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DeepBass9

Deep Mulching Vegetable Production

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This method of vegetable (and other crop production) involves no digging, no weeding and very little work. It also requires little or no fertiliser or pesticide and keeps increasing the soil fertility the longer you practise it. Less water is required because of the mulch covering the soil retaining the soil moisture.  

Developed by Ruth Stout https://www.goveganic.net/article182.html

Basically all you do is heap organic matter thickly on the ground, raise seedlings in trays and then plant them straight into the mulch. That's it. You may find a few weeds coming up, buy then you just heap more mulch on top. Once you have harvested, guess what, just throw more much on top and start again. The mulch composts at the bottom of the heap and you find after a few seasons that the soil becomes a writhing mess of nitrogen fixing earthworms and other soil organisms.

So this in one part of a permaculture system which tries to close the nutrient cycle as far as possible. The first stage is growing of nitrogen fixing legume crops as animal fodder. This I do fertilise with phosphate and potassium, as they are eitehr in the soil or not. You can't get them from another source. This I bale as winter feed. During winter I spread the bales all over the pastures so that the wastage is spread on the ground, and starts building thicker topsoil. Some of this residue ends up in the veggie garden as below. The  manure that accumulates is also spread back on the fields to improve the grazing which closes the circle. So the input is P & K and via various biological systems, the product is meat and vegetables.

To contrast this with modern industrial farming, the main difference is there is no bare earth! Nature doesn't do that, why should you denude the land surface to grow crops? All that does is kill off the beneficial soil bugs and require more fertiliser.

What I grow, depending on the season is cabbage, kale, broccolli, cauliflower, chinese cabbage, tsan soi, potatoes, parsnips, spinach, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, chilli, garlic, onions, leeks, radish, lemons, limes, naartjie, grapefruits,  a variety of herbs, fish, chicken, duck, goose, sheep and goats. No mielies (monkeys and GMOs)

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You can pretty much use anything organic to do this like lawn clippings, leaves, straw, wood chips, paper, cardboard and so on. 

Some times I do use a topical application of cypermethrin if the bugs are having a go at the seedlings, but generally it is avoided, especially if it is going to be eaten any time soon.

Edited by DeepBass9

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35 minutes ago, DeepBass9 said:

... potatoes ... tomatoes ... chilli, garlic, onions ... naartjie, grapefruits,  a variety of herbs, fish, chicken ... sheep ...

If it was possible I would have been a regular customer for the above in small bulk quantities.

Farm fresh all natural.

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I can DHL to you if you like! That is the problem though, transport costs kill the market. What we do is use what what we grow for ourselves and catering for our lodge. Excess is given away to who ever wants it, but as there are a few people around here doing similar things, you receive back when other people have crop excesses.

I have pondered the economics of it, and it doesn't make any economic sense to sell small amounts of produce. For instance if I plant 50 lettuces, I don't have to go to the shop any buy them for R15 each, so I have 'made' R750. If I plant 500 lettuces I can them probably sell to a shop them for R3 each so I make R1500 for 10 times the work. 

That grass that comes up amongst the veggies is actually oats that came out of some animal feed and has established itself.

Edited by DeepBass9

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9 hours ago, DeepBass9 said:

I can DHL to you if you like!

It is an option ... depending on the size and weight and IF it can be in a truck for a few days. But I suspect, like you, that it is too expensive.

I was looking at one stage at shipping container, with all inside that one needs for hydroponics, to sell to local shops. R350k was a wee bit over the top - even if it included aircons. 🙂  

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8 hours ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Us, in the cities, with all that goes with it, this could work IF you get local shops to buy from you: https://www.bigboxcontainers.co.za/blog/shipping-container-farms-an-urban-solution

Just replace your blommetjies tuin with edible plants. It looks just as attractive, even more so when you are hungry.....

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6 hours ago, DeepBass9 said:

Just replace your blommetjies tuin with edible plants. It looks just as attractive, even more so when you are hungry.....

Two thoughts:
1) I'll build the system ... but I will not shoot the deputy.
2) We had this wee issue around water recently, some alleged drought they said. But today we are "letting our hair down"! We use a whopping 7kl pm now, up from 5kl pm.

😂

Ja ok, ok ... truthfully I don't do this gardening thing at all. 

What you did at your place, RESPECT!

Edited by Guest

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I have the solution to the water: Prickly pears , dragon fruit and peyote. All edible, the peyote will make sure your garden always looks awesome (from your perspective).

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6 hours ago, DeepBass9 said:

I have the solution to the water: Prickly pears , dragon fruit and peyote. All edible, the peyote will make sure your garden always looks awesome (from your perspective).

And strategically planted, you don't need any fences or security. 😂

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After about 4 or 5 years of using this system, the results are visible in the soil. On the top is soil taken from a mole heap outside the veggie garden, and on the right a spadeful from under the mulch. 

The top is sand mainly, with little organic matter, and that yellow color is limonite, hydrated iron oxides.

The bottom started off the same but is now dark with organic matter, and full of earthworms. 

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So how does this apply to suburban gardens? As far as I am aware there are by laws in some cities against compost heaps (if anyone pays attention to by laws these days), but instead of making heaps, just use your grass clippings, raked leaves, braai ash and whatever else you have and spread it over the beds. For a lot of pruned branches etc, hire a wood chipper. This will save trips to the dump with black bags full of leaves, and significantly reduce your water consumption in your garden. Fertiliser costs will also be less as the organic matter holds nutrients, and if you are continually adding organic matter, the nutrients in the soil will increase, your plant growth will increase and you then have a virtuous cycle.

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