Chop Wood Carry Water Plant Seeds is a blog about Self-Sufficient Homesteading. How can we live by creating a sustainable bio-diverse world, instead of by consuming and destroying the only one we have? What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Never naked soil!

I am covering the whole garden with hay and wood chips. I do this for many reasons and these are;

- the cover keeps the soil moist and one needs no irrigation. Plants which have even moisture grow well and strong so their leaves don't get easily attacked by pests. Covered soil need 95% less irrigation than naked soil. One must only water the first time when planting the garden then cover and be happy :) The occasional rain will be contained in the soil by the cover which would otherwise simply evaporate.

- the cover provides food for myriads of microorganisms, fungi, nematodes, earthworms and other kind of insects. Rich Soil Food Web can easily keep pest numbers low since all these critters eat each other and by doing this they stay in balance. So no need for pesticides and the earthworms keep the soil aerated so no issues with compact soil which.

- the cover breaks into compost which is feeding the plants so no need for extra fertilising. Covering with more organic stuff like Comfrey and Nettle leaves will add all the nutrients plants need. Occasional fertilising with liquid Comfrey and Nettle water is a bonus and can be done late in the summer when plants are large and are producing a lot.

- no need for crop rotation because the cover introduces big variety of plant species in the hay and wood chips. Crop Rotation is needed on a naked patch of land where only one single crop is being grown, which will develop pests if the same crop is used over and over again.

- the cover keeps weeds at bay so no need for laborious weeding and no need for pesticides.

- the cover is a perfect companion to "permanent raised beds" which means one needs no machines to till or rototill the soil.

- the cover creates perfect pH because of all the bacteria, fungi, and decomposing materials in the soil

Thanks to the cover I can relax and enjoy gardening rather than being on a treadmill and constant alert :)
 For example this photo shows one of my raised beds on the South side of our cottage planted with Popcorn and Sunflowers. They are planted into compost soil and covered with seasoned wood chips. I have watered this bed only once a few weeks ago. It was very hot here for the last few days and the naked soil moisture can easily evaporate since nothing is shading the soil.
 Plants are growing fine
2 cm under the wood chips the soil is very aerated and moist, teaming with earthworms and life :)
Never naked soil is my new mantra ;)

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