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Onion Barrier Against Insect Pests; Close-crop Intensive Planting

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  • Robert Monie
    Hi Everybody, Recent posts have discussed onion barriers to deter fleas and other insects and inquired about close spacing of plants in Jeavons biointensive
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 4, 2002
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      Hi Everybody,

      Recent posts have discussed onion barriers to deter fleas and other insects and inquired about close spacing of plants in Jeavons' biointensive system. In my garden not only onions but also leeks and flowering garlic chives successfully repeal many kinds of insect pest (caterpillers being a notable exception).

      The bigger and thicker the chives, the more repellent they have been. I particularly like an Asian strain (one requiring heavy watering) cultivated by the Vietnamese gardeners here in New Orleans East. So repellent is this strain that I have almost never seen a sign of insect nibbling on one.

      I tried Jeavon's double-dug, close-cropped method for several years with mixed results. The soil would not stay friable and double-dug no matter what I did. Something, perhaps the hammering rainfalls of Southern Louisiana, would always re-compact the raised beds after I had dug them. I did discover, though, that if I carefully selected vegetables from Ken Whealy's massive "Gardenseed Inventory," I could grow certain varieties very closely together. Whealy sometimes helpfully notes which varieties have proved to be succesful under crowded conditions. Those are the ones to try. Oddy enough, these are often not the varieties available from Jeavon's mail order service.

      Thick mulches and "lasagna stacks" can also come to the rescue.

      Switching from Jeavons to Ruth Stout or Lasagna gardening or Fukuoka/Emilia thick mulch methods does generally "soften" rather than harden the soil below, so that this soil compaction or re-compaction problem doesn't occur; and best of all, you don't have to break your back double digging. Thick, healthy mulch is protective against a multidude of evils. In my container garden, I tried using gray plastic mulch (! definitely not a natural farming technique !) and that also resolved the problem of soil compaction. This is the method used in the self-watering "Earth Box" containers. Even the heaviest rains do not compact the box soil beneath the protective plastic covering. My experience is also that in this kind of container, in which the soil surface is not exposed, it is possible to plant many varieties very closely together--Jeavons style--and have them thrive. You just cut a little whole above each closely packed seedling to let it through the plastic mulch.

      The bottom line is that without a mulch cover (green, natural or otherwise) and a selection of plant varieites known to tolerate crowding, you probalby won't get very far with the biointensive method.

      Bob Monie



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    • tiakd14477
      ... from Ken Whealy s massive Gardenseed Inventory, I could grow certain varieties very closely together. Whealy sometimes helpfully notes which varieties
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 4, 2002
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        >>I did discover, though, that if I carefully selected vegetables
        from Ken Whealy's massive "Gardenseed Inventory," I could grow
        certain varieties very closely together. Whealy sometimes helpfully
        notes which varieties have proved to be succesful under crowded
        conditions. >>

        Ken Whealy is the founder of Seed savers right? I did go to the
        website, but didn't find notes on some varieties. But I didn't go
        through the huge listing, so maybe they are there somewhere.

        > The bottom line is that without a mulch cover (green, natural or
        otherwise) and a selection of plant varieites known to tolerate
        crowding, you probalby won't get very far with the biointensive
        method. >>

        Thanks. He doesn't mention this in his book. We do have 2 large
        gardens and access to 50 acres of old grain fields, so have lots of
        room and don't have to plant intensively. Just interested and was
        trying to save watering in our droughty climate.
        Regards
        Heather
      • Robert Monie
        Hi Heather, Thick mulches of any kind are water-sparing, because they decrease the surface evaporation of water from the soil. Ken Whealy does run the Seed
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 4, 2002
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          Hi Heather,

          Thick mulches of any kind are water-sparing, because they decrease the surface evaporation of water from the soil.

          Ken Whealy does run the Seed Savers' Exchange, and he tries mightily to catalog all the open pollinated seed available in America (and to a lesser extent in Canada) for vegetables, in his periodically updated book "Garden Seed Inventory," now in its 5th edition. Whealy also produces another mammoth printed inventory of Nut and Fruit Trees. For the Garden Seed Inventory, see

          http://www.chelseagreen.com/DP/SeedSavers/SeedInventory.htm

          Bob


          tiakd14477 <sentree@...> wrote:>>I did discover, though, that if I carefully selected vegetables
          from Ken Whealy's massive "Gardenseed Inventory," I could grow
          certain varieties very closely together. Whealy sometimes helpfully
          notes which varieties have proved to be succesful under crowded
          conditions. >>

          Ken Whealy is the founder of Seed savers right? I did go to the
          website, but didn't find notes on some varieties. But I didn't go
          through the huge listing, so maybe they are there somewhere.

          > The bottom line is that without a mulch cover (green, natural or
          otherwise) and a selection of plant varieites known to tolerate
          crowding, you probalby won't get very far with the biointensive
          method. >>

          Thanks. He doesn't mention this in his book. We do have 2 large
          gardens and access to 50 acres of old grain fields, so have lots of
          room and don't have to plant intensively. Just interested and was
          trying to save watering in our droughty climate.
          Regards
          Heather


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