Posts Tagged With: Mulch

VEGETABLE GROWING – KEEP THE SOIL “ON THE GROUND”

Soil erosion

Is your vegetable garden’s soil frittering away through soil erosion?

Here is a shocking statistic – though soil erosion is a natural process, human activity accelerates soil loss up to 24 billion tonnes every year. [1]

This is even more concerning, especially as topsoil contains most of the soil’s nutrients and organic matter. As one author put it, “Soil erosion: it can run away with your farm.” [3] (or even your vegetable patch!)

Add to this, wind, and the speed at which rain drops hit the earth (4.5 to 19 mph), can you afford to turn your hand at vegetable gardening or farming if the soil just won’t lie down?

HOW TO KEEP THE SOIL IN YOUR GARDEN – ON THE GROUND

The short answer is – mulch your vegetable garden . (You knew that, didn’t you.)

But here is something you may not know – don’t dig over your soil.
You’re probably wondering,
“If I don’t dig over the soil, how will I plant the seed/seedlings?”

To answer this question let me first tell you about two microbial life forms in your vegetable patch:
1. Aerobic microherd – these are all microbes that absolutely need oxygen in order to survive.
2. Anaerobic microherd – these are all microbes that don’t need oxygen to survive, but may or may not use oxygen in their life cycles.

If you dig over the soil in your vegetable garden, the microbes assigned their place in life will be turned upside down, and will die. Aerobic and anaerobic microbes are there to help you grow your vegetables to their optimum potential by improving he soil’s health and texture.

Consequence of digging over your garden?
Bang! goes your attempt at growing vegetables.

The answer?
Don’t plough, don’t overturn the soil like our predecessors taught us.

Here’s what you do:

  • You dig only where you will place the seed or seedling – click here to see how it is done.

Mulching
I had a wonderful time in Mwinilunga (Zambia’s North West Province). In 2009 Chief Kanyama invited me to train 36 villagers in the Farming God’s Way method (or, Foundations for Farming). They had never heard of mulching. But as soon as they understood the value of retaining moisture and keeping the ground “on the ground,” they set to it with vigour, collecting straw and old maize stalks to cover the land. They are now reaping harvests not heard of in their farming history.

The Benefits of Mulching[4]
• Mulching is essential to the survival of your landscape during a drought. Mulch will reduce the amount of water that evaporates from your soil, greatly reducing your need to water your vegetable plants.

• …improves the quality of your soil by breaking up clay and allowing better water and air movement through the soil. Mulch provides nutrients to sandy soil and improves its ability to hold water.

• …acts as an insulating layer on top of soil, keeping it cooler in the summer.

• …keeps weeds down, and the weeds that do grow are much easier to pull.

So! Are you ready to grow vegetables successfully?

Let me know how this has made a difference to the health of your vegetables.

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Acknowledgements

[1] http://www.envirothon.org/pdf/CG/using_the_USLE.pdf

[2] http://www2.kenyon.edu/projects/farmschool/types/soil.htmhttps://www.google.co.za/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=speed+at+which+rain+hits+the+soil&oq=speed+at+which+rain+hits+the+soil&gs_l

[3] http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/organic/2002114848008095.html

[4] http://www.ccwater.com/files/Drought101Mulch.pdf

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Categories: Agriculture, ecology, Farming, Food, Food crisis, Food security, Growing, healthy, Increased yields, Mulch, Nutriets, Organic, Organic matter, Plant, plants, Preparation, Produce, Rain, seedlings, seeds, Self-seeding, Soil, Vegetable gardener, Vegetables, Veggie garden, Wind, Zero tillage | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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