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These vids are well worth watching. Gives you the science behind mulching and no dig.


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That corn in last video was so tall, almost twice the height of the man. 

Very interesting to watch, if we can use some of those principles in our own backyards, we should have improvements.  Rain on uncovered soil can do some damage to the soil structure.  

It shows that certain plants can do the hard work in the garden, we only have to push a roller through it.

Thanks for sharing Dave.

As most of my beds are wicking beds lined with plastic and of a limited size, rolling is not really an option. I've armed myself with some hand shears and they work OK to cut the plants off at the soil level. I've found grasses will just spring up again as their growing point is way down so I've stopped using grasses and stick to readily-available keen growers Buckwheat, Sunflower and when I can get them, Mung beans. A greater variety is probably worth the while but have found these seeds are reasonably easy to get and cheap enough I can sow them thickly. The produce store where I used to buy Mung beans for $2 a kilo has closed so a new source has to be found - or some other legume that's readily available.

Have you ever tried Pinto peanut?   Sometimes Bunnies sell punnets with them.  Are they the peanut that we eat.

No coz the Mung Beans were so cheap and plentiful. Idea with cover crop is not to grow it to maturity though so it would be a waste of Pintos if just used as a cover crop.

I gather that the Cover Crop logic is ruled by these elements:

  • Suppressing weeds
  • Protecting soil from rain or runoff
  • Improving soil aggregate stability
  • Reducing surface crusting
  • Adding active organic matter to soil
  • Breaking hardpan
  • Fixing nitrogen
  • Scavenging soil nitrogen
  • Suppressing soil diseases and pests

...and I find the whole recommended plantings both daunting and confusing. It can also be expensive.

My workaround is to really mix up the vegetable plants I plant with lots of multi-cropping. No 'bed' is one  or another species. Mixed vegey planting...and mulching, of course.

And ground covers always. I try to grow beans every where in succession  -- one here, one there --but I see where my penchant for Pigeon Pea has a cover crop rationale -- especially as with harvest I chop and drop the branches. 

PPs are cheap beans to buy and with harvest you select the best to plant out again.

When the PPs die -- as mine do frequently as they are a cowardly perennial -- I use the dead trunks as climbing frames for beans or squashes.

But my big ground cover hope is my old fav -- Jack Bean (Canavalia ensiformis,) which loves my sandy soil.One seed pod will later produce many more. Later harvests of the vines makes great mulch.

An aside: I was recently installing some posts and had to dig down my arm length to do so. Sterile yellow beach sand all the way.Makes you wonder: what am I doing trying to overcome that reality? You forget upon which you walk.

This is also why my PPs die: go deep/nothing there. The aquifer/water table is 4.5 metres down through yellow sand. This I know from a next door spear pump drilling.No coffee rock. No clay.

The cover crop idea ticks all those boxes, Dave. I reckon to use whatever is to hand and find out what works for your situation after a few trials (the more trials, the less error ;-). There is a lot of variety among cover crop enthusiasts. Some drop the crop before flowering; Bob Cannard allows his to fully flower and seed. Just whatever works!

Interesting that the Vetiver Grass copes with your soil, what a find that plant was!

Yes --and Vetiver lays down MYCORRHIZAL -- and given the capacity of the roots to bulk up, that's sure to be très advantageous.

Mycorrhizae are symbiotic relationships that form between fungi and plants. The fungi colonize the root system of a host plant, providing increased water and nutrient absorption capabilities while the plant provides the fungus with carbohydrates formed from photosynthesis.

Of course, you also harvest Vetiver for mulch: Win. Win.

My challenge is to harvest my Vetiver for planting on while still exploiting the plant in situ. I'll have 'x' number of slips soon -- that's many -- and need to plan out my plantings.

I'll need over 100 to plant out for the school maze  and then more for the Vetiver hedge I'm planning as a perennial mulch crop. Among the veg -- more plantings. Plus I'm supplying a grazier friend in Dalby with stock.

When you uproot a clump of ,say, 15 stems you do lose slips in the process of division.

For BLF peeps I'm keen to be able to say --soon enough -- how many Vetiver you'd need to grow to service your mulch needs in domestic production. Given that Vetiver as mulch lasts around about 12 months on the ground the maths should pan out.

1 Vetiver plant per.... square metres of garden mulching?

I collated these images as an example of Vetiver plantings in a vegey garden. LINK

#2 is the most useful video I found. #1 for background. #3 and #4 for extra info. There is a #5 and #6 but mainly for farmers.

Great share Dave.  Thanks mate. 

Excellent info.  Thanks.


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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

Place your business add here! ($5 per month or $25 for 9 months)

Talk to Andy on 0422 022 961.  You can  Pay on this link

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