larry & all, concerning print paper & carboard as mulch...i've been trusting the studies done p.r. goodrich of the dept. of agricultural engineering of the university of minnesota & b.d. backus & all: (article in "biological wastes 24(2),81-94) with the conclusion:
"you'd have to put 100 pounds of paper per 1000 square feet annually for more than 50 years to reach the limit set by minnesota for zinc accumulation in soil. much heavier applications of mulch would be needed to reach the limits set for accumulations of other metals..."
that refers to western's newsprints without glazed colors, as most cheap inks today are made out of soybeans...but if u are going to put some of that underground: rather than chopping it, etc. crumble it (& pee on it) before burying it...that will give some air & nitrogen to get him quickly integrated...earthworms just love paper/cardboard!
& for the paths: sawdust (from true wood, not plywood) is the best material to put on them: it's pleasant to walk on it & the soil under won't suffer compaction & when thick it won't let much "weeds" come through & after a year when it's all dark (& composted) it can be put as mulch on the beds & start with a fresh batch on the paths...
concerning root behaviour on humid tropics...u wouldn't want seeds from plants with that tendency if u are in any dry-air climate... they would require constant watering & even then they would not grow well! so what can be an asset in one place may be a hazzle in another...
ngo's...by the time i came back from a humanitarian project in africa i had reconsidered ngo's real existence: be them smaller or bigger...the ones i came accross had all one may concern: how to keep getting subsidies, etc so as to get the salaries from the staff going...the actual money (& time) liberated for projects i'm even afraid to propose a % of what was coming in!
& when i see how much poverty & misery exits in some areas of the so-called rich countries, i always wonder why there is more attraction for getting involved in exotic far away projects than the ones that could be started in one's own hometown, or the nearest reservation...
----- Original Message -----
From: Larry Haftl
Sent: Tuesday, December 24, 2002 3:46 AM
Subject: RE: [fukuoka_farming] bed-makingl
Glad you never took my inadvertant advice... :)
>Not too sure Larry, but as if i have a feeling; the newapaper is still
>toxic. (my skeptical self...)
I followed you tip and found the same thing.
"The study indicated that some annual plants may have a slight reaction
to the aluminum contained in the newspaper mulches (inherent to the
manufacturing process of paper), so additional chemical treatment
may be needed to counteract that problem."
"Jim Bannon, director of the E.V. Smith Center, showed the group
results of tests using ground up newsprint, yard trash, and other
waste by-products as mulch for tomatoes. Newsprint and wood chips
both were phytotoxic to the tomato plants. When poultry litter was
added to the mulch, plants showed significantly less damage. "We
believe the aluminum in newsprint plays a role in causing phytotoxicity
and the poultry litter ties up some of the aluminum, but in any case,
newsprint alone has not proven to be a good mulch for tomatoes in
our tests," Bannon stated."
"We have found that the newsprint increases the organic matter in
the soil, which is a real benefit for most Alabama soils," said Bannon.
"But we also found that it inhibits the growth of some crops, and
also some weeds."
But to show you how little is actually known or understood about
this I also found this:
"In Ohio, researchers compared yields of tomatoes and sweet corn
on plots with no mulch to those in plots with 4-6" of straw or 6-
8" of newspaper mulch. Highest yields for both crops were found on
plots receiving shredded newspaper. Both mulches suppressed annual
weeds but gave poor control of perennial weeds like Canada thistle
and yellow nutsedge"
I know that aluminum is used in the manufacture of newprint, and
it seems that aluminum ties up phosphorus in the soil and also in
chicken litter, so the appeal of newsprint diminishes.
I wonder what would happen if I buried straw bales? Both wheat and
grass straw is affordably available around here. I've read that wheat
straw seems to be more durable as a mulch. I think either is celluostic/carbonistic
as Emilia described. Maybe that would be the best option?
Thanks for the advice. It really helps.
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