Follow up Intro to Practical Permaculture Nov 3/4, 2007

Fol­low up Intro to Prac­ti­cal Per­ma­cul­ture Nov 3/4, 2007

Since it is sup­posed to rain Sat­ur­day, I mulched the swale our class built with bar­ley straw. The straw had been sit­ting around since the begin­ning of the sum­mer, so it was a lit­tle wet and decom­posed, (just per­fect) and I am excited to tell you, there were mush­rooms grow­ing out of it. I will post pho­tos soon on my website.

Which reminds me…in case I didn’t say this at the class.
My old per­ma­cul­ture part­ner, Bill Steen who went on to write The Straw Bale House did an exper­i­ment. He had an old rock-hard clay dri­ve­way in “the stinkin desert.” He set out a bale of alfalfa (whole, just one bale sit­ting there). About 6 months later when I was vis­it­ing, he told me to come take a look. The “stinkin desert” under the bale had trans­formed and you could put your hand down 8 inches into soft sweet soil, FULL OF WORMS.

If you are not sure where to start, set out some bales of alfalfa.

As a reminder,
Hay usu­ally refers to alfalfa, which is a nitro­gen fixer, or some type of tasty grass.
Straw is the dried plant left­over after thresh­ing the grain. Could be bar­ley, wheat, rice, oats, etc.
Both have seeds, despite what you read. Some peo­ple say straw doesn’t have seeds, but the bar­ley straw had bar­ley babies sprout­ing out of it.

In my mind, alfalfa hay is my favorite input when you work­ing on rehabing abused soil, doing an ini­tial sheet mulch, or start­ing a plant­ing area.
Straw is great for gen­eral mulch until you get your mulch plants up and ready to be harvested.

When you get projects going, let me know. Take pic­tures. I would love to post them to my website.