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Clover & other underplantings

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  • sinniss@shaw.ca
    Hello everyone, I m looking at seed catalogs at the moment, including sections on ground covers. I think someone mentioned a while back that white clover is
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 23, 2003
      Hello everyone,

      I'm looking at seed catalogs at the moment, including sections on ground
      covers. I think someone mentioned a while back that white clover is not
      necessarily successful in all climates, and that some have found
      alternatives. I wonder what those covers are, and what those experiences
      are? With upcoming climate changes, even those of us who have been
      successful with white clover to date may want to know what else might
      work.

      To begin with, my own experience. In my cool and rainy climate, white
      clover has been quite useful. I have used it as an underplanting with
      potatoes, and have done the same with squash and corn. Mixtures of
      clover with cabbage crops or with beans were not successful, but this
      was because deer came by and ate the vegetables to the ground (leaving
      the clover). I will try again this year. I anticipate some long term
      problems with slugs, since the clover will provide cooler and moister
      conditions which will allow them to survive in greater numbers and then
      come out to eat my crops.

      Other comments/ experiences?

      Stephen
    • jamie
      Hello Stephen, I had no success with white clover which was no surprise to local organic growers as it s too dry here. Alternatives would be alfalfa (Medicago
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 23, 2003
        Hello Stephen, I had no success with white clover which was no surprise to
        local organic growers as it's too dry here. Alternatives would be alfalfa
        (Medicago sativa) and black medic (M. lupulina, minette in French) though
        they both grow rather tall and are therefore of less use when used as a
        cover crop in veg (they shade out the veg).

        I've sown some alfalfa but have allowed nitrogen fixing volunteers (or those
        that look like they are) have some space to thrive and set seed. There's one
        growing now but I've still not identified it.

        Of course another tactic is simply to use leguminous veg in rotation with
        veg that is nitrogen hungry, but do bear in mind that the nitrogen fixed by
        their roots will only be made available to others when they die (and when
        there's the right symbiotic bacteria already present in the soil).

        Slugs just are! While ducks can help, as can toads, lizards, hedgehogs and
        non-natural solutions like coffee grounds, sand or beer traps but they are
        mostly a problem for consumers who have become used to perfect veg, which
        have been perfected by the use of slug poisons.

        Jamie
        Souscayrous

        -----Original Message-----
        From: sinniss@... [mailto:sinniss@...]
        Sent: mardi 23 d├ęcembre 2003 16:55
        To: Fukuoka Farming
        Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Clover & other underplantings


        Hello everyone,

        I'm looking at seed catalogs at the moment, including sections on ground
        covers. I think someone mentioned a while back that white clover is not
        necessarily successful in all climates, and that some have found
        alternatives. I wonder what those covers are, and what those experiences
        are? With upcoming climate changes, even those of us who have been
        successful with white clover to date may want to know what else might
        work.

        To begin with, my own experience. In my cool and rainy climate, white
        clover has been quite useful. I have used it as an underplanting with
        potatoes, and have done the same with squash and corn. Mixtures of
        clover with cabbage crops or with beans were not successful, but this
        was because deer came by and ate the vegetables to the ground (leaving
        the clover). I will try again this year. I anticipate some long term
        problems with slugs, since the clover will provide cooler and moister
        conditions which will allow them to survive in greater numbers and then
        come out to eat my crops.

        Other comments/ experiences?

        Stephen





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      • John Warner
        Hello everyone, I have experimented with dichondra, D. micrantha [formerly D. repens], but discontinued it when it became apparant that the plugs I took were
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 23, 2003
          Hello everyone,

          I have experimented with dichondra, D. micrantha [formerly D. repens], but discontinued it when it became apparant that the plugs I took were contaminated with bermudagrass. Still, I think the possibilities are excellent for it as an underplanting. When I get an easy opportunity to get a seed package of it I'll grow some clean plugs and try again. It needs plenty of water and where temperatures drop below 25F, performance is marginalized. It's in the morningglory family but much too weak to take over as it's larger cousins might.

          In my mediterranian climate, white clover does very well but irrigation is an absolute requirement. I have noticed two nitrogan fixers that have nicely established themselves in abandoned areas this climate: sweetclover is very strong and is found in both white and yellow flowered sorts. Another is birdsfoot trefoil of which I have seen prostrate types that should do well under foot.

          Good growing . . . John



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • LESLIEANDMARC@aol.com
          Black Medic is beautiful but is a pest in the lawn and garden.... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 27, 2003
            Black Medic is beautiful but is a pest in the lawn and garden....


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