Mediterranean Food Forest - how to sow next season's (short life) nitrogen-fixers?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Ronnoco, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. Ronnoco

    Ronnoco Junior Member

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    My 45 metre swale (the berm) is (wonderfully) thick with Autumn planted peas and beans and lupins and wheat (green manure).
    How do I sow the Spring planting nitrogen-fixers? Do I:
    1. Sprinkle seeds in amongst all the thick growth and then chop-and-drop?, OR
    2. Chop-and-drop first and then scatter seeds and rake them lightly, in the hope that they'll fall in amongst the chop-and-dropped stuff, down to the soil below…and germinate?
    (Or some other way?)
     

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  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    where are you? is it spring now? what are you planting?

    different seeds may need different methods (some plants are better done in the fall, or before the rainy season, but it also depends upon how much cold weather you have and the plants you're seeding in).

    soil temperature and moisture availability (some plants won't sprout well or grow if the soil is too cold or too hot and of course if there isn't enough moisture).

    those considerations aside for annuals a reasonable rule of thumb is to plant them around 3 seed diameters in the ground. but when you have large areas of ground to cover i scatter the seeds a little heavier than recommended and then use a rake to disturb the ground a little so that some will be covered and have the right conditions for germination...
     
  3. Ronnoco

    Ronnoco Junior Member

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    Hi Songbird. Yes, it is Spring now, so they are the Spring-planting nitrogen-fixing annual plants (for Food Forest establishment) that I'm talking about. Do you have personal experience with using chop-and-drop with thickly sown nitrogen-fixing annuals?

    My specific question is asking: what gets done first?:

    Do people, who are establishing Food Forests, tend to chop-and-drop the last season's (in this case Autumn/Winter) grown stuff first, and then scatter the Spring-sowing nitrogen-fixing seeds (and rake a bit so that the seeds shake down to under the large amount of chop-and-dropped material)

    OR

    Do they tend to try to get the (Spring) seeds in amongst the thick, fully grown stuff first (and attempt to get the seeds to shake down to the soil, and then chop-and-drop the Autumn/Winter grown stuff (so that it falls down on top of the seeds?
     
  4. Geoff Lawton

    Geoff Lawton Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Ronnoco, OK watch your Winter cover crop really carefully for dye off because of Spring warm up and when it starts to look 50% dead and dying throw our Summer cover crop evenly and THICKLY (4X the recommended agricultural density) then chop the Winter cover crop down as low as you can and hopefully it the rains with Spring rain storm. If it doesn't rain the put up a sprinkler and fully soak it, and keep doing that once you start a little every day, enough to keep the cut mulch damp until it all germinates and gets two leaves up then you are right.
    Happy cover cropping Geoff
     
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  5. Ronnoco

    Ronnoco Junior Member

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    Thank you Geoff! I've copied-and-pasted this answer onto the Facebook site as well, for others (Online PDC Alumni).
     
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