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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
On Tue, 30 Jan 2007 03:19:13 +0000, Maryc
With peace and brightest of blessings,
"Be Content With What You Have And
May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In
A World That You May Not Understand."
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. :)
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
Len;s Straw-Bale garden is at
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.
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
What are they shot with in the UK? I thought firearms had been banned there.
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.
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
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.
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.
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