Thursday, February 26, 2015

Taro & Standing Mulch Update

Each week day I work on a number of different projects rather than just focusing one one until the job is done. I know that most people don't work this way, but sticking with one project till the end seems too much like a job to me. I left those boring drudge jobs behind several years ago. This system that seems hodgepodge to some people works just fine for me. It keeps me interested and enthused with my homesteading efforts. 

Thus this post......this is an update on my new taro patch and standing-mulch project. I started several weeks ago clearing out a brushy area, using the cut up brush as a coarse mulch for the baby taro plants. I cut stuff as I needed it, leaving the rest for the future when I needed more. As I cleared the brush I planted taro. So this is what it looks like today......

The taro in the foreground has produced large leaves because that was the first patch I planted. The further you look back, the younger the plants are. The babies that I planted today you can't even see. 

Back where the younger plants are is the area that was covered in brush several weeks ago. All that brush has been snipped up and used as mulch on the taro. The process took several weeks, adding light layers of mulch repeatedly over time. The coarse mulch layer is about 10 inches thick in the foreground. The neat thing about this type mulch is that it won't form a water impervious mat. Instead, it allows rain through, keeps the soil moist, and blocks weeds. Pretty neat. One of the reasons it doesn't mat is that the brush stems are cut up too and incorporated in the mulch. Yes, very stemmy. It keeps the mulch springy. Those stems will gradually degrade. When this taro is harvested in a year, all the mulch gets dug into the soil, including any stems that haven't rotted. It greatly improves my otherwise pathetic tropical soil. 

In the far back of the picture the ground shows greenery. That's where I harvested standing mulch but am allowing it to regrow. I did not remove the roots. As I expand the taro patch, I will totally remove the brush and roots in order to plant taro. In the meantime, the brush will regrow greenery that I can use as more mulch material later on. One other point about not removing all the brush prior to actually using the space. The greenery will shade the soil surface, keeping the sun from killing the soil microbes. Since I use organic material as my fertilizer, healthy soil microbes are important. 

No comments:

Post a Comment