No dig gardens

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Dave wrote:

I don't know about acorn, but I did grow butternut once, before I was told it was impossible! It was a heat-wave year, and they did rather well. Others here will tell you not to bother, as (unless they've produced a variety suitable for the British climate) they want a long hot summer. If you don't get many replies, a Google Groups search of the group archive will bring up a lot of stuff from the past couple of years.
I don't think soil testing is worth the expense for most amateurs: if your garden grows stuff, and you do the usual feeding routine, it's OK.
--
Mike.



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Mike Lyle wrote:

Oh, this thread is being cross-posted across three groups. I'm located in the midwest US. The Summer here can be quite hot and dry. In fact it was rather difficult to judge when the mulched plot needed water. UK weather is probably similar to the northwest US.
Dave
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Hi All, I have grown butternut squash [ Butternut Sprinter ] with success in most years. Hope this helps you.
Richard M. Watkin.

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R M. Watkin wrote:

So what plants are thought to be optimal for a no-till plot? My hope was that the weeds would be kept under control for squash -- which are difficult to weed -- but as the season wore on the weeds got pretty thick. Some weeds seem to be effective mulch penetrators. Also I guess I didn't really employ "no-till" but till once in the Spring and then add another layer of mulch on top of that. With that is mind is there anything else should I till in, such as lime? I have a source of horse manure but figure that will be loaded with weed seeds. Thanks.
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If you lay down a piece of cardboard, punch a central hole for the squash plant, and then cover with mulch, brambles might make it through, but most weeds won't.
When you ask about which plants are optimal for a no-till plot, I assume you mean "clay plot". A sandy plot will be OK with any plant. Plants that break the soil effectively include radicchio, fava, cardoon, mache, and potato. Anything with a taproot, though the latter two do not have one. Even carrot, parsnip, and beets, if you don't mind the misshapen roots too much.
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simy1 wrote:

Yes, I might try some sort of barrier this year. How about newspaper? I guess my question has more to do with the quality of the mulch soil. The several layers of mulch are still deteriorating so I presume this may favor plants which tolerate acidic low-nitrogen soils??? Thanks.
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Newspapers are fine, but if you want to kill brambles and grass, cardboard is better. But more important than cardboard vs newspapers, The secret to a good kill is to apply the mulch after growth has resumed. That way you push down the shoot, and you have a long time before the paper breaks down and lets perennials through.
There are plants that like degrading mulch, most notably tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, squash. Degrading mulch tends to be acidic, but not all the time, and not necessarily low nitrogen unless you use very brown materials. Lettuce, for example, is sensitive to acidity, but it will be very happy if planted directly through six month old leaves mixed with some manure. In practice I always give wood ash to just about anything i grow except potatoes (I have acid soil, and I prefer wood chips, the most acid mulch of all, because I plant most everything in seedling form).
Over time the pH of the degrading mulch climbs up to near neutral values as it becomes soil. It will start to look like soil. There are tricks that you can play. First, if you use leaves as mulch, they will be 99% gone by next year, with a decent pH, so you can seed directly in the resulting soil. If you use chunkier mulch, like wood chips, you will have weed protection for two years or more, but you will have to plant through the chips until they are gone. Wood chips start quite low in pH but when they are done their soil is similar to that made of other mulches, if possible with a stronger humus. If you use cardboard covered with leaves or mulch, the cardboard is 99% gone the next year. if your mulch is not quite done, and you want to seed directly there, gently rake it to one side of the bed. Use that side for potatoes or garlic, and the raked part for carrots and beets. The raked part will have more weed seeds than if you had not raked it, but still less than the soil underneath it.
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Mulch Mulch Mulch Mulch with Hay and let decompose next year do the same as in Ruth's Stouts Book
Denis

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George.com Wrote:

I got the Lasagna Gradening book. So we tried it. Here in Arkansa however we have this grass that takes over everything. We tried putin the composted wood chips free from our city on top but the grass jus grew all through it. So this winter we have put black plastic over th whole garden hoping to smother it out. I will have to let you know whe it is closer to spring, whether it helped or not
-- Maryc
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shit, that post has resurfaced after a while. My raised/no dig gardens have been in 2 seasons now. They got filled with a combination of everything from soil and compost to horse poop, old hay, coffee grounds and grass clippings. Worms mixed everything together nicely. The beds, of which there are 5, have been planted with a good variety of crops and minimal digging, some initial earthing up of potatos before using straw and a small drill to put seedlings or seeds in. Mulching has occurred across 1/2 the garden over peas and tomatos though still haven't quite figured about mulching around smaller stuff like carrots, lettuces and the like. With the lettuces mind I planted them tightly so they formed a living mulch. Crop resiudes have been left on the garden to rot apart from potatos and tomatos. I have had early blight in the tomatos (crap season for them so far, few I know are getting them ripened outdoors) and some potato issue I haven't identified. I am looking at the Ps & Ts to see how they go and what might be afflicting them. As they can be temporamental my intention at this point is to dry and burn the crop residue and re-apply as ash later on. Whether the residue is ok to leave on the garden may depend what I find through the rest of the season. If I want to be careful all will be removed, dried and burnt. I am still uming and arring about cover crops over winter. I have come up with several refeences that say garlic and mustard are good ways to naturally fumigate/sterilise soil so I am thinking of following tomatoes with garlic in winter and maybe putting mustard across other beds, maybe the potatos. If it works ok I may rotate tomatos around with garlic to follow. I reckon a root crop should be ok to follow a fruit. Not too worried about green mulches as I have several piles of horse and chicken poop aging away, that'll suffice for next springs nutrients. Maybe just leave the straw in place and mustard/garlic over winter. I am coming to the conclusion of rotating tomatos and potatos every season, 4 growing spaces, tomatos followed by a year of somethign else, followed by potatos, followed by a year of something else and then back to tomatos. Every 4th year maybe garlic following on from the tomatos. Not sure whether I really need to rotate other things yet, time will tell.
rob
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g'day maryc,
lay down thick newspaper first up then start building up the bed, come visit us and see hoe we do it, never had weeds come back and take over.
On Tue, 30 Jan 2007 03:19:13 +0000, Maryc
snipped With peace and brightest of blessings,
len
-- "Be Content With What You Have And May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In A World That You May Not Understand."
http://www.lensgarden.com.au /
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gardenlen Wrote:

When we started the garden we did put down newspaper and cardboar boxes. But this grass that we have is very determined it will put ou growth up to something like 3 feet to find a foot hold. It came in fro outside the garden and not from under the newspaper. Also we had pu some grass clippings as one of the layers and It grew from that too What a mess. The stuff is trying to grow all throughout my compost pil too. Mean old grass. :)
Mar
-- Maryc
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I have done the unthinkable and used chemicals. In late-September, the proposed garden area was drenched with Round Up. Four weeks later the area was covered with black plastic held down with bricks. It will be tilled in April.
But Len's Straw-Bale Garden is really neat. But my problem is the lack of fencing and an over-abundance of deer and rabbits. Since I live in an urban area, shooting/trapping the deer is illegal. Fortunately rabbits have no friends amongst lawmakers, but you can't eat them unless you kill them after the first frost due to some disease they carry. So you either toss them in a hole or feed them.
Len;s Straw-Bale garden is at http://tinyurl.com/25vaq6
Dick
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Hi All. I have not heard about the disease that rabits carry. As far as I know they are shot all the time in the U.K. can you explain this please. Thank you.
Richard M. Watkin.

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My father was a medical doctor and he explained this to me years ago. I don't recall his explanation, but I found the following which is very much on-point at http://tinyurl.com/ysvo2q
"Tularemia is a bacterial disease of rabbits that is transmittable to man, usually through openings in the skin. Hunters who notice small white or yellow spots on the surface of the rabbit's liver when they are field dressing it should discard the entire rabbit immediately. During the early stages of the disease the liver can appear normal, though the infected rabbit may behave oddly, move slowly or be easily captured. It is a good idea to wear rubber gloves when dressing a rabbit and it is important to always cook rabbit meat thoroughly. Tularemia is transmitted between rabbits by fleas and ticks. The rabbits usually die from the disease, but it is not normally a problem once there has been a good hard frost and the temperature remains cool. A hard frost kills ticks and fleas which carry the disease and any rabbit infected prior to the freeze will normally die within a few days of contracting the disease."
This may be a global problem, a North American problem, or just a local problem, but it is a real problem.
However, never let anything stop you from killing a rabbit feasting in your garden.
Dick
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Hi, Thank you for the infomation. I have printed it of for further study.
Richard M. Watkin.
asked:

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Tularemia (also known as rabbit fever or deerfly fever) is an infectious disease in ticks and rabbits that is caused by a bacterium (Francisella tularensis). The disease was first described in Japan in 1837. Its name relates to the description in 1911 of a plague-like illness in ground squirrels in Tulare county, California (hence the name tularemia) and the subsequent work done by Dr. Edward Francis.
Tularemia occurs throughout North America and in many parts of Europe and Asia. Francisella tularensis is found worldwide in over a hundred species of wild animals, birds and insects. Some examples of animals, other than rabbits, that carry tularemia are meadow mice, ground hogs (woodchucks), ground squirrels, tree squirrels, beavers, coyotes, muskrats, opossums, sheep, and various game birds.
A hard freeze tends to wipe out the weaker infected animals, so that is why we don't eat wild rabbits around here until at least one or two good frostings.
What are they shot with in the UK? I thought firearms had been banned there.

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Hi All, Rabbits are shot with an air rifle, or some people prefer a shot gun. You need a fire arms certificte for a shot gun, but not for an air gun below a certain power. A non F. A. C. rated air rifle will kill a rabbit . hope this helps you .
Richard M. Watkin.

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Crap propaganda from the NRA.
Handguns are banned for the public. Shotguns and rifles are still permitted under license. I don't know any farmers who don't own a shotgun. Around any UK airport, or Parliament, you'll see armed police. Sport shooting/hunting of game (birds, deer) is a gigantic business in the UK.
We don;t have any tularemia in rabbits here, so they are still eaten. You can still buy wild rabbit in many rural butcher shops. One of my farm neighbours shot 600 on his farm in one night, and sold enough of them to cover his expenses.
Janet (UK)
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Shot 600 in one night! Wow, he must have had them line up in front of a machine gun turret. :)
I understand that in OZ you can make a decent living from killing rabbits and kangaroos.
Until my father could no longer get around, saturday dinner at his house from mid-November until May was apple-fed rabbit meat.
Dick
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