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Dreamer
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Best material to cover (to keep the moist during summer)

Hey there,
I have a question about what material is best to use during summer, to cover the ground and protect it from drying out and of course.. future composting.
Last year I used leafs from the forest close by, heaps of them. It worked pretty good, it seemed to give the plants a very nice save bedding, and it even gave me a lot of mushrooms. I heard that mushrooms are a sign of good health of the earth, so thats wonderful. But it was very much work to get the leafs (I have no car), and they compost pretty quickly so several times a year would be needed.

Now I was thinking about using other material. Maybe wood, the type that they throw on forest paths to keep the weeds away. Also natural, and it will compost at some point, but it will take a bit longer.
Would that be a good idea? If yes, are there any things I should think about? No pine tree wood right?

Sorry for the very long post :) and my bad English.

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soil
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i use wood chips from clearing on my property, but you can get other sources, hardwoods are best. and on top of that i do a layer of straw. the fungi like the wood chips and prefer to be on the bottom, and the bacteria like the straw and prefer to be on top. this gives good nutrient cycling and protects the soil from the sun. underneath all this the worms go nuts.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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rainbowgardener
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Pretty much anything organic - leaves, wood chips, straw, grass clippings, shredded paper, or anything else you have good access to.
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

DoubleDogFarm
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I will also recommend green manure / cover crops.

[url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw7mQZHfFVE]Farming With Nature[/url]

Eric

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Dreamer
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Thanks for all the replies! Most certainly very helpful.

Eric, green manure always sounds like an excellent way to me do have nutrients for the soil etc. Only the amount of space that I have is very limited, its just a small back garden. So growing plants that will become green manure later on, probably takes too much of that space.
Last year I did use some plants that are good for the soil, but not as a cover for the ground. Only for the health of other plants nearby. My favorite was Borage (Dutch name: Bernagie/komkommerkruid), it did seem to help. And since the plants become pretty big, I was able to use a lot of it as a ground covering in small places like hanging baskets with strawberries or tomatoes.

RainbowGardener,
I forgot about the shredded paper! I should consider that again. Maybe under wood chips or something. Would be great against weeds.

Soil, that sounds like a very good way. I am probably able to get straw as well, so it sounds very possible. Indoors I used straw last year, around the seedlings and smaller plants. For the strawberries outside I also used straw and bark. Not sure why I did not think about using that everywhere :)

I think it will be woodchips and straw this year :) if I can get woodchips somewhere.

--

By the way :) I did follow up on some permaculture ways, but did not follow the 'plants that naturally come from my area' rule. My area is very sandy, I am close to the sea. I know that with permaculture everything is possible. But for my first year, I decided to make it easier by choosing plants that I know well and by getting compost from somewhere else, instead of making it.

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rainbowgardener
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Sure, we all have to do what works for us, not someone else's rules. But do think about getting started making your own compost. It's the best thing you can do for your garden and anyway what else are you going to do with all the kitchen scraps and yard wastes?
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

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soil
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if you cant have a compost pile, start a wormbin and feed them your kitchen scraps.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

Bobberman
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Pine needles are great for strawberries!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

DoubleDogFarm
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[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/1%20Double%20Dog%20Farm%20Vegetable%20Garden%20plants/Dec222011004-1.jpg[/img]
Cardboard in the aisles
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/1%20Double%20Dog%20Farm%20Vegetable%20Garden%20plants/HorsemanureDec11th2011011.jpg[/img]
Free manure
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/1%20Double%20Dog%20Farm%20Vegetable%20Garden%20plants/BorageplantsAugust2011001.jpg[/img]
Borage
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/1%20Double%20Dog%20Farm%20Vegetable%20Garden%20plants/GardenAugust9th2011024.jpg[/img]
Keeping the soil covered
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/1%20Double%20Dog%20Farm%20Vegetable%20Garden%20plants/BCSTractor.jpg[/img]
Cut Grass
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/1%20Double%20Dog%20Farm%20Vegetable%20Garden%20plants/DSC03376.jpg[/img]

Free mulch is everywhere. You may have to work for it. :lol:

Eric

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floridahillnursery
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Pine bark

Hello Dreamer, Pine bark works well for us here in Florida. It locks together nicely forming a weed barier and really holds the moisture in. We put it down thick like 8-10 inches thick. It will naturally compact to 1/3 of that forming a nice tight mat...


[img]https://i1145.photobucket.com/albums/o519/floridahillnursery/CIMG1610.jpg[/img]

These bananas have a tight layer of mulch under them.

[img]https://i1145.photobucket.com/albums/o519/floridahillnursery/CIMG1524.jpg[/img]

These elephant ears are pine bark mulched also.

[img]https://i1145.photobucket.com/albums/o519/floridahillnursery/CIMG1734.jpg[/img]

This papaya tree has a light layer of mulch.

[img]https://i1145.photobucket.com/albums/o519/floridahillnursery/CIMG1498.jpg[/img]

Our flower garden has thick layer and we border it with gorgia jet sweet potatoes and watermelon to prevent weeds and believe me they get so thick they even hold moisture in. I don't know if these methods will work for you but they work great for us down south. Hope this helps. :D
Last edited by floridahillnursery on Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.

DoubleDogFarm
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Just trying to help.
[url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3724]How to post pictures[/url]

Oh, Never mind. Well done.

Eric :D

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floridahillnursery
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Thanks Eric

Thanks Eric, I finally got it figured out. :D

Those green beans are looking good. steamed with butter and salt... drool :)

DoubleDogFarm
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Photos from last summer. :D

Here's a current photo :shock:
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Snow%20%20Jan%2017-18%202012/SnowJan17th2012009.jpg[/img]

The green beans "Etna" did really well last year. I'll grow them again.
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/1%20Double%20Dog%20Farm%20Vegetable%20Garden%20plants/Etnabeans003.jpg[/img]

Eric

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floridahillnursery
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garden pict

Man, Those look great! I'll bet ya cant wait til spring. beans are a spring crop here. The fall is a little to cool to squeeze in a late crop of beans. Yellow Cheroke and blue lake are my usual spring favorites... third week of Feb. they are going in the ground.

DoubleDogFarm
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More like April or later for us. :cry:

Dreamer are you out there.

Eric

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floridahillnursery
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cold weather gardening

I gardened in Michigan for a while. I remember getting antsy for spring. Its torture for gardeners like us.

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