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Living Mulch

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Living Mulch

Post  zackshea on 4/7/2015, 4:19 pm

Has anyone tried a living mulch in a SFG?  I looked but didn't see any posts about it.

http://www.veggiegardener.com/what-is-living-mulch/

I personally love sweet alyssum, both pink and white varieties.

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/7/2015, 4:42 pm

Hm, interesting but I would wonder if the cover crop wouldn't take away the moisture & nutrients meant for the veggies. Also, since the SFG method is to plant intensively, there isn't much space to use cover crops cautiously or to sow seeds in dedicated areas.

If you try it, I'd love to see photos and hear about the results. Very Happy

Btw, glad you\'re here to the forum! Where are you located? Are you growing anything now?

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  Turan on 4/7/2015, 11:45 pm

I grow alysum in the greenhouse under tomatoes.  The bees and hover wasps love it and so do I.  Then there is self seeding cilantro among the peas and broccoli and chamomile in the beans.  O and a leaf lettuce under some tomatoes too.  Basically this is companion planting, fitting together a shallow rooted low growing plant with a taller deeper rooted plant.

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  zackshea on 4/8/2015, 8:23 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:Hm, interesting but I would wonder if the cover crop wouldn't take away the moisture & nutrients meant for the veggies.  Also, since the SFG method is to plant intensively, there isn't much space to use cover crops cautiously or to sow seeds in dedicated areas.

If you try it, I'd love to see photos and hear about the results.  Very Happy

Btw,  glad you\'re here  to the forum!  Where are you located?  Are you growing anything now?

CC
Thanks!  I have been following this forum for 2 years now, but I never had anything to contribute Smile

This is my second year gardening in general, and second year SFG.  Last year I had one 15'x4', this year I found free raised bed kits on a facebook yardsale site so now i have 2 8'x4's and a 4'x4' to complement my original bed.  The original is made out of cinder block and I grow borage, nasturtium, daisy, marigold, alyssum, and bachelors button in the holes.  It is like a bee hurricane in my yard lol. 

I am in zone 6-7, Chester County, PA.  About 30 mins NW of Philly.  I have onions, beets, carrots, spinach, lettuce, snap peas, and kale in the ground.  Eggplant, cherry and brandywine tomatoes, hot peppers and bell pepper seedlings going strong inside.  I also grow potatoes in the 15 gallon grow bags using MM.  Works like a charm! 

I hope to trellis sugar baby watermelon, spaghetti squash, eggplant, 12 squares of cukes (last year I made about 30 gallons of pickles with 10 plants,) and zukes. 

To stay on topic, I plan on using the living mulch under my cukes and tomatoes.

I will post pics if it works out Smile

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  Cajun Cappy on 4/8/2015, 11:28 am

If ya try it be prepared to have to get out the plant food and miricle grow watering hose.  most things are planted too close for cover to grow anyways and stuff like cucs ya plant on the edge of a box to trellis why not plant stuff you can use in the squares like loos leaf greens or something
  Just plant them after the peas or cucs have begun their climb.

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  zackshea on 4/8/2015, 11:42 am

I was hoping the plants would act as mulch - retaining water and not using it all!

Maybe I will try it in a small area and see what happens.

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/8/2015, 11:46 am

Wow, zackshea, those free beds just about knocked my socks off!  Aren't you the lucky duck!  Sounds like you're in full SFG mode and have a lot of experience to share.  You & I are in the same zone type 6/7 and have identical plants going right now inside and out.  Except I haven't planted carrot seeds yet.  How are your carrots doing?  

@Turan wrote:I grow alysum in the greenhouse under tomatoes.  The bees and hover wasps love it and so do I.  Then there is self seeding cilantro among the peas and broccoli and chamomile in the beans.  O and a leaf lettuce under some tomatoes too.  Basically this is companion planting, fitting together a shallow rooted low growing plant with a taller deeper rooted plant.

Interesting, Turan.  I've done carrots under tomatoes but never flowers.  

Cappy, I like tucking leafy greens in amongst other veggies, too, if I can find the space.  

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  zackshea on 4/8/2015, 12:47 pm

CapeCoddess - what part of the cape are you from?

I have family in Chatham and Orleans.

A couple carrots sprouted, I planted them last week.  I think the Scarlet variety and the purple ones are coming up.  I had great luck with carrots last year since i made that part of the SFG a foot deep and added a little sand.  

My dad used to use clover and alyssum as living mulch for his rows of corn, but I never really knew if it worked in a SFG.  I like the idea of leafy greens under the tomatoes.

My wife found the raised bed kits from someone giving them away.   I looked them up and they retail for a LOT. They also gave me yards and yards of soaker hoses. I still have enough left over boards and spikes for 2 more 8'x4's but I didn't want to overwhelm my small yard. Yet Cool

I couldn't believe how great my garden was for my first year.  I used veterans compost and worm castings as the only type of compost.  I didn't use any fertilizer or any other amendments!

Nice to meet you!

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  moswell on 4/16/2015, 11:51 am

@zackshea wrote:CapeCoddess - what part of the cape are you from?

I have family in Chatham and Orleans.

A couple carrots sprouted, I planted them last week.  I think the Scarlet variety and the purple ones are coming up.  I had great luck with carrots last year since i made that part of the SFG a foot deep and added a little sand.  

My dad used to use clover and alyssum as living mulch for his rows of corn, but I never really knew if it worked in a SFG.  I like the idea of leafy greens under the tomatoes.

My wife found the raised bed kits from someone giving them away.   I looked them up and they retail for a LOT. They also gave me yards and yards of soaker hoses. I still have enough left over boards and spikes for 2 more 8'x4's but I didn't want to overwhelm my small yard. Yet Cool

I couldn't believe how great my garden was for my first year.  I used veterans compost and worm castings as the only type of compost.  I didn't use any fertilizer or any other amendments!

Nice to meet you!
I've gone with Veteran compost as well (I'm in Delco, hi neighbor!).  I had so many other things to do this year with the new house that I got lazy and bought my Mel's Mix from them too.  It seems to be okay, though there are a lot more big pieces of stick and random things in the compost than what I had when I made my own.  But it gets good recommendations, and if it went well for you last year, I think it'll work out okay.

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  zackshea on 4/16/2015, 11:54 am

@moswell wrote:
I've gone with Veteran compost as well (I'm in Delco, hi neighbor!).  I had so many other things to do this year with the new house that I got lazy and bought my Mel's Mix from them too.  It seems to be okay, though there are a lot more big pieces of stick and random things in the compost than what I had when I made my own.  But it gets good recommendations, and if it went well for you last year, I think it'll work out okay.

Nice, someone who lives in the same area as me!  Are you in my zone?

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  moswell on 4/16/2015, 11:55 am

@zackshea wrote:
@moswell wrote:
I've gone with Veteran compost as well (I'm in Delco, hi neighbor!).  I had so many other things to do this year with the new house that I got lazy and bought my Mel's Mix from them too.  It seems to be okay, though there are a lot more big pieces of stick and random things in the compost than what I had when I made my own.  But it gets good recommendations, and if it went well for you last year, I think it'll work out okay.

Nice, someone who lives in the same area as me!  Are you in my zone?
According to the USDA, I'm in zone 7a.  I need to update my profile with that!

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/16/2015, 6:58 pm

I've never heard of Veterans compost before so I googled it.  What an interesting website. They even make an SFG mix, is that the one you guys used? http://www.veterancompost.com/our-products-1/

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/16/2015, 7:19 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:I've never heard of Veterans compost before so I googled it.  What an interesting website. They even make an SFG mix, is that the one you guys used? http://www.veterancompost.com/our-products-1/

I'm biased because I'm the one who gave him the "recipe". He provides it for me and my customers. LOVE Justen & his crew.

You know that adage about corn? Knee high by 4th of July? On the 6th of July my neighbor's corn was well over 6'. She used Veteran Compost.

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  moswell on 4/20/2015, 11:29 am

@sfg4uKim wrote:
@CapeCoddess wrote:I've never heard of Veterans compost before so I googled it.  What an interesting website. They even make an SFG mix, is that the one you guys used? http://www.veterancompost.com/our-products-1/

I'm biased because I'm the one who gave him the "recipe". He provides it for me and my customers. LOVE Justen & his crew.

You know that adage about corn? Knee high by 4th of July? On the 6th of July my neighbor's corn was well over 6'. She used Veteran Compost.
Smile You're definitely the reason I was willing to try them out last year.  And they were very friendly and helpful.  I bought a little from them in the fall and then a lot this spring, and my veggies are certainly popping right up. Smile  I think I'll stick with them for my compost as well, since I really don't feel like making my own compost.

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  Kelejan on 4/20/2015, 12:48 pm

@sfg4uKim wrote:
@CapeCoddess wrote:I've never heard of Veterans compost before so I googled it.  What an interesting website. They even make an SFG mix, is that the one you guys used? http://www.veterancompost.com/our-products-1/

I'm biased because I'm the one who gave him the "recipe". He provides it for me and my customers. LOVE Justen & his crew.

You know that adage about corn? Knee high by 4th of July? On the 6th of July my neighbor's corn was well over 6'. She used Veteran Compost.
Well done, Kim, for passing on the "Recipe".  Gradually spreading throughout the world bit by bit.

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Living Mulch

Post  countrynaturals on 6/2/2016, 1:11 am

We have fig trees that we love above all of our other plants (except maybe our redwoods). When we planted them, we put a ring of big rocks around them and used our wonderful clay "soil" as mortar, to create a basin so we could conserve water. 

For 2 years, while building a barn, chicken coop, hanging fence, etc., we didn't have time to do much for these trees. During that time, a beautiful thick carpet of clover grew up inside their water basins. Since clover is a cover crop, we thought it might be a better mulch than wood chips, so we left it alone. The trees are happy, healthy, and productive, so I see no reason to pull up the clover. What do you all think? (When time permits, I will do a nicer job of cleaning up around the outside.  Embarassed)

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  trolleydriver on 6/2/2016, 8:51 am

Looks great to me and it doesn't cost anything.  The tree and the clover seem to be getting along just fine.

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  has55 on 6/2/2016, 10:16 am

@trolleydriver wrote:Looks great to me and it doesn't cost anything.  The tree and the clover seem to be getting along just fine.
+1, I love living mulch.

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  countrynaturals on 6/2/2016, 1:04 pm

I may do a little more research on this, since we have several other fruit trees without living mulch, that aren't doing that great. There's probably nothing I can do until this fall but use wood chip mulch, but then I might just plant living mulch around the rest of them. I love vetch and so do the bees, so maybe that's the way to go. thinking

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  has55 on 6/2/2016, 3:51 pm

root flares

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Re: Living Mulch

Post  countrynaturals on 6/2/2016, 7:46 pm

@has55 wrote:root flares
I think they're all planted at the proper depth and I'm always careful to keep the mulch away from the trunks, but I will be careful when planting the cover crop, not to raise the dirt level. Thanks for the heads-up, has55.  thanks

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