Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chop-n-Drop Raised Gardenbeds

Here's a simple technique we discovered being used effectively on Oahu's North Shore, which is choked with tall-growing California grass in many areas...


Image: California grass covered almost the entire property - you can see where it has been harvested for the gardenbeds in foreground.

...if you've ever had to clear a patch of this stuff to make way for growing edibles, you know what hard work it is to hack it back, and then dig up its tough root clump to ensure it does not just spring back even more vigourously.

You may have also noticed the soil life thriving in the root zones of these clumps, especially when compared to bare soil immediately adjacent - this 'weed' is performing a valuable function, building soil & creating a habitat for soil biology, and mining nutrients in its biomass... which makes it a potentially valuable resource.

Here's how the Chop-n-Drop Raised Bed technique works:

  1. After cutting back an area of California grass
  2. The compost heap is topped with a thick layer of mature compost & mulch, which can then be planted directly into:
  3. 4 months later, the raised beds will have shrunk by about 2/3 or so, and the plant roots can extend into all that goodness below (check out the size of this raddish!):

    Simple, and highly effective.  Makes wonderful use of existing resources, and beautifully demonstrates the Permaculture Principle:

    • "The Problem is The Solution."

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