Friday, July 8, 2016

Carbon-Mineral-Microbes Soil Restoration Food Plots

A BrushApe Thicket - 4 year Soil Improvement, Self Re-seeding

Mallow, sorrel, wild lettuce, lambsquarters, dill, polk, mint, yarrow, comfrey, grapes, onions, wheat, potatoes, carrots, radishes, a mulberry tree, a cherry tree, clovers, worms in the roots of every plant.  

Life has taken over the space!  Virtually everything in this list is edible with many unique flavors.  Never any chemical fertilizer or pesticide application while growing beans, corn, cabbage, radishes, mustard and just about anything I had a taste for at the time.

A healthy elderberry bush popped up just downhill from the plot.

Kick Starting Soil Improvement

Biochar, minerals, microbes and mulch are the key ingredients.  No tilling or digging except to start bedding plants.  Then letting the plants go to seed and letting wild edibles take their places in the mix.

Did not get pictures of the start of this, but took several of the next iteration, a "biochar no-till food plot".

Mow or Scythe Existing Vegetation Tight to the Ground

Apply Biochar as First Ground Cover

A good dusting to cover the soil in "dark".

Apply Composted Manure - Turkey Litter was used on this plot

About a 1/4" to 1/2" thick cover of turkey litter.

Sprinkle Minerals Over Entire Plot

Sea-90 was used on this plot.

Cover The Prepared Rows with the Mulch

Old switchgrass hay with some mold in it was used for this plot

Seed with Mix Suitable to Location

A personal preference that works for most locations is turnips and wheat.

Plant mostly along the edges.  Make holes in the mulch for seeds like corn or beans so the seed can burst out.

Let Nature Take It's Course

For this plot, seeding took place August 21.

First rain to follow was in early September.  First frost was October 24 and the plot looked like this.

Turnips handle frost well.

Had some very tasty turnip globes for Christmas.

Next March 28 Wheat looked like this.. grasshoppers loved it, turkeys loved the grasshoppers.

Also March 28 turnips were flowering, attracting swarms of honey bees and other pollinators.

That summer brought severe drought.  July 4 plot looked like this..

Finally some rains in late August, on October 1 of the year following, with no additional labor inputs beyond putting in the initial plot, successful re-seeding was evident.

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