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Garden Gleanings -Weed'm & Reap plus more

Posted Sunday, April 19, 2009, at 9:27 AM

The recap of last night's meeting is posted on our web page. http://www.mybedfordcounty.com/Weedemand... There was quite a lot discussed and learned last night, so this does not cover it all.

Judy, I finally just search for the word Lucerne and found confirmation of what we were thinking it was last night. alfalfa, lucerne, Medicago sativa (important European leguminous forage plant with trifoliate leaves and blue-violet flowers grown widely as a pasture and hay crop) I suppose we would just call it alfalfa hay, but.....

I am guessing now, so anyone who knows or has another idea, chime in, but Lucerne or alfalfa straw might be the left --over product from making alfalfa cubes. If it does not chop and compress well the heavier part of the stalk is left behind. This is used as filler in some fodder but maybe it is sold as an end product as well.

The reason we are discussing this folks it because Lucerne straw was mentioned as a preferred item to include in creating a layered "no till" garden. It is also known as sheet mulching composting in place, sheet composting, and lasagna gardening, plus other catchy phrases. ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/IA/news/organicslist.pdf

Alfalfa hay is high in nutrients and nitrogen value, but also more expensive. If I don't have access to fresh plant waste like grass or vegetables, I would probably mix the alfalfa hay with regular straw to create a good nitrogen to carbon ratio. Blood meal (or if you are vegetarian cotton seed meal) are also good sources of natural nitrogen. I only use blood meal for localized plant boost not composting.

Cotton seed meal should be available locally and you don't have to pay extra shipping so I would probably stay away from mail order or internet sources on this. After all, we grow cotton in this area.

No till gardening is similar to commercial agriculture methods but because of the different scale, some will kill the previous crop with fire, or chemicals and then plant through the debris without tilling. Others will kill or flatten the crop mechanically and plant through that. http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/no-till_r...

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Thanks for the research and the Rodale link, Steve. Most of the info I have seen originated in Australia. I'll try my own version which will use what I can find.

-- Posted by jbillswms on Mon, Apr 20, 2009, at 9:20 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.