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RE: [fukuoka_farming] Synthitic Carpet Mulch [continued]

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  • jamie
    Hello John, I think what you outline here for rotations, watering and carpet use is an insightful evolution, saving time and water and improving fertility.
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 17, 2003
      Hello John, I think what you outline here for rotations, watering and carpet
      use is an insightful evolution, saving time and water and improving

      Have a good time in Kansas and when you come back I'd like to know how Blake
      is like the Tao Te Ching, Blake was mad, interesting, but definitely mad.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: John Warner [mailto:daddyoat@...]
      Sent: lundi 17 novembre 2003 14:50
      To: Fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Synthitic Carpet Mulch [continued]

      Thank you Jamie and Les for your extensive comments on carpeting.

      I've been giving the most serious consideration to the problems with
      irrigation that Jamie has been pointing out. Actually I'm had nagging
      doubts that I have not been doing it right for some time. During the
      rainless summers here near Fresno, California, my 2 horsepower well pump
      runs all day, every day, and sometimes into the night, watering, to a large
      extent, spent flower crops and weeds already killed with RoundUp. I have
      thought it a virtue to have biologically integrated beds--each bed holding a
      variety of crops, even mixing in alfalfa and clover. An idea that I've
      found unsustainable is selectively yanking out old crops and plugging new
      crops in the holes in the beds. There are some problems with this. One is
      that the babies hardly ever amount to much when planted alongside more
      robust and mature neighbors. Another is that new plantings get scattered
      all around my acre garden but the daily hand watering required to get them
      established gets quite unmanageable. Walking and dragging hose are n
      ot tasks that have much direct payoff in the market garden.

      So I am coming to the conclusion that everything needs to be getting off to
      an even start. This means breaking down my 150 beds in to separately
      irrigated, say, 50 foot beds all planted to the same crop at the same time.
      Then as soon as the crop is over the hill, the water gets shut off and
      preparation starts for the next planting.

      No-till has been defined as planting into a "killed cover crop". I
      side-step this a little bit by growing my some of my mulch in my very wide
      interbeds for raking up and applying to the permanent beds covered with more
      or less permanent drip tape. Mowing over drip tape is not a very viable
      practice because one ends up fixing a lot of drip tape. Even splinters
      thrown by the mower blade will damage the tape and repair couplings cost 60
      cents or so and take time to install. And, thanks to Jamie and others on
      this list, I have growing doubts about RoundUp.

      So I'm thinking of a way to use carpeting that goes beyond cutting it into
      strips, laying them on a previously mulched bed [mulch weed contaminated
      though and decomposed and mixed with enough soil to support weed
      germination]. This is to cut the carpeting into 4 to 6 foot squares to
      apply on top of a stomped down or rolled down previous crop laced with sheet
      mulched material from the interbeds. Jamie has raised the correct objection
      that nothing is going to grow up through the carpeting and consequently the
      carpeting will lead to an overall deterioration of soil quality or perhaps
      less increase in quality that might be otherwise possible] due to less
      production of organic matter. But this objection would be side-stepped by
      only leaving the carpeting in place for the 30 or 40 days, or perhaps a
      little longer, that Les has suggested. Now think of this, Fukuokans:
      suppose one's garden had 12 thousand square yards [or meters] of beds and
      this aspiring-to-get-more-with-less gardener cup up 100 square ya
      rds of old carpeting as mentioned above. She would then have enough
      carpeting to keep one twelfth of the beds covered at all times. On a
      monthly rotation,all beds could be weed sanitized once a year. A somewhat
      longer treatment may be necessary--I would think particularly for nasty
      perennials such as nut sedge, johnsongrass and bindweed. This then would
      seem to be a very viable alternative to herbicide, tillage, hand or
      mechanical cultivation. And I think it would overcome Jamie's objection
      with respect to impingement of overall plant growth particularly when seen
      in the light of the other inputs the carpeting would replace.

      It has been my desire to live the very simple life suggested in the Tao Te
      Ching -- and by Blake too -- to see the world in a grain of soil and to know
      the world without ever having to leave earshot of the crowing cocks and
      barking dogs in my own neighborhood. But I'll be leaving tonight on one of
      them there fancy airplanes for Kansas City to visit a lady whose charms are
      such that she might possibly persuade George W. Bush to consider pacifism as
      a life-style. I'll be leaving the garden [and the kids too--I'm a single
      daddy] ] to the self-organizing principle of wu wei and do not expec to be
      doing much posting in the next week or more.

      I'll try to catch up when I return.

      Best wishes to all . . . John

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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