become SELF SUFFICIENT/SUSTAINING. I usually don't have enough Lawn grass clippings or leaves. The rice straw is being returned to the rice paddies, but I have to work on growing more stuff within the confines of the property. For now, I guess I'll keep on getting straw as well as hay of some sort. (I'm not sure if I can do the clean up freebee... I can just imagine DH's response to my wanting to use his pickup truck for that purpose.... :lol: )

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

Hey, folks, don't get to too legalistic here.
Did anyone other than me, notice she also sprinkled on some cotton seed meal? I found it odd that she sprinkled it right on the seeds.
I would have guessed that it would burn them.
I always keep it off the plants... but she put it right on the seeds...

What we need to do, is look at what we have. Look what is around us. Study up on items that are in our everyday life.

I would even consider shredding newspaper and using that for mulch, if that is what I had available... Paper shredders from work, generate alot of paper!

Let's look, read, talk and learn... keep what is easy for us... and just let slide what doesn't work for us.

Remember... There is no right or wrong way! If it works for you... it is right... if you can't get it to work... it is wrong for you!

Plants are so forgiving and so eager to grow... in spite of us!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Ozark Lady wrote:Hey, folks, don't get to too legalistic here.
Did anyone other than me, notice she also sprinkled on some cotton seed meal? I found it odd that she sprinkled it right on the seeds.
I would have guessed that it would burn them.
I always keep it off the plants... but she put it right on the seeds...

What we need to do, is look at what we have. Look what is around us. Study up on items that are in our everyday life.

I would even consider shredding newspaper and using that for mulch, if that is what I had available... Paper shredders from work, generate alot of paper!

Let's look, read, talk and learn... keep what is easy for us... and just let slide what doesn't work for us.

Remember... There is no right or wrong way! If it works for you... it is right... if you can't get it to work... it is wrong for you!

Plants are so forgiving and so eager to grow... in spite of us!
BOOM! you got it there sister. Bring the spring let's start planting and see what happens. 8)

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

AS, your thought is shared. I think it always has been here but we were tricked into "needing" more than we did. And did you see the girls raking out thatch from the long grass? If we stop mowing, there's your straw...

And if your husband hesitates even a second ask him what he got a truck for? Not hauling? Then he must not need a truck? Watch how fast you get the keys... :lol:

OL, bless you. Yes. Just yes. All good, all right. (I still like straw better than paper, never saw a ciliate on the New York Times but I didn't look either, and that's just quibbling)... As Gixx says, BOOM!
Scott Reil

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

You're SO RIGHT, Ozark Lady!!! And thank you, HG. :wink:

Touching on the mushroom experiment, straw substrate was the first one to show signs of growth, paper was last.

As for not mowing -- you know the problems I've had with that. If you don't, I'll find you the link. :roll:

Come'on Lady Spring! We're ready to experiment! :-()
"Vision of Lady Spring" -- Felted Wool Painting (c)2005
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/IMG_2039.jpg[/img]

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

That's beautiful AS. And knocked out in your spare time, I'm sure... :roll:

You remind me of my friend Bill Cullina; speaking schedules and all sorts of other things and he knocks out books in his spare time. I used to tell him quit it; he was making the rest of us look bad :lol:

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
lj in ny
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:00 pm
Location: Z 5b-6a WNY

I also saw Ruth Stout's videos on YouTube about a month ago. I was able to find one of her books and read it cover to cover. In the fall we dumped most of our shredded leaves on the veg and flower gardens and I feel like I hit paydirt when I saw her videos! I went out and got the veg beds in order yesterday and the leaves have broken down nicely and I saw some monster worms. I'll start looking around for spoiled hay to add to it. I'm really excited to see how this works!
"If we throw mother nature out the window, she comes back in the door with a pitchfork." Masanobu Fukuoka

"Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret." Horace

https://apottersgarden.blogspot.com

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

If may: straw I don't believe is the magical ingredient. I have monster worms with a single bale of straw and most of that was in the compost. I'm not saying to NOT use straw but you can get there with other means. I don't want to see people saying that without a ton of straw and no digging and this and that you will fail. That is just plain wrong, you can get to where you want without following ONE person's guidelines. You must look around at what does you good.

:hide:

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

I agree Gixx,
I have about 1/20 hay to leaves ratio.
I use what is available to me, and that is mostly leaves.
And I have worms galore, far from monsters, but worms none the less.

I think worms are different in different areas. When my hubby was stationed in Illinois, I noticed worms came up after a rain, and they looked like snakes to me. I am just so used to the smaller worms that I normally see. Even when we buy nightcrawlers for fishing, they are tiny compared to what I used to see up north.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
lj in ny
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:00 pm
Location: Z 5b-6a WNY

Maybe I'll just stick with leaves. We have woods right behind my house and there are piles of leaves in there. Everybody dumps their yard waste back there, I doubt if anyone would mind if I pull out a few wheel barrow fulls of leaves...
"If we throw mother nature out the window, she comes back in the door with a pitchfork." Masanobu Fukuoka

"Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret." Horace

https://apottersgarden.blogspot.com

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Leaves are a brown, hay is a green...

Different results for sure. If you were doing long term veg like asparagus, artichokes, or perennial greens, then maybe leaves are okay, but if you are doing short term stuff like lettuce or maters (I've found peppers like it a little fungal, but too fungal and they get wood fast).

Why do you all think smart people like Ruth and Masanobu used hay and straw? Ruth was surrounded by trees and Fukuoka-sensei had an orchard...they had leaves too...

:?:

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

Wow, what a put down... :hehe:
Why do you all think smart people like Ruth and Masanobu used hay and straw? ( I saw that reference to SMART PEOPLE) (grinning)

But, but, but, Scott. I promise, I would be raking leaves constantly. I get them off the beds, honest I do, and then, bam it is inches deep again! (kind of like snow this year)

As much as Ruth liked not to work at gardening, I bet she didn't rake leaves daily to keep them off her plants! And I really can't see the orchard guy out there removing the leaves. I put the 1 of the 1/20 there and nature puts the 20 there. I can't win! I am outnumbered! -helpsos-

If I were going to spend $5.00 and get hay, straw or leaves... I would choose old hay, or straw...NOT LEAVES. But, it isn't my choice, I can't keep them out of there!

And I can't walk down the road picking up straw! I would walk completely out of state before I got a pound of it! C'mon gimme a break! nutz:
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

I get it OL (and no put down intended), but it is not the same thing...

You are building fungal mass by moving carbon in, but what are you missing in not using the hay or straw...?

Well, like I said it's a green, a pretty intensive one. So it would stand to reason that it is a pretty bacterial food and if I mixed hay in water I would soon find a lot of bacteria. But not so much... :?

What you will find is ciliates. Lots of them. An inordinate amount of ciliates really, for a small quantity of above soil level material. And no I don't know why, other than to surmise there probably WAS a lot of bacteria, but the ciliates get attracted and eat them.

Which is the first phase in our poop loop, right? Add hay and get a huge shot of protists (30:1 C:N) that eat your bacteria (5:1 C:N) and poop a BUNCH of nitrogen in a plant ready form. You all ain't doing that with leaves... so gixx, hate to disagree, but there IS a little magic in hay...

Hey I love leaves; some of my best friends are leaves, nothing wrong with leaves. But they are not hay... I refer you all back to the title of the thread (much as Gixx as abandoned his intial position as hay supporter later in the thread :lol: ). There are good reasons why hay does soil as good as it does; it is a far more bacterial food, yet has a fair amount of lignin to support the softer side of fungi. It brings a ready supply of protista (like nothing else I know other than compost), makes a mulch that breaks down slowly without much matting, and is pretty readily available most places on the planet.

Can you hammer a nail with a wrench? Sure. The results might not be as good and it will take longer, but you can... still, despite owning a wrench too, I'm getting a hammer this year...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

Scott, I can't hammer a nail with a hammer! And it isn't unusual to see me try with a shoe, rolling pin, etc. :lol:

Honest, my take is: You have to have humus. If you have no other source of humus use the leaves, use weeds, use what you have. If you have nothing, you will have dust, not soil, it will blow away!

In an ideal world, have a lawn to mow, have a compost maker, and simply pile manure hay, leaves, grass clippings, weeds, kitchen waste into it, and take wonderful compost out of it.

Most of us are not at either extreme, we have more than leaves, and less than the compost maker. So, we find the combination that works for us.

I have woods, I bring in a chainsaw and remove the large trees, then I bring in goats to eat the brush and get the bramble cleared out, then I run pigs to go through and root out the weeds the goats didn't get and get to the "root of the problem".
Then I go through and plant a grass mix, it will have alfalfa, fescue, rye, lespedeza, Kentucky blue grass and several other grass or legume type seeds. I let it grow, and self seed for one season, only one or the big weeds will return.
Now I mow and rake it, I let it set and dry out, and chemical changes happen within the grass. And finally I come back and bale it up. I have hay. But, within my bale of hay I also have weeds that grew in with my grass, small trees, and even some bramble and other stickers, and this is in a fresh field.
I spend some time grubbing out the stickers, and trees etc. But, next season I will still get a mix of grass, legumes, and brambles, trees and weeds. And some of the grass seed mix will take off and some won't. Some is cool season grasses and some is warm season grasses, so it depends on which cutting we are discussing to know what constitutes hay.

Straw: When farmers complete harvesting wheat, rice, barley etc. There is stubble left in the field, they then come in and cut it, comb it into windbreaks and wait for nature to do the chemical change, and then they come back and bale it. Yes, again, there will be some weeds mixed in, and maybe some grass, but not alot. Quite often straw is left long past the chemical change and it is more woody than is hay, and is therefore slower to break down.

I know how to make hay fields, straw fields and bales of either.
I also know that within the plants there is a chemical reaction, where the last of the chlorophyl is used up and the sugars turn into starches. It is not all simply decompostiion happening to the plant it is also happening within the plant.

To a lesser degree the same thing is happening to leaves, but they have already passed some of the stages that the hay or straw has yet to get to, and some of the biological processes, just aren't gonna happen there.

Even within a goat, the processes are happening. A goat does not digest their food, not really. They eat, they put the food into a holding stomach, where it is wetted and wilted. Then they bring it up, all full of the bacteria, and they chew it finer, then swallow it into a second stomach, where the microbes are heavy and very healthy.
Here is where digestion takes place. Here is the microbes that you must be very careful to keep in balance. A sudden diet change and those microbes are simply not there to digest the food, and the goat can starve with a full stomach.
Some of those microbes only digest grains, some hay types, some leaf and woody stuff. And they are inefficient at best on other types of greens.
If a goat is in trouble, you must give them probiotics, which are just some new bacteria to populate their stomach and digest the food. But, it is simply better to just make all changes more gradual and keep those microbes healthy in the first place.

Soil is similar, it has bacteria that digests and again, it must have sufficient numbers to do the job, or the stuff just sets there. The good news is, the soil isn't dying it is waiting for new little bacteria to get born to get the job done, more water, warmer temps and you got it, new bacteria. And straw or hay is similar to the probiotics that is used to rescue goats from malnutrition. You could give the goat a bit every day, to ensure they have plenty, but normally a healthy goat will make their own. I say that it is similar, what I mean is it is full of the bacteria, microbes etc and they are replenished, restored and fed by it.

You can make your own hay or straw at home. It does not have to go through a baler to become hay or straw. It does need to be cut, then cured, which is a process happening within the plant. The chlorophyll must be used up. And you have hay or straw.

To make your compost you are wanting: manure- teaming with the microbes to kick off digestions, hay or straw- plants that have had a chemical change, and greens- plants that still have sugars and have not been changed into hay or straw yet. A balance is what you want in a perfect world.

Again, we are mostly not dealing with a perfect world.

And I do use hay, and I use manure, filled with bacteria and microbes from the goats digestive system, and the bedding that is filled with manure, urine, and beginning to break down already. I can prove that I use hay, by the amount of grass growing in my beds! I always manage to miss a few seeds when waiting for the grass in the bedding to seed out and die.

But, I refuse to burn the leaves, and they have to be somewhere, so they are in the garden. And I only bring bags of leaves from my yard to set and break down in plastic bags, all the rest of the leaves used in my garden, put themselves there! I don't go looking for them. If I wanted more there is plenty and easy to get, but I don't ever need to go find any.

I have a 4'x4'x3' bin in the garden, it is suppose to be a compost bin, it is full of leaves every year. I also have a boat, that got hit by lightning and cant be repaired in the garden to hold compost, it is also a leaf bin. I am in the process of getting a shredder, then those leaves will get ground and they will break down faster. In the meantime, it is store them, use them, burn them, or bag them up and ship them to landfills. So, I store them in compost bins, until I can use them. And I use too many, and I still can't get ahead of the leaves that fall naturally into my garden.

Will I build a compost pile? NO WAY! And there are many on here who are not going organic, nor will they compost. But if they will just add some humus to their soil, whether it be leaves or hay, straw or grass trimmings, it is still better than creating a dust bowl. And mulching can be done in any situation and it is better than bare soil, whether the mulch is hay, straw, leaves, newspaper, or cardboard! I actually had a man on another forum, tell me to get rid of the leaves, and rocks and chop out those roots and stumps, and get that dirt some air! He was dead serious and raises a great garden.

I do not believe that it is a lack of intelligence, that leads one man to walk one path and another man to walk another. And I do not believe that the plants can only live if you do exactly like person A.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

I don't disagree with your last paragraph there, not one bit. What I disagree with is leaves and straw serving the same ends... one serves fungal and one serves bacterial and those are yin and yang; opposite ends of the spectrum... You are balancing leaves with high bacterial manure inputs, but with all the talk of leaves instead of hay, giving the impression that they are interchangeable. They ain't.

You know better than me if your gardening style is working for you. Fukuoka-sensei is all about the experimentation, observation and adjustment thing and I agree wholeheartedly that there a a lot of ways to get there. But if some first timer comes in here and gets the impression they can pile leaves on their garden and it's going to get better and better, we have just set them up for a world of dissappointment, right?

I always try to assume the baseline user when posting and it sometimes makes the more experienced folks think I am talking down or bashing their technique. OL's longer post before this one shows the tricks and tweaks that make the leaves work for her; she is in effect sheet composting on her beds with both bacterial and fungal inputs. Just leaves will spell doom for veggies (but would be fine for trees and shrubs); just hay or straw is doable, but still wants a little bacterial tweak (compost or manure) for best results, and some leaves in that will not destroy anything...

Where did Einstein find the devil? :wink:

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

Einstein and a devil? Huh? You lost me there.

I did find a video, and this is funny. It is about fish. But, it is also about the whole ecology of what you are doing. Not the intensive thing, the whole overall picture and how it all fits together.

I do take one detour in gardening that just wouldn't work for many folks.
I try to grow a plant, and I try different things, within reason. Then if it won't grow in my conditions... fine I can live without it. I am not trying to turn my woodland growing into a farmers highly productive field that has that fabulous black dirt in it. I am trying to work with nature, what is my nature in my world. And I am not going to -wall- trying to make this soil into something that it isn't. I am going to try to make this soil the best that it can be, within what it is. I hope that makes sense.

I will always have rocks working to the surface, I will always have roots where I don't want them. And I will always have leaves in oversupply, unless a forest fire strips this land, and then, it will grow back, because I will plant it, I will help it grow.

And I will discover what plants I can optimize, not maximize in this soil.
If I love one that just can't handle the acid, or the fungal quality, I know how to use a flower pot! That is a good candidate for aquaculture.

I know many of you have wonderful soil, and you have that black dirt (to die for) please don't try to turn it into woodland soil. You could make just a bucket of woodland soil for something you want to grow in woodland settings.

I accept that I can't grow alot of cold weather crops, my climate doesn't cooperate. So is it worth it to me, to set things so that I can? Depends on what it is would be my answer, and can I find a heat loving replacement.
On another forum, I addressed the issue of summers being too hot for tomatoes and how you have to protect them. Many folks there only grow them as a winter crop. I grow them as a spring crop and as a fall crop of them, I have new plants coming up. I just can't count on spring planted tomatoes to make it till fall and still produce.

Anyhow, here is the video that I found. And I, hopefully, can learn to be like Miguel and not Don in this video.
Enjoy! https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_how_i_fell_in_love_with_a_fish.html
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Great vid OL; I love TED. Check out [url=https://www.ted.com/talks/jamie_oliver.html]Jamie Oliver's TED talk[/url] for a look at why we got so bad at raising food and what to do about it...

I hear ya, and I think we all need to find our own ways, but a lot of people log in here without a clue and are looking for a way to start. We can certainly debate the best way to do things, but the individual newbie isn't looking for debate, they are looking for answers. I simmply try to clarify the options as much as possible, sometimes playing devil's advocate. If you are not polluting my water or air, I do not much care how you garden yourself. But I will try to give people the benefit of my experience to find the best ways to make them successful.

In my experience, hay will always benefit a soil as both mulch and biological amendment; leaves are a good mulch but without further thought about the carbon content, this can create a soil imbalance. The beginner is better served by using hay instead as it is easier and uses less labor and inputs in the long run. Those who wish to put more time and labor into their garden can use inputs at hand...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

We were talking about collecting thatch over in [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=118806#118806]"Ye Olde Farm" thread[/url] the other day. Then today, I was outside looking at some tufts of grass that were taller than others (about 6"~8") -- especially the Orchard Grass and what I keep calling Kentucky Blue but might be just winter rye or something (are they perennial?). I decided to get my Kama (Japanese hand sickle) and "harvest" them for the New Tomato Bed and the New Sunflower& House.

As it turned out, I ended up with A LOT. Enough for 3~4" layer on the NTB which only had a thin 2~3" layer of leaves on it, and 1~2" layer for the larger 1/2 of the NS&H which only has straw on it.

As I was going around cutting these grass, it came to me :idea: -- Grass clippings ARE the hay sub for small-scale gardens like mine. So, WHY should I grow only LAWN GRASS? Why not grow more nutrient dense pasture or hay seed mix in a designated area and allow them to grow much longer (better for preventing matting down, etc.) for harvest and use? I already have the Orchard Grass area, which is along the ENE foundation of the house. The rich dark green of that "Kentucky Blue" make me think it's pretty good source of GREEN so it can just keep on growing there, and I could start a Clover Hay Mix in a sunny dry area.

My lawn grass already has a good distribution of white clover and I get nice clover/grass cuttings mix, but may be I'll overseed with some pasture mix in the backyard play area where I can let the grass grow a little longer.... 8)

I'm also looking at the annual early spring garlic mustard outbreak (3 or 4 pairs of leaves and 2~3" right now) with renewed interest 8) 8). I'll wait until they're a bit bigger to go around "harvesting" them. (I feel like the witch in the Gingerbread House.... :twisted: )

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Good thought! I always have plenty of garlic mustard! (on my wild and unmulched hillside). It usually goes straight on the compost pile. But no reason it couldn't become mulch. Per the reading we've been doing (chapters we aren't supposed to be discussing yet! :) ) I may have been making my veggie beds overly fungal with all the fall leaves and wood chips for mulch. I'm hopefully correcting that a bit with my "direct extract" almost compost tea. Maybe a little later I'll even make some real AACT (though I'm still finding the whole bucket, pump, time it for 36 hrs and use right away, sterilize all the equipment stuff not in real harmony with my lazy gardener, don't-work -too -hard- at -this style). But using more green mulches would be a good thing and not hard at all.
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

I am investigating biochar, to see if I can find a constructive way to get rid of more leaves. Also with so many tree tops all around, plus dead trees, I will be overrun with branches and wood, even for burning in my house!
I am studying to see if I could use a container, within the existing woodburner, that is in the hahsa, and perhaps make some biochar. I just don't want burning leaf piles or woodpiles burning, too big of a fire hazzard. But, leaves everywhere is also a fire hazzard, they gotta go somewhere, someway, somehow. And not in a landfill!

Next will be: a use for rocks, that have lovely fossils in them, but really, I am tired of them surfacing in my garden. Perhaps in cement stepping stones? Gotta be something I can do with them!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

I don't grow hay like grasses in the open yard. But I do have about 9 plantings of ornamental grass that I cut down in the spring and save for the compost. This year I saved them for the garden beds. It's not a ton, but pretty much, not sure if you would call them greens or browns but they are there. I never had any problem with weeds though just using them for a compostable.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Grass is greens, my friend and dried grass is hay. There ya go!

Clippings of lawn grass will have more of a tendency to decompose than straw would; like any other plant there are varying carbon rates from part to part (In trees the leaves are higher in nitrogen than the rest; the twigs a little less so, the branches a little less than the bigger limbs, which are a little less so than the trunk, down to the real carbon storage in the roots) Same with grasses...

But grasses like Miscanthus and such should stick around a while...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
lj in ny
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:00 pm
Location: Z 5b-6a WNY

I didn't read all of the posts (ADD tends to kick in at the end of a very long week!) but I think I got the jist of it: I'll be better off if we spread out grass clippings on top of the leaves, let them dry out a little and mix them in? We don't put anything funky on the lawn so I don't have to worry about funky stuff in my veg garden. Or I could get some hay/straw- still an option, keeping my eye on Craig's list and Freecycle.
"If we throw mother nature out the window, she comes back in the door with a pitchfork." Masanobu Fukuoka

"Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret." Horace

https://apottersgarden.blogspot.com

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Now you are at least balancing C/N some...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=121042#121042
Sage Hermit wrote:I put the cardboard and hay on but they blew away in the wind so I need to steak down twine just loose enough to keep from blowing away heheh or water this time
Ah. Watering definitely helps. Since then, [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=22797]in my case[/url], the rabbit wire fencing -- required for all my gardens expected to protect from marauding bunnies -- have kept the straw contained within the area except for few stray wisps. Piling the grass/weed cuttings on top have also helped to keep them in place. I'm snatching up what we call "onion grass" -- wild lawn garlic -- that are growing in big tufts right now and tossing them everywhere I'm NOT expecting to grow peas or beans. Unfortunately, the ground is soft enough that sometimes I end up with the bottoms. Then I have to take the trouble to cut them off, but I've been putting the roots back in the ground. :lol: Why kill off future mulch material? :wink:

User avatar
Alan in Vermont
Senior Member
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:20 pm
Location: Northwest Vermont, Champlain Valley

Ozark Lady wrote:I am investigating biochar,
What is biochar?

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I think biochar was discussed in [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20669]this thread about Terra Preta[/url].

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

I LOVE when we are spreading great ideas like that...

:D

HG
Scott Reil

Joyfirst
Green Thumb
Posts: 361
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:45 pm
Location: Southern California

Thank you guys for the interesting thread. I loved the video.I used a bit of rock dust in my beds. Biochar next - first I ahve to go camping, since I live in the condominium- no way to create my own. :roll:

ronbre
Cool Member
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 11:34 pm
Location: Michigan

what she used was spoiled hay..and she said that when the weeds sprouted on top of the hay (she puts it on real thick) she said she would just turn it upside down so the weeds grown would just smother.
Brenda

Bloom where you are planted
https://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Just spread two bales on the veggie garden yesterday; turned back some of the area I did last week and you can see the difference already! Moist, darker, teeming with worms (and I expect lots of other biology). And what a difference in the weed populations in the hayed areas vs. the control area (getting a good shot of weed seed today; lambsquarters and purselane, as I am comparing a green mulch of weeds to the hay).

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

HG so are you saying you have a hay mulched section and a green mulch mulched section as a control area?

When you say "moist, darker" are you saying the ground, the mulch or the plants are darker.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Hey Gixx,

Plants just went in yesterday, but the soil is much nicer (moister, darker)...

And yes, I have one section of garden I am growing a green cover on, purselane and two varieties of lambsquarters ( three if you count the volunteer crop as seperate from my Chenopodium album seeds...). I will stick some maters and squash in there once they are sizeable, just knocking back the greens before hand...

Ate until full on fresh lambsquarters yesterday (eating the tops off as I transplanted from the green bed to the sides of the rows in the main garden). Beats pruning, and I really think that this is my favorite green now, better than leaf lettuce! Who knew? Early, wicked hardy (as we say in these parts), and I am getting a great crop already...

The wife is still suspicious of eating "weeds"; if I'd tucked it in a plastic tub and told her it was designer greens she would probably be loving it... hmmmph... :roll:

HG
Scott Reil

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

HG you should deprive one of nitrogen for kicks. they are like an N flow test with purple indicator.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Neat idea, toil... I can do that...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Whew! Went on a shopping expedition today: Some stuff for a new tomato support idea (thank you TZ!) at Tractor Supply where a very helpful elderly gentleman found me the hardware needed to do what I wanted to do (He asked me SEVERAL times *how* I planned to pound down a 7' post -- He seemed relieved when I relented and got the 6' fence posts that were on sale), a hay farm where a dour elderly gentleman sadly told me he's behind in hay-making because his sister-in-law has cancer and that NOBODY has hay because of the rain except for a feedstore, a gardening co-op where an elderly gentleman and I discussed the merits of Spinosad, and I was able to tell him about its honeybee toxicity until the compound has dried (thanks RBG! :wink:).

I also bought 2 kinds of premium potting soil: Pro-mix Ultimate Organic and Gardener's Gold Organic, a bag of humus, as well as my usual favorite -- Bumper Crop Organic Soil Conditioner. Whew!

At the feed store, they had two different kinds of hay -- Canadian Timothy hay (regular -- I think 45lb? square $6.49) and NY mixed alfalfa hay (65lb square $10.99). Straw was $5.39. Initially, I was going to get 4 Canadian hay, but decided to get 2 Canadian and 1 NY, plus 2 straw.

I'll break them down into flakes and use them to turn a narrow 15"x12ft space into a Sauce Tomato Bed. I also need to make another narrow bed for DH's Wax Begonia Bed by the front porch (I had to buy them -- just could not grow them from seed :roll: But I'll mix in my seed-grown Salvias for a nice arrangment) I'm thinking I'll get cuttings from that hanging Lobelia basket too.

Oh! Oh! ALMOST FORGOT !!! :oops:
The whole reason I posted in this thread is that at the feed store, I was explaining what I was trying to do with the hay and why I was asking them the 20 questions about what's in the hay, why I really want to try the alfalfa-mix hay for the extra nitrogen and potassium, etc. and was telling her how I've been trying to find "spoiled" hay but with no luck, and saying how silly it seems to intentionally "spoil" perfectly good hay. The lady who turned out to be the owner told me that if I leave my name and phone number, she'll call me on those occasions when she gets moldy hay that she can't sell. :() ... I may end up with more hay than I'll know what to do with.... :wink:

As it turned out, as soon as I stepped out the door to go get the hay/straw bales, the sky opened up and we had a sudden shower. I drove home in the rain, perfectly happy that my 5 bales were already getting a good start to being spoiled. :lol:

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Great story Apple, maybe I should have you shop for me. :lol:

Did some shopping myself today not that extravagant though.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

AS is having a Three Straw Revolution... :lol:

HG
Scott Reil

Return to “Permaculture Forum”