Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

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treegod
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Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby treegod » 25 Dec 2013, 18:45

I mentioned this in the gardening challenge thread but thought to give it it's own thread.

There's was a chapter in The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka about how to grow vegetables without digging, and keeping them in a semi-wild state. In principle it goes like this: cut long grass, remove it, sow seeds there and then replace the grass to provide a light mulch. If there's short grass, just sow the seeds where they'll be hidden by the grass. Until the vegetables establish themselves you cut the most dominating weeds a few times, then the vegetables can cover enough area not to be outcompeted. When collecting you can leave a few plants so they sow themselves for the future.
This was successful in Fukuoka's part of Japan where there were regular rains. Where I live it's fairly dry in summer and winter, with some heavy rains in spring and autumn. I'm applying the same principles but adapting them to my area.

From what I've read in other books and Internet articles no-dig gardening usually mentions using lots of mulch, but this less so, and even using something like clover as mulch can work.

So far I've planted spinach, rocket, radish, lettuce and garlic (spinach and rocket are mixed together) on a bit that has been cultivated before and for the last year has been covered with a lot of mulch. Over the spinach, rocket and radish I spread a thin bit of straw from the goat and chicken's bedding. Another patch of radish has no straw, so I'll see how that compares.

The rocket and radish have started to appear. I'll keep this thread updated. :)

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby SouthernMan » 25 Dec 2013, 20:54

My mustard greens patch is semi-wild. I simply hacked up the larger dead plants and dropped the mustard seeds on the top soil and gently pressed them into the ground. While they don't grow as well as those planted in a traditional garden, they seem to be doing alright so far.

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby treegod » 26 Dec 2013, 05:38

Sounds good. When you say "they don't grow as well those planted in a traditional garden" do you mean less of them grow than the other or that the plants grow less? Or both? :)

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby SouthernMan » 26 Dec 2013, 06:17

They simply don't thrive as well. It takes them longer to reach the same size as a more traditional garden and it doesn't have as a high of yield. But since it's for only me and my boyfriend it's more than enough for us. My grandfather, who uses a more traditional approach to growing mustard greens easily outproduces my patch in both size and quantity of the leafs.

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby treegod » 05 Jan 2014, 20:44

By that I suppose I'll have less yield than my girlfriend's dug garden. I've been reading about "no-dig" gardens, and they always advise the same thing: mulch, mulch and mulch. I think that's for gardeners that want to produce a lot (perhaps even commercially), but since this is our private garden we don't need to produce that much.

Anyway, here's an update: the first lot of radish, spinach and rocket are doing very well.

And here's a list of things I've planted up til now:
December
10 - rocket, spinach, radish
20 - garlic, radish, lettuce
28 - wheat (as a bit of a shield against the summer sun)
29 - lettuce, brussel sprouts
30 komatsuna (mustard spinach), leaks

January
2 - onions, beetroot
5 - minowase (japanese radish), french climbing beans, rocket

I've been using a patch that has had a lot of mulch on it, so all I do is remove a bit of mulch, sow the seeds and put a light covering of mulch (grass, mostly) back over the ground. Weeding has been light (almost nothing, since it's winter), but if I can get near continuous growth, weeding shouldn't be necessary.

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby treegod » 05 Jan 2014, 20:54

Here's some photos of the...

Veg patch (after the first two plantings)
http://druidintraining.files.wordpress. ... en-002.jpg

Rocket (now a lot bigger!)
http://druidintraining.files.wordpress. ... 12/002.jpg

Radish (this is the first batch, the second batch I haven't yet noticed growing)
http://druidintraining.files.wordpress. ... 12/004.jpg

(the pictures are too big for the board, so I've just left the links).

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby Aphritha » 06 Jan 2014, 06:13

Planting! I'm so jealous...
Looks great, though... :)


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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby treegod » 11 Jan 2014, 20:17

Planting now is a patient business. I waiting for things to grow! I've already made use of the rocket sprouts in a salad. :)

Anyway, today I found some old seed packets that were well out of date (04-09) but instead of throwing them away I mixed them all together and threw them on my patch.

So now I have more lettuce, endive, radish, cauliflower, onion and precisely 2 beans. Be interesting to see what sprouts. :handsoff:

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby treegod » 20 Jan 2014, 14:32

Planting update: yesterday I planted fava beans and tomatoes. When they grow I'm going to leave them to grow on the floor and see how that works. Traditionally, in South America (?), tomatoes were grown without climbing them, so it'll be interesting to see what happens to that.
They seed very easily too. Last year we noticed that new plants were springing up where tomatoes had fallen.

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby treegod » 21 Feb 2014, 09:15

I've planted a load more things like cucumbers, carrots, more radishes, courgettes, garden nasturtiums and pumpkins. Along the back of the veg patch (towards the South) I've planted corn and wheat to act as a bit of a shield when the summer sun hits. It might also be used as supports for the beans or other climbers.

The ground is very moist under the mulch, and I'm amazed at how well it maintains the moisture. Where the dug areas have to have a heavy watering to get moisture, the semi-wild part just needs a sprinkling every now-and-then.

In the first section there's good growth from the rockets and spinach, a few radishes are growing and starting to fatten, but they're all a bit patchy. Three possible reasons: mulch covering too thin, too thick or ground too hard, or a mixture.
Where I see nothing growing I'm going to put other seeds and be more careful with covering them with mulch (enough to protect them from birds, not enough to smother them).

The experiment continues. :)

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby Aphritha » 21 Feb 2014, 17:11

Planting update: yesterday I planted fava beans and tomatoes. When they grow I'm going to leave them to grow on the floor and see how that works. Traditionally, in South America (?), tomatoes were grown without climbing them, so it'll be interesting to see what happens to that.
They seed very easily too. Last year we noticed that new plants were springing up where tomatoes had fallen.
I've grown tomatos without climbing them. I didn't have any money for the cones! :D They grew fine, though I had to rearrange the vines occasionally to make sure they all got sun. Also, you can't let the tomato sit in one spot for too long as it ripens, or it'll get soft.
Good luck with your garden!


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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby treegod » 21 Feb 2014, 21:22

Thanks. :)

I'll keep in mind what you said. Perhaps if I place the tomatoes on a solid surface they won't go soft (I think you can do the same for cucumbers).

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby Aphritha » 22 Feb 2014, 20:53

It seems when mine got a soft spot, it was because they were left too long with contact with the ground. Kinda like what happens if you leave a ripe one on the countertop for too long....


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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby deepwater » 13 Mar 2014, 22:25

We don't plant much up here in maine,, June 15 ground is still cold in shaded places and sept its time to harvest,, I have had some luck in wild grows but not much yield,,Its just seeds or cuttings cast on the bank out front but we have gotten some cherrie tomatos and small onions ,,More food for the groundhog :grin: ,,They are very tasty
Through my eyes you still see,, Through my heart you still live ,, For as long as i have breath you will sing,,Thanks Mom

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby treegod » 13 Mar 2014, 23:09

Wow, you have a very small growing window. Hope you take advantage of it as much as you can. :D

Yes, yield isn't very high. I've put out loads of seeds, but only a few are coming back. Perhaps for too much mulch, too little, birds eating them or the ground's too hard. I think also, because I've put a lot of seeds out before their season (I was enthusiastic to start!), they haven't come out yet. There's still some surprises hidden.
I don't expect big yields, but as I continue experimenting I'll discover ways to make it all work better: what to plant, when to plant it, where to plant it, and so on.

Today I took the first radish from it and ate it. It was dee-lish! There's a few fattening, but they're not ready yet. The tops of the roots are getting chomped on by something too. :roll:

Oh, and I have one bean plant growing. :)

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby deepwater » 14 Mar 2014, 00:41

well its the semi wild you wanted so its what ya got,, up here electric fences spaced 2" apart is the norm,,What i plant if at all is overflow from my mulch pile and is open for consumption by all,,And by all I meen im aloud to eat them aswell,,When i moved up here i brought a lawnmower,,that was 8 years ago,, it hasent been started in 9 years and i have no intentions of poluting the area with its noise,, wild gardens,,are food for all,,,enjoy all of it :grin:
Through my eyes you still see,, Through my heart you still live ,, For as long as i have breath you will sing,,Thanks Mom

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby treegod » 14 Mar 2014, 08:59

Bugs and birds can eat in my veg patch. There's one exception: the wild boar. Otherwise we'd get nothing to eat. :blink:

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Re: Semi-Wild Veg Patch - The Experiment

Postby deepwater » 14 Mar 2014, 23:16

build a 4x4x6' smoke house I did and eat the boar,,smoked pig is great :tiphat:
Through my eyes you still see,, Through my heart you still live ,, For as long as i have breath you will sing,,Thanks Mom


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