The Green Manure Crop With Added Bite

The Green Manure Crop With Added Bite

Caliente Mustard Seed is not just a green manure it also acts as a “biofumigant” for the soil. Biofumigants suppress various soil borne pests and diseases by releasing naturally occurring compounds when you incorporate them back into the soil.

The foliage must be crushed or finely chopped for it to release a natural gas (isothiocyanate) which effectively reduces and suppresses a range of harmful nematodes and diseases in the soil.

The combination of biofumigation plus the digging in of the green material (organic matter), increases beneficial soil microbes, which out-compete pathogen microbes helping to keep soil diseases down.

Caliente Mustard is a Brassica so if problems are present with Club-root, Caliente Mustard will succumb to the disease so use appropriately within a rotation

The benefits of use for the home gardener for most crop and soil types are:
-Improved root systems and a measurable increase in yield of following crops
-Suppression of a range of soil-borne diseases including Verticillium wilt, Rhizoctonia, Pythium, Fusarium, and Sclerotinia
-Suppresses a range of harmful nematode species
Improved soil structure and fertility
-Suppresses weeds; mainly soft-seeded annuals, soon after incorporation

Caliente Mustard can be sown in spring or late summer for a quick crop, or mid-autumn for over-wintering in milder areas.

The finer the chop the better the result, running over the area with a rotary mower or strimmer to chop well before digging the chopped up foliage and roots into the top 15-20cm (6inches) of the soil within 20 mins of chopping up, otherwise 80% of the beneficial gases will escape into the air.
Rake the soil to a fine tilth and firm or roller to keep gases locked in. Water the area thoroughly.
Rest the soil for 14 days before sowing/planting new seeds/crops, then sow/grow crops as soon as possible to get the best benefits from Caliente Mustard.

Although I’m in the colder area I’m going to experiment and mix this in with my “field bean” crop for over wintering and cover with fabric, hopefully some will survive in amongst the field beans and I’ll dig the lot in come Spring 2015. I’m hoping they’ll survive in little “micro climate” pockets with the added assistance of the horticultural fabric.

How To Create A Hugelkultur Bed

How To Create A Hugelkulture Bed

This image shows the different layers that make up a Hugelkultur bed. It also shows how different methods of watering (drip or swale) penetrate the mound. I believe I’m right in saying the concept was put forth by Sepp Holzer from Austria.

Hugelkultur1
I love the look of these and think I’ll have a go at one on the allotment at some point in time. It’ll be interesting to see how well the logs act as a sponge to aid with water retention. I’m also interested to see how the heat produced by the rotting wood and also the added heat captured from the sun due to the angle of the bank would affect plant growth. Be fascinatin to do a side by side with more traditional beds, see what I can do.

hugelkultursmall

The Man Who Planted A Forest

plantedforest
Thirty-four years ago when he began to plant trees, no one, including him, had the slightest idea that his effort would give birth to an entire forest.

It all began with a dream he had in 1979 to plant trees on barren land for small animals and birds to build their homes on the tree tops.

Chasing his dream, Jadav Payeng, then a young lad, belonging to the Mishing tribal community in Jorhat district, in the north eastern state of Assam, began to plant trees regularly.

Decades later, the trees have transformed into a lush forest covering 550 hectares of land, home to wild elephants, tigers, rhinos and deer.

Similarly, he is growing trees on another 150 hectares of land, which is adjacent to the first forest he helped plant.
jadav_payeng
Continue reading “The Man Who Planted A Forest”

Superfruit: Goji Berry

Superfood: Goji Berry

The Goji Berry, also known as Wolfberries (Lycium barbarum/chinense), the Himalayan fruit that contains all 18 amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen), 21 minerals as well as huge amounts of vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6 & E). Gram for gram they are packed with even more iron than steak and spinach and more beta carotene and vitamin C than carrots and oranges, respectively. A true Superfood if ever there was one but also the most fashionable too. The plants are very hardy and cope well with salt winds and even droughts too so are perfect for most climates and most people.

goji-berries

I’ve personally never even tried a fresh Goji Berry, only ever had them in their dried format but they were lovely, I can’t wait to plant a bush this year and eventually reap the rewards in the future. This is my little girls (coming up 2) second favorite fruit behind Blueberries, she’ll be more excited than me to try them. It’s gonna be lovely to show her them growing on the plant. She invaded the greenhouse most days eating my tomatoes from the greenhouse last year, it was so cute but I don’t think she’ll be waiting till the berries are ripe, wish the plants luck for me.

The Pinkberry

The Pinkberry

It’s a pink Blueberry that’s reputed to be twice as sweet as your average Blueberry, what more reason do you need to try it. It’s named ‘Pink Lemonade’ and it’s the result from years of development in the 1970’s by the United States Department of Agriculture.

It appears to have become popular with home growers in recent years due to the growing research into the power of cancer-fighting antioxidants from so called “super-fruits” like blueberries. People speak of added beneficial effects that can be gained from certain colour pigments in fruits like the colour purple for instance, maybe pink has something worth having too. I think it’s potentially a bit of a novelty for those looking for something a bit different BUT I don’t see why it’s not worth having in your collection, diversity is beneficial is it not?

The fruits begin green, then become speckled in pink and then take on a rich pink colouring as they mature in August and September. The plant also has decorative merits due to it’s fiery orange foliage in the autumn.
Like all blueberries it also requires an acidic soil so is especially happy in a large container of ericaceous compost. It reaches about 5ft/1.5m high and wide, with masses of twiggy branches. Although it’s self fertile, it will crop much heavier if another blueberry is planted nearby.-

I know my little girls going to completely love these, Blueberrys are already her favorite fruit. Just hoping I won’t have to wait too long before we get a harvest to taste, they look delicious.

I’ll be getting mine from Blackmoor: http://www.blackmoor.co.uk/category/303/products/1001747