Monday, June 18, 2012

Carol Deppe on Water & Soil Fertility (audio interview with Jim Phillips)

Listen to internet radio with Preparedness Radio on Blog Talk Radio
Water basics (7m30); Traditional pioneer strategies for dealing with water (8m15); If plants not spaced to tightly, can get almost to August without watering in Willamette area - this the reason for rows 3' apart and plants spaced more widely (10m); Also, you can get by with less fertility in widely-spaced beds vs. Jeavon's double-dug beds, and if you need to be able to ignore your garden for a couple weeks, the wide spacing is more resilient, raised beds are better for wet spring soil but dry out much quicker so Carol does not raise the bed above the rest of the ground (11m30); Mulching - powerful in a small garden, difficult in a large one because of how much you'd need, advantages of a "couple inch mulch" include: protects soil from wind and moisture loss, keeps the surface roots from dying while drying; if rototilling, soft soil depth is only 8" so if top 4" dries between waterings, you've only got 4" of soft soil (18m45); on deep mulches: "mulch like that protects the ground very well from your ever watering it" and keeps it very cool if you start off in spring with a heavy mulch, Carol starts off completely unmulched then puts down a couple inches of leaves or straw once the watering season starts (23m); Plastic mulches - never done it, "they idea just kind of turns me off, frankly" - you have to buy it, doesn't contribute to soil fertility, and you have to pick up and dispose of the plastic (28m); Wood chips - stick to deciduous, not pine and certainly not Cedar because inhibits plant growth; as long as on top of the soil, you won't have a problem with binding nitrogen (30m); If you start out with pasture or heavy grass cover crop, all the Nitrogen will be tied up for several weeks (31m); Drip irrigation and why she hates it - best for perennial plantings like an orchard but with veggies, it really gets in the way, rodents bite into the line (33m); Corn varieties that are early - she can grow without irrigation if she has too, but won't get as good a crop and needs to space further apart, or can irrigate just twice and stop by August (37m); Growing potatoes in the summer without irrigation - they are actually much better than irrigated potatoes!(39m); Different varieties of the same crop can be very different in how effective they are at scrounging their own water - vining squash can reach much deeper than a bushy bushing type squash, but if you're irrigating regularly, the bushy roots might work better (41m30); Fertility (50m); Get a soil test by someone that specializes in organics - e.g., Peaceful Valley (52m); Prepping soil in the event of disaster; adding and hording amendments - will last in the ground at least 5 years (59m); Two-tiered fertility - long-term fertility involves adding minerals that are usually available for 5 years or more, seasonal fertility is all about Nitrogen; the traditional way is to use legume cover crops or manure, can import in the form of poultry chow (shat out) and straw (63m30); If you can't import anything for a while...experimenting to understand your lands fertility, leaving parts unfertilized & recording the results (66m); if you're short on fertility, put it exactly where you need it - band in rows with seeds (if seed meal) or till manure in where seeds are going to be - plants make more use of fertility placed in row than between rows (70m); explanation of squash hills (71m); Soil leached of all soluble Nitrogen by early Spring, and too cold for microbial action to release what's there - can use first urination of the morning and sprinkle it all over the patch to turn from yellow to green in 2-3 days, or use grass clippings (73m); saving your urine, peeing on leaves to make the compost (78m); More on manure (79m); Blood meal is as soluble as chemical fertilizers (81m); Organic with a small 'o' (82m)