2. Weeds seeds vs vegetables
One of the very common questions about deep mulching is how the vegetables can grow if weeds can`t? In my previous blog, I have described the benefits of deep mulching and it`s effect on weeds. Same would be with vegetables, if we didn`t pay some attention to our plants that we care about.
There are a few different approaches. My favourite is always the simplest and the quickest one. If I am planting seeds or small seedlings, I simply move the mulch from that area. I have tried planting those by moving the mulch around and using the stick to prevent it falling on the plants. But, be sure that the wind or sudden rain will move the mulch and literally burry your efforts.
A few days ago, I was planting small lettuces and swiss chard. The mulch on that area was probably thick around 15 cm, 6 inches. When I moved it, the soil below was moist and full of wildlife. I found a few slugs, but nothing to worry about.
I moved the hay so it doesn`t fall on my young plants. Moved mulch can be left there, or used somewhere else, which I will do as the potatoes will be ready soon to be planted.
After planting the seedlings, I watered them locally, by using plastic bottle with a small hole on its cap, so I can control the flow and direction of the water. After watering, I added some wood shavings around (I am woodturning, so always have some shavings around). The shavings need to be dry and therefore sharp for the slugs. In absence of the wood shavings, you can use proper wood chip, dry hay broken into small pieces or smashed egg shells. Some advice using bramble sticks, but I have no got time for that (collect the branches with thrones, cut them, surround the plant with them).
By growing organically, it is always recommended to plant more, so the percentage can be damaged by the pests. However, the word pest in permaculture/organic gardening is not really accepted. Pest is a description of something that does damage to our crop in one way, such as weeds (taking space, light, water and nutrients). But, let`s think for a moment how many of those weeds from our plot are edible and not modified genetically? Please do not eat those before you can recognise and describe them as safe.
If you have already established plants, move the mulch, put the plants into the soil, water it and put the mulch around it, leaving the gap of a few inches, so the plant has enough space/light to develop.
So, veggies can grow because we adapt the mulch to it and prevent mulch from doing it`s job locally. Then the plants are established and big enough, simply water them and move the hay around them. And watch the magic happen!