RE: [fukuoka_farming] Synthitic Carpet Mulch [continued]
- 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.
From: John Warner [mailto:daddyoat@...]
Sent: lundi 17 novembre 2003 14:50
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
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