I can live with the onion thingies, so I still stand by my
People who can garden their way out of bank vault probably won't want
use landscape fabric, but if you're an average lazy guy, it's good
For those really lazy guy, that neglect a corner of garden and let
small bush or tree grow on top of the landscape fabric, I can't
imagine how they will going to separate the landscape fabric from the
mulch(humus) on top, soil below, and plant in between. <g>
I'm agree with you that there is no single way for every situation.
But 'correct' here I'm refer to the claim are true to the fact.
This still need another few years to test it out when some new need
come in. Maybe by the time another alternative fit better than mulch.
I'm also looking at live mulch(ground cover) now.
I test out that Perennial peanut(Arachis) work well as live mulch
It grow low, can grow under shading, not appear to compete with crop
plant, do suppress weed germinate from seed, decaying dead root do
provide organic matter and nutrient. It make available by exchange
carbon for N and P with bacterial(N) and fungus(P).
Weed that grow through the live mulch can be weeded by handheld string
trimmer or sickle.
I don't see the need to raking aside mulch, I will just top dressing
As long as you don't over mulch, the mulch will find it way to soil by
critter live in it.
I think people call this vegetation as ground cover or live mulch
depend on situation.
I will suggest using plant debris for supplement in this situation.
Latitude: 06.10N Longitude: 102.17E Altitude: 5m
I find the idea that anyone wuuld let a tree or bush grow on and through
landscape fabric ridiculous. I neglect my flower beds for months because
they don't need maintenance. After several months, I get a handful of
large weeds (hand sized or smaller) that are easily removed. In any
event, if someone were to let a tree or shrub grow through the landscape
fabric and the plant does not come out easily, it should be a simple
matter to slide the mulch aside, cut a circle in the fabric around the
bush and pry it out with a mattock, then cut another piece of fabric to
patch the hole or plant something else in the opening. Aside from that,
I suggested landscape fabric for use in a flower bed, not the corner of a
garden. If you've got particularly invasive plants around your flower
bed, you've got bigger problems that neither landscape fabric nor mulch
No matter how correct your facts are, if they aren't applicable, then it
does not matter if they are true or not.
At this point I'm not sure what you are referring to.
For a flower bed that needs to be visually appealing, I think it is
important to put amendments under the mulch. Depending on nitrogen
content, you may also want to bury them to avoid volatilization.
When I wrote that i wasn't thinking of groundcovers as much as a low
shrub with wide sunblocking canopy. I don't know if that qualifies as a
'groundcover'. The problems I have with groundcovers (such a creeping
groundcover), aside from ignorance and cheapness, is there is a potential
to create a diverse microcosm in your flower bed. So in addition to
'soil critters' you have created another layer of habitat for whatever
insects or animals that move in and the other plants you have (barring
any symbiosis) will have to compete with the groundcover. If you don't
know what you are doing, there is the potential for many problems, hence
the need for 'people who can garden their way out of a bank vault'.
Any plant debris I have either goes in the garbage or compost pile for
the vegetable garden.
There is too much of alternative ways to do a work. I don't think I
can test all of them to find out which are the most applicable, what I
do are choose some of them that look like promising, and I need the
"correct facts" to pick those I'm going to test.
I'm refer to operation on my land. It's a small one, but the ways I
test on it are what I will do when on a large land. It will take a few
years to test before I really go to large scale.
I agree with you, "for a flower bed".
I agree. For a normal gardenner, it's not worth the effort of choosing
the right groundcover. But for a bigger operation, a right
groundcover do help to save cost.
Latitude: 06.10N Longitude: 102.17E Altitude: 5m
Hi Salty Thumb,
After the second pass read though your message, I'm afraid that I can
only reply you in very short form. Due to my bad English, I had
problem in spelling and phasing my words, it do take great effort for
me to write in English. Sorry about that. :-(
It depend on the carbon are in what form. If it's sugar or starch, it
do. If it's lignin or cellulose, the effect should be unnoticeable.
Newspaper are compose mostly by cellulose.
Adding N will not always speed up the decompostion. It really depend
Mulch supress weeds not just because the physical blocking ability, it
can also leach out some chemical harm weeds. Critters in mulch will
also help to supress weeds.
But to me, I will never add N to the mulch
Yes, here the soil amendment I'm refer to improve soil structure.
I believe N fixed by bacterial using carbon as energy in orgainc mulch
will do a better job.
For this I do facing problem to explain my view. In bussiness, we talk
about total cost of ownership. In here we talk about in the total life
span of the product, how much cost involve and how much the return
For this, I'm not know enough to provide a view. Sorry about that.
Thanks for the links, I will look at it later. :-)
A few sheet of newspaper will not block earthworm.
I'm quite sure landscape fabric significantly reduce earthworm
Look at all short of filter we use, they all block. Do a test, remove
the mulch on top of your landscape fabric, put some water on top of
it, see how long it will pass through.
Mulch have critters making tunnel in it, except there is little
critter in it.
I'm refer to those nutrien that resolve in water as liquid form.
No comment. <g>
From what I read, if landscape fabric are expose to sun, will not last
From what I read, those user of landscape fabric donot take it as
"minor difficulty". <g>
No comment. <g>
Sorry, I'm getting a bit impatience. :-(
Latitude: 06.10N Longitude: 102.17E Altitude: 5m
As I understand it, for optimal decomposition, you should have a C/N
ratio of 30:1. I have read that wood chips and sawdust will reduce
nitrogen availability during decomposition when used as mulch or in a
compost pile, and I assumed that was because of the high carbon content.
Newspaper has approximately between 1/2x and 5x the carbon of sawdust
(both primarily celluose).
hmm, according to , you are right, at least for lignin decomposition.
A certain quantity of additional nitrogen will speed up anaerobic
decomposition, but excess has little or no effect. It does not say about
Yes and also fungi.
My point is if you wanted to increase nitrogen availability to the soil
to compensate for newspaper decomposition loss (if there actually is any)
you could add to the soil, but actually if you wanted newspaper for
nutrients (as opposed to weed control), you should probably do that in
the compost pile and not in the flower bed.
I agree, the amount of nitrogen fixated (if any) by electrostatic effect
over a surface is probably minor, but I mention it because occasionally
you hear about people growing huge tomatoes with panty hose (nylon) and
the effect may be similar.
In these terms, landscape fabric is USD$10 / 150 sq. ft (14 sq. meter),
with a life span of 15 years when installed properly, plus the starting
cost of mulch, USD$2-3 / 3 cubic feet (for large pine bark nuggets) at
recommended coverage rate of 4-6 inches (10-15 cm, mine is probably less
than 2 inches) and periodic replacement cost for wind or decomposition
loss. Other factors: labor savings in amount of time spent weeding,
labor increase in adding amendments, productivity comparisons if
relevant, etc. My recommendation is based on use for a home flower bed,
not a large scale or intensive operation.
In my experience, earthworms (not necessarily nightcrawlers) will
continue to crawl until it finds an existing opening and not attempt to
chew through paper to find an exit. In this way, I assume it is similar
to fabric, although there is no way the earthworm will be able to chew
through landscape fabric. These observations were in daylight, so may
not be representative of normal behaviour.
I do not think this is a problem. When it rains, I do not have a problem
with drainage, so the water must go down some where, even if the gutters
are removed (and rain falls directly from the roof to the flower bed).
If you test the fabric by itself, fast moving water (such as from a
faucet) will be deflected from the surface, but slow water (as typical
with mulch impeded flow) will drain. If it weren't porous, you might as
well just you regular black polyethylene sheeting.
I could be wrong, but I just don't see macroscopic organisms eating
vertical holes through newspaper to gain surface access.
You mean nutrients that are dissolved in water? It is possible that the
fabric (different kinds of fabric vary) will filter the dissolved
nutrients (in the same way a paper coffee filter may filter salt from
seawater). I do not know, so I would not rely on it.
Yes, this is printed on the product labeling. However, I have some
exposed pieces (DuPont Weed Control Fabric, rugged spunbonded
polypropylene, UPC 0 83014 20163 2) outside and after more than a year,
visually they all look the same as pieces that were stored in the
original bag in the garage. (I did not look at them under a microscope.)
The degradation rate probably differs in Canada and Singapore. (Not the
same product as used in my front yard, which is similar to but not
haha, perhaps the Green lacking in my Thumb is made up with my Incredible
Hi Salty, <g>
After finished another reply to your posting, I realize it is too late
to go to my land now. :-(
Never mind, since I'm in good form to write, it's better do my writing
Diamon also having high C/N ration, I can assure you it will not
reduce the N available to plant when use as mulch. <g>
It really depend on the available carbon instead of the total carbon
I believe mulch will reduce N available to plant when the carbon(in
liquid form) leach to the soil in rain, but not when there is no water
soluble carbon are present in mulch.
In my impression, newspaper does not contain much water soluble
carbon. It need enzyme to convert it, and that is a slow process.
Adding N more than substrate(mulch, soil, compost...) can hold are
waste of money, the extra N will lost in air or worse, leach to the
If I'm not wrong, cellulose are not one of the form of carbon that
directly available by bacterial.
I thinks I should use "soil live" instead of critters. <g>
I don't now what is panty hose(nylon).
I do read tomatoe will grow larger when using red "plastic sheet"? as
mulch due to the infrared and the higher warm of soil.
To explain my view, this will become a very long posting.
One of the example of the cost I refer are stocking cost, purchasing
cost(time spend on searching, barginning...), disposing cost(collect
and send to landfill..._)...
From what I read, all the earthworms will not like to expose under the
You may find earthworms gether around the opening of landscape fabric
can be due to they need to feed on plant debris at night time and seek
shelter in the soil under landscape fabric at day time. Earthworm
happen to around opening are the only survival, earthworm under the
landscape fabric that can't manage to find the opening are long dead.
I'm refer to no matter how porous landscape fabric are, it hole will
block by something by one day, either it's a plant root or clay or
Critter need shelter, food, water and air to survive. In search of
these resource, they will moving around, and creating tunnel through
everything if they can.
E.g. critter will move deeper in soil to avoid the heat at day time,
move to survice of soil to get food, move deeper when soil surface are
dry, move to survice when ground water level are high.
Plant will also grow throug the newspaper in search of resource, be it
shoot from below or root from top.
Yes, I do mean "dissolve". Thanks for your correction. :-)
I do doubt about the hole of landscape fabric are as small as this.
If it do, I can assure you neary all the rain will end up as run off,
and there will be not enough water to keep plant survive without a
drip irrigation system.
If there is some bush grow on top, and rooting through landscape
fabric, it still will be a mess even you manage to get "Incredible
Hulk" to help you. <g>
Although try to manage it, I do still affect by mood. ;-p
Latitude: 06.10N Longitude: 102.17E Altitude: 5m
Diamonds (?) do not contain any biologically accessible carbon.
Both newspaper and sawdust have high cellulose percentage. Sawdust is
reported to reduce nitrogen availability when used in a compost pile.
Many forms of N are water soluable and is leached away by water without
any interaction with C, mulch or newspaper. You may actually get
additional N during rain.
Cellulose is broken down by actinomycetes.
Despite the name and superficial resemblance, actinomycetes are
prokaryotic bacteria, phylum actinobacteria. (Fungi are all eukaryotic.)
Panty hose is something women wear on their legs. I do not know why.
Yes, I have heard that, too. I think there was a Clemson or other
Southern US university study. I am waiting for them to come out with a
UV resistant landscape fabric version. <g>
It is not necessary, I do not think the orginal poster is concerned with
those things. Have you read the sci.bio.agriculture group?
They also prefer to avoid becoming lunch.
If you read the link I posted earlier, it classifies earthworms in 3
groups. One of them i don't remember and is probably not relevant. The
other two are nightcrawlers and regular earthworms. It said that
nightcrawlers have permanent burrows, these are the ones you are talking
about that come out at night to feed on plant debris. Another link I
provided gave the population density for a certain species at some test
location as 0-7 per sq. meter. At this rate, and the size of my flower
bed, I think any detrimental effect by landscape fabric is minimal. I
think, since it is a worm, eventually it will reproduce at a sufficent
rate to exploit any available opening. The other kind of earthworm does
not live in static burrows and only comes out during times of rain. I
would guess that being subterranean, they would also be minimally
affected by landscape fabric.
I don't think plant roots are impermeable to water. I don't know how a
chunk of clay is going to get into my flower bed. It has been several
years and I have no problems with water blockage. Even if some clay or
other amendment (as below) were spread over the fabric, water is a very
effective solvent and while the clay or amendment is not guarranteed to
pass, the water certainly will.
You can try this experiment: Cover some soil with newspaper. Time how
long it takes to develop an opening. It takes over 2 months in a
temperate climate. Any holes that develop are not from macroscopic
organisms. Plants will grow through, but those opening are not available
to macroscopic organisms (being blocked by the plant). Gradually, in wet
areas of the paper, actinomycetes or other microscopic organisms will
weaken the newspaper until a hole forms or mechanical action (wind,
water, etc) hastens the break down. I will be surprised if you can come
up with any large organism (other than termites, paper wasps and people)
that will deliberately make a hole in the newspaper. To be fair, cover
half the newspaper with organic mulch (I have not tried this) and see
what happens. You can cover the other half with a banana leaf or
something if you are worried about sun effects on organisms (you can take
the leaf off when it rains or artifically add water to simulate tho
condition). I predict the only difference is that mulch side will have
accelerated decomposition (1 month to first hole vs. 2 months).
It's not just the size of the hole but also any electrical or chemical
effects that may cause what ever you are adding to clump together
(similar to hard water calcification of drain pipes on a smaller scale).
Also, the landscape fabric regardless of the holes may be semi-porous to
water. That is not necessarily true for the solute. [by 'hole' in this
case, I'm refering to the factory made approx. millimeter sized openings
uniformly distributed over fabric area, not the openings made by users to
Your peanut groundcover is more likely to grow to 2 meters tall and start
dancing around with a top hat, cane and monocle.
Yes, "diamond" not diamon.
This is my point, it's the carbon available to bacterial, not the
actual amount of carbon that causing temperary N deficiency.
If the carbon do in a slow release form for bacterial, it will not
cause a suddent bacterial bloom even there is a lot of carbon there.
I believe that is starch and sugar in the sawdust that cause this, not
cellulose or lignin. I believe newspaper do lost some of it starch and
sugar while in the process.
So, either mulch will cause temporary N deficiency or not will depend
on the C/N ratio make available by rain to soil bacterial.
I will say that, some mulch will and some mulch will not causing
temporary N deficiency. It will depend on the amount of the C and N
available to bacterial that do bring to soil by rain water.
I believe this process are rather slow. Do actinomycetes got the
ability of N fixation from air?
To tell the true, I don't know what is actinomycetes. <g>
You are right.
I do take a look there when I looking for agriculture newsgroup few
month ago. Forgetted why I decide not to subscribe this group. May be
due to the lack of traffic, or it's more on academic than practical.
Do you think it's good for me to looking information there?
I'm doing a research for X/HTML now for writing some program, will
read the link you provide later.
1. Litter dweller. Those live in the litter/mulch. E.g. red worm for
2. Surface dweller. Those "regular earthworms" work their way most of
the time horizontally.
3. Burrower. Nightcrawler/dew worm.
The reason of some place are 0 per sq. meter, the other are 7 per sq.
meter are due to the environment of that place.
I do believe that for a same place, a landscape fabric do reduce the
earthworm population by reduce the accessability to food for
Yes, to a far lower population in the total area.
They do need food, the landscape fabric do block organic matter to
reach the soil. If you mixed in a lot of manure yearly to the soil
that is another story.
It do reduce the infiltration, and causing run off when rain are
Put other organic mulch on top of newspaper, it make difference.
I believe soil life do included those like earthworm, groundbettle,
Plants roots will dead, especially feeder roots, after the dead roots
decay, tunnels are there. This applied to fungus as well.
Here I do saw rat making big holes anywhere. ;-)
It really depend on how abundant life form are there. An example are,
I put the newspapers under my curing compost that have abundant of
groundbettle, millipete, earthworm... I do quite sure it take less
than three days to have a first hole that go through all the layer of
newspaper if the newspaper are wet.
My point are, if the end result are nutrient in liquid form can be
filter/block, it's sure that it also will causing run off, and not
much water can get from rain for soil that is directly under the
landscape fabric. So why landscape fabric? ;-)
Sure, if the rain are long and light, it's another story.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. The carbon in cellulose is not going
to be released in any significant quantitiy without bacterial action.
The bacteria will not have action without also N being present. When
both are present the bacteria will use both the N and C, making less N
available for plants. [I don't know what happens to the N after the
bacteria get it (it has to go somewhere)]. Regardless, bacteria will not
be able to decompose diamonds.
Cellulose is made from repeating units of glucose (a simple sugar) .
Starch is also made from glucose . So unless there is some other form
of sugar you are thinking of, I don't think so.
I think the amount of N from rain is relatively minor, but I do think the
water and biological activity is important, otherwise the decay rate is
slow. If you have low N to start, then the decay rate will be low and
your plants have low N. If you have high N, some of that N will be used
by decomposers leaving X amount for the plants, which still might lead to
low N. If your top layer is biologically active, then most of N from
rain will be intercepted before it reaches the plant roots.
I think the speed is dependent on N availability, temperature and maybe
water availability. I don't think they can fixate N from air like legume
inhabiting bacteria (rhizobium, phylum proteobacteria) or others, so they
have to use other sources (otherwise, wood would decay quite quickly in
"The mulitcellular actinobacteria include filamentous prokaryotes that
were originally mistaken for fungi. Unfortunately, even though they are
prokaryotic in all of their features, they are still sometimes called
'actinomycetes'." _Five Kingdoms_, Margulis and Schwartz, p.98, 3rd ed
1997. [-mycetes = plural of Greek "mykes" = "fungus"]
The other important thing to know about actinomycetes is that they
I only checked a few times, and you are right, aside from the spam, the
traffic is light and usually very academic. But if I were using my land
for commercial interests, I would keep an eye on it.
hmm ... I don't know what happened to the group ... I only see
sci.agriculture now (no '.bio') and that has quite a bit of useless junk
I see it probably doesn't say anything you don't already know.
I think if there is any population loss for type #3 in my case it is
neglibile. The total area of my flower bed is not large and assume the
original poster's is more or less the same. Additionally, one dimension
is significantly shorter than the other, so migration is not severely
affected. This is also assuming the normal population is in the 0-7 per
sq. meter range.
I do not know exactly what earthworms(#2) eat, but plants do secret
organic debris from their roots, so perhaps falling surface debris is not
the only source of food for them.
I have not noticed this, but there is a gutter above the flower bed that
blocks most water flow. But even when the gutter was removed I did not
notice any pooling.
Now, if that is true, then won't the weed blocking effect of the
newspaper be mitigated? It seems to be of marginal benefit when being
used in an active flower bed. You would have to rely on the soil biota
(which would occur with or without the newspaper) for suppression after
the newspaper decays. There may be significant initial suppression, but
it seems to me that would be eventually negated by the additional
fertility (of decaying mulch and other amendments).
I only noticed bacterial decay when I tried, but I did not cover with
Yes, but this takes time.
okay, "and rats"
See above ... won't this make the newspaper less useful for weed
okay, but why would you add nutrient to the surface of your mulch (and
not directly to your flowers) or at least under the mulch? I know you
said you like to top dress, and let organisms do the transport, but this
seems inefficient for a small scale (ranking time to nutrient
accessiblity higher than labor time).
I think you are wrong about the soil not getting much water. I rarely
water my flower bed, and have the gutter blocking run-off from the roof,
and the plants appear very healthy.
The good thing about landscape fabric is you don't have to spend any time
weeding. Once every three months (or even longer), you can take a look,
a few thing may grow on top and these can be picked off by hand. No
significant root penetration occurs, so even a child could do it.
More importantly, there is no significant penalty for delayed removal.
Without landscape fabric, a weed may grow quite large and maybe even go
to seed or vegatatively propagate in 3 months (at the same time competing
with desirable plants for resources). With landscape fabric, the weed
may grow large, but the root system will be significantly impaired and
probably will not seed before it is pulled.
Think about fertilizer, there is water soluble and slow release. I
believe carbon do so. I believe sugar and starch are water soluble,
cellulose and lignin are slow release.
For a fertilizer, it will causing root burn or not does not really
relate to the amount of element it contain. With the same content of
element, a water soluble fertilizer will surely having bigger chance
to cause root burn than a slow release fertilizer.
Let say there are total carbon enough to construct 1000 bacterial, but
If the carbon make availble(release) in any bacterial life cycle are
just enough to maintain 10 bacterial, no more than 10 bacterial will
coexist at any given time period.
IIRC, a lot of the form of carbon can be change to
available form by enzyme, and there is also a lot of the life form do
secrete these enzyme. If I'm not wrong, when those carbon in
unavailble form pass through the earthworm digesting system, the
enzyme secrete by earthworm do convert them to available form for
bacterial. Fungus do secrete enzyme too.
Oxidization also will turn it to plant available form. <g>
I do come across the explanation before, but it's too technical for
me, so I just skip that part.
My explanation are:
Put one part of flour in ten part of water in a container, stir it.
Put one part of newspaper in ten part of water in another container,
stir it also. You will see the different. <g>
Thanks for the links. I do hope it's something that easy to
"AY-279 Earthworms and Crop Management"
I personally think this earthworm article as the best I read in
website are because it's something easy to understand for me, not
because it's the one that go to the most detail.
What I try to say are: Put a KG of flour as mulch to one plant. Put a
KG of cotton as mulch to another plant. Sprinkle some amount of
water(rain) on top of both "mulch", and see which plant leaves will
turn to yellow due to the carbon bring down by water from mulch.
Maximum number of life form are limited by resource, it included
space, water, air, and other element. The one that lack of will become
the factor of constrain, and those resource that is abundance remain
When a life form are in bloom, other life form depend on this life
form also will increase in number and put this life form in check. We
call this as predator, the poo of this predator mostly in a form that
can use by plant.
Iife form convert N from one form to another form. Man eat plant get
protein give ammonia. Man cannot digest ammonia, that is convert to by
man. An bacteria convert nitrite to nitrate will not take in nitrate
Some bacteria convert the ammonia to nitrite, some bacteria convert
nitrite to nitrate, plant convert nitrate to protein.
So "if my top layer is biologically active", each life form will hold
N in one form for a period, and act as a nutrient bank, at the end
make it slowly release to the plant.
Thanks. But I do doubt I can remember all these names. <g>
I do research with searching, so instead join and reading in a
newsgroup, I will search in a newsgroup.
I join and reading in a newsgroup because I feel lonely, and want to
participate with other.
Maybe due to lack of traffic, Google discontinue to carry it.
From what I read, earhworm getting microorganisms in rotting plant
debris by ingesting(eatting) rotting plant debris. So if there is more
rotting plant debris available, there is more food for earthworm.
As you said, I think the main purpose of newspaper are the initial
suppression before it decay.
Except initial supression before decay, I think newspaper are for
press down the weed.
Take my case as example, I do cut/mow or roll down the weed before
apply mulch, without doing this, the mulch will be hard to distribute
evenly. With newspaper, I think I don't need cut/mow or roll down the
I never top dress nutrient on my mulch. But I do suggest if someone
need to do fertilization after mulching, he can top dress on the
I develop/build up my soil fertility/organic matter before planting
crop, and use organic mulch to maintain the soil fertility/organic
As you said, your flower bed are narrow. And if your ground are
level, that will not much run off can occurs.
When weed go through the mulch:
In my case of not using newspaper, I will use sickle or handheld
string trimmer cut off the weed part that on top of mulch, on top of
the weed debris, add some more mulch. This will last about two month.
Using newspaper, I will simply laydown the newspaper on top of the
weed, add some more mulch. I believe it will last more than two month.
BTW: Weed here grow quite fast, today I cut it to the ground, next day
it can grow up to one and half inches. Weeding without mulch are not
the way to go.
Getting sleepy, brain are not clear now, write shorter. :-)
4:04 AM here.
Latitude: 06.10N Longitude: 102.17E Altitude: 5m
okay, sure, I can go along with the concept that carbon locked in
cellulose and lignin usually do not as easily participate in reactions as
I think the difference between slow release fertilizers and cellulose is
that the coatings on slow release fertilizers are designed to degrade
mechanically or chemically (wind/water action, soil chemistry or natural
instability) and not by biological effect. The speed at which cellulose
decays can be accelerated or decelerated by the presence or absense of
nitrogen (and water). I don't think that is true of slow release
fertilizers. So while wood is usually a 'slow release form', with the
addition of nitrogen in a biologically active situation it ceases to be
'slow release'. Similar degradation does not occur with the fertilizers
in the time scale of normal (non-compost) bed, because quite frankly,
normal bacteria don't have much to gain by decomposing artifical
fertilizer pellets. To put another way, if the carbon is milk and
nitrogen is cookies, when the bacteria see the two together, they are
going to eat regardless of any ideas about 'slow release'.
I think this is still dependent on the presense of nitrogen to make
proteins with energy supplied from the carbons.
Okay, but I'm not saying the starch in flour isn't different from the
cellulose in newspaper. I'm saying newspaper and sawdust probably have
similar nitrogen leaching effects due to the cellulose content. Do the
same experiment with sawdust and compare to the flour. Even if you shred
the newspaper or stick it in a blender, I think you will find them both
more similar to each other than to the flour.
I think yellow leaves are a sign of nitrogen deficiency. My explanation
is the soil organisms are using the nitrogen and the very accessible
carbon in the flour (which also easily washes down into the soil). So
it's not really the carbon, it's the hungry soil organisms that see the
carbon but also need nitrogen to digest it, leaving little nitrogen for
plants and then the leaves turn yellow. The plant may also not like some
of the gluten in the flour. The cotton is cellulose and less accessible
than flour, but that doesn't mean it wont't cause some nitrogen
deficiency by intercepting nitrogen that would normally wash through the
yea, but not all forms of nutrients are exclusive, the set of resources
required by bacteria is less than that of plants, so it is less likely
that deficiency in one will limit the population. (For example bacteria
may only need C, N, H20, and plants need H20, CO2, N, Fe, P, K, so
limiting Fe will not limit bacterial population, but will limit plant
population). Also, discounting the presence of legumes, your plants are
not going to have a nitrogen generating source below the soil. The
nitrogen will wash down from above and the bacteria in the top layer will
have first access.
If I were in your situation, I would probably do the same + the living
mulch or cover crop you mentioned earlier. The only difference is I may
worry about weeds resprouting from roots, so I may dig them out instead
of cutting them if it is not too time consuming. Maybe also some
research into plants that are alleopathic to the weeds.
There is bacterial that exist in soil freely that can use carbon as
energy to fix N without work with legume, and release the N to plant
available form when they die and decay. :-)
Yes, it's not cost effective to remove the weeds root.
BTW: I do enjoy to read your posting, but it become a stress for me to
reply you. I read quite fast, it take not more than 10 minute to read
your post. But I write slow, it take nearly 2 hours to reply you. I
hope next time we talk again it will be some simpler one. :-)
Latitude: 06.10N Longitude: 102.17E Altitude: 5m
Thanks for taking the time to explain the benefits of using newspaper.
I didn't know that the landscape fabrics can prevent earthworms from
living under it. This really makes me pause.
I will have to think this through. Honestly, I don't really know what
to do at this point. I am sure I will think of something.
Well, Wong stated very good reasons and I agree with them, so I won't
repeat them here. I went to totally organic, lasagna gardening two years
ago, and my flower beds have never been better and have few weeds. It's all
in feeding the soil and feeding the earthworms. Plastic landscape fabric
defeats all those good things from happening.
And, I do much less work, since I just throw a new layer of mulch on top
and don't even work it in, just like Nature does. This retains the basic
soil structure and doesn't disturb all the biological organisms.
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