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Author Topic: Chop and Drop suggestions  (Read 881 times)

skhan

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Chop and Drop suggestions
« on: March 18, 2020, 02:15:05 PM »
I no longer have the time to receive a truckload of mulch and wheelbarrow it into my back yard, so I'm looking into growing my own.

Does anyone have any suggestions for chop and drop plant and living ground cover?

I know there is:
Moringa
Mexican Sunflower
Perennial Peanut
Sunshine mimosa

Is there anything else people would suggest for South Florida?
Khan's Edible Oasis
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spaugh

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2020, 05:27:50 PM »
Anything you cut pretty much.  Any yard waste. 
Brad Spaugh

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2020, 05:57:01 PM »
Jonathon Crane recommended sun hemp when I was asking about it.

But once your trees get mature and shade everything out, you won't have a need for ground cover.
Jeff  :-)

zephian

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2020, 08:27:21 PM »
Artichoke and banana work well here.
So do any vegetable greens. I chop and drop chard, kale, radish greens
-Kris

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2020, 08:29:15 PM »
Jonathon Crane recommended sun hemp when I was asking about it.

But once your trees get mature and shade everything out, you won't have a need for ground cover.

Sun hemp is great. Pigeon Pea and Inga also work.
-Josh

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2020, 08:44:20 PM »
Nitrogen fixers are the best because they contain more N .


pineislander

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2020, 09:45:30 PM »
Nitrogen fixers for So. Florida:

Pigeon pea, cowpeas, jack bean(Canavalia ensiformis), leucaena, candlestick cassia(senna alata), Inga spp., earpod tree(Enterolobium contortisiliquum), Albizia lebbeck.

The most successful quick ground cover I grow under young fruit trees is Gynura procumbens- Longevity spinach. It akes about a year to really get going and needs to start over mulch but creates a great large leaved ground cover that produces an easily decomposed mulch I think is high in green matter nitrogen. I prefer the sunshine momosa to cover ground between trees but also have some perennial peanut. Under larger trees in shade I am using monstera & the "Thai pepper" Piper sarmentosum that tolerates shade and has nice shiny leaves, it dominates in shade. If anybody wants these you can come and get some starts.

Frog Valley Farm

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2020, 06:04:58 AM »
Heliconias, Gingers, Sweet Potato, Happy Spring!

« Last Edit: March 19, 2020, 06:17:48 AM by Frog Valley Farm »

fsanchez2002

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2020, 08:54:22 AM »
Jonathon Crane recommended sun hemp when I was asking about it.

But once your trees get mature and shade everything out, you won't have a need for ground cover.

Sun hemp is great. Pigeon Pea and Inga also work.

Agree. Definitively sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea). Grows fast, nitrogen fixation, improves organic matter in soil. UF/TREC/Crane et al. have done lots of research and highly recommend. Big plus for me are excellent edible flowers/buds for salads.
Federico
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skhan

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2020, 09:09:02 AM »
Thanks, everyone for all the suggestions.
I've been leaving all my tree trimmings on the ground for the past few years, but some of the trees are too small so the sun still hits the ground.

Does anyone have any leads?
Looking for Leucaena, candlestick cassia, and any other gingers and heliconias
I will probably need it to be shipped unless you're in Broward.





« Last Edit: March 19, 2020, 09:30:11 AM by skhan »
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SeaWalnut

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2020, 09:35:05 AM »
Otther idea its the ,,green manure,, Phacelia Tanacetifolia.
Has shallow roots and you can pick them easy from the ground.The seeds however are expensive and have a short viability of only 6 months.
Its good for beekeepers and polinators.

pineislander

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2020, 09:35:46 PM »
Thanks, everyone for all the suggestions.
I've been leaving all my tree trimmings on the ground for the past few years, but some of the trees are too small so the sun still hits the ground.

Does anyone have any leads?
Looking for Leucaena, candlestick cassia, and any other gingers and heliconias
I will probably need it to be shipped unless you're in Broward.
learn to identify the leucaena and cassia, they grow wild all over So. Florida you will find them and get seeds or seedlngs to transplant. You can do the cassia from cuttings if you like.

Oolie

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2020, 09:54:15 PM »
Broad beans grow large and produce lots of nitrogen, and take a while to break down. They work well as mulch for this reason vs other softer plants which can be used for compost.

RodneyS

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2020, 10:48:42 PM »
"bocking 14" Russian comfrey

Frog Valley Farm

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2020, 05:20:49 AM »
Thanks, everyone for all the suggestions.
I've been leaving all my tree trimmings on the ground for the past few years, but some of the trees are too small so the sun still hits the ground.

Does anyone have any leads?
Looking for Leucaena, candlestick cassia, and any other gingers and heliconias
I will probably need it to be shipped unless you're in Broward.

https://www.plantgrouphawaii.com/

spencerw

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2020, 03:47:22 PM »
im in hawaii so a different climate, but you should plant grasses. the most productive plant on our property is guinea grass (Panicum maximum) followed by mexican sunflower, cosmos, cassava and crotalaria spp. (not sunn hemp- because it phases out too quickly). i can cut the guinea when it reaches 4' every month. no one produces that much biomass!! im waiting for my banana, pigeon pea, inga, trema, kukui, avocado and gliricidia to reach sizeable heights in order to start utilizing them for mulch too. but in the meantime grass is king. also adds a different composition to the soils that younger microbial life in the soils need in order to support more demanding species in the future. also the guinea will phase out as shade and more favorable soils come into the system.
a good rule of thumb when creating your own mulch is to plant 4-6x more support (mulch) species than your 'cropping plants'. yes you need to allocate that much space to growing mulch plants (mulch plants can also be food like cassava). in my system i need to add a 6-12'' layer of mulch per month in order to keep the soils completely covered. otherwise the system digests the mulch and im left with bare soil. i needed to find a solution to keep up on my mulching and it seems guinea at this point is the only species that allows me to do as i need. (in a timely manner too with my little flail mower) with some intelligent organization systems can be set up to fully feed themselves in place without bringing things in or moving things around too much.
of course all the other species listed by other forum members are useful as well, so remember to plant them all! the more biodiversity the more food youre able to feed to the soil in order for the soils to feed your plants.

spaugh

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2020, 04:06:52 PM »
im in hawaii so a different climate, but you should plant grasses. the most productive plant on our property is guinea grass (Panicum maximum) followed by mexican sunflower, cosmos, cassava and crotalaria spp. (not sunn hemp- because it phases out too quickly). i can cut the guinea when it reaches 4' every month. no one produces that much biomass!! im waiting for my banana, pigeon pea, inga, trema, kukui, avocado and gliricidia to reach sizeable heights in order to start utilizing them for mulch too. but in the meantime grass is king. also adds a different composition to the soils that younger microbial life in the soils need in order to support more demanding species in the future. also the guinea will phase out as shade and more favorable soils come into the system.
a good rule of thumb when creating your own mulch is to plant 4-6x more support (mulch) species than your 'cropping plants'. yes you need to allocate that much space to growing mulch plants (mulch plants can also be food like cassava). in my system i need to add a 6-12'' layer of mulch per month in order to keep the soils completely covered. otherwise the system digests the mulch and im left with bare soil. i needed to find a solution to keep up on my mulching and it seems guinea at this point is the only species that allows me to do as i need. (in a timely manner too with my little flail mower) with some intelligent organization systems can be set up to fully feed themselves in place without bringing things in or moving things around too much.
of course all the other species listed by other forum members are useful as well, so remember to plant them all! the more biodiversity the more food youre able to feed to the soil in order for the soils to feed your plants.

Excellent t advice.  Thanks
Brad Spaugh

pineislander

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2020, 09:40:50 PM »
One idea I tried is to just plant lemongrass in a ring around individual trees or as a border. This is an example of what I did as a border planting @ 1 foot spacing along raised tree beds. I put in rooted single stem divisions with a spoonful of fertilizer at the start of rainy season. From an established clump you can get 50-100 stems. They decline after a few seasons as the stems grow upwards and lose their connection to ground. Cut them off with a hand pruning saw.




« Last Edit: March 20, 2020, 09:43:23 PM by pineislander »

spaugh

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2020, 10:38:54 PM »
What do you do with all the lemongrass then?  You use it for mulch?
Brad Spaugh

pineislander

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2020, 07:05:28 AM »
What do you do with all the lemongrass then?  You use it for mulch?
Yes, of course I used a hand pruning saw to cut and placed the cut grass around the trees as mulch. You could use any clumping type grass.

I also used pigeon peas as a border chop/drop crop, they lasted about two years being more or less continuously trimmed, and at mid-life I was able to harvest 20 pounds of dried peas out of two 100 ft rows.





Frog Valley Farm

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2020, 08:26:52 AM »
Agree that the grass legume native herbs/weeds with animals is the best cover and how to build soil. I use whatís around which for me is Brazilian pepper. I run my mule and donkeys up long narrow moveable pastures and switch them every 7 days and rest the grass at least 21 days.   Because of this dry farming here is a breeze.



« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 08:31:34 AM by Frog Valley Farm »

spencerw

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2020, 03:52:56 PM »
One idea I tried is to just plant lemongrass in a ring around individual trees or as a border. This is an example of what I did as a border planting @ 1 foot spacing along raised tree beds. I put in rooted single stem divisions with a spoonful of fertilizer at the start of rainy season. From an established clump you can get 50-100 stems. They decline after a few seasons as the stems grow upwards and lose their connection to ground. Cut them off with a hand pruning saw.





i also use lemongrass, but i found it to not be as productive as some other grasses. i found citronella grass to be a bit more vigorous (grows to 7') but still a bit slow as i can only cut it 3-4 times a year. and have to cut them manually as they cannot be cut too low. been playing with vetiver, three kinds of lemongrass, citronella grass, sudan x sorghum hybrid, guinea, what i call 'blue guinea' and a few other unidentified clumping grasses.
my ideal grass: produces enough biomass to be cut to the ground (mowed) once a month and responds vigorously. need to be mowed as i do not have time or manual labor to cut to 6 inches high (via hand sickle) on the 7 acres i currently maintain.
so far only guinea, blue guinea, and one unidentified grass fit into that pattern. most of the other more 'cultivated' grasses cannot be cut to the ground or it will kill them. and none of the cultivated ones grow fast enough for monthly mulching.
play with the plants around you and find out what suits your needs.
in our area guinea grass is very hairy and itchy. but if you cut it before it becomes too large its not too irritant. also once its shredded by the mower it isnt too bad to deal with. although i do need to wear long sleeves and gloves when dealing with it. but for the amount of biomass it produces i cannot have an issue with the hairs. 'blue guinea' however it hairless. its just a little more rare so harder to find to dig up and propagate.

Bush2Beach

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2020, 05:53:24 PM »
Guinea grass and Albizia are great builders of biomass but also require quite a bit of management.
Your signing up for alot of mowing all the time with guinea grass.
I think edible chop and drop like Moringa is pretty ideal.
Comfrey with long roots to airate the soil and mine minerals is nice.
Having guinea grass grow to 4 foot every month and swallowing young /smaller plants can be alot to contend with.
Props for working with it well, but I donít think its for everyone.

spencerw

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2020, 03:41:22 PM »
youre absolutely right. and i do have my moringas and comfreys (dont grow so well without chicken poop because of the infertility at this point) but i gotta work with what grows here. tree farming is all about maintenance and good design :). i do not allow the guinea to be in my tree cropping rows and just in my mow rows. would i rather be mowing weekly around each individual tree like most people here do? having a lawn with my 'orchard' of trees at some sort of strange distance from another. then bring in inputs to mulch and fert my trees? nope im trying to grow biomass to feed the soil everywhere to grow a forest. i can mow my entire 3.5 acre plots in 5 hours. doing that once a month isnt such a big deal. especially if i space it out. raking and mulching takes a little longer. thats why im trying to grow my biomass in place so i dont have to haul my mulch.


this was my original system. mowing the wainaku grass. ive now decided to plant guinea in the mow zone to create more biomass to feed my cropping row. coconuts and bananas with edible hibiscus, cassava, sugarcane, coleus, squash, blue basil, bush basil, Plectranthus barbatus and cosmos. the entire row besides the coconuts are used for mulch. add on the guinea in the mow row and i can add 2' of mulch per month to each coconut. now were talking. the border row is full of crotalaria, gliricidia, inga and a few trema. only the trema are large enough to harvest biomass. but the future looks strong for the trees. the cropping row was planted in november 

got the guinea in last week. update will be reported


these photos are younger zones but already planted the guinea in them. just came through last week and cut down all the sunn hemp, cosmos and some of the crotalaria. the trees have been in the system 2 months. replanted with mexican sunflower cassava and a few other vigorous cuttings. we shall watch the progress unfold




pineislander

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Re: Chop and Drop suggestions
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2020, 09:09:28 PM »
Yes, I was loving Guinea Grass back when I wrote this in 1986 in the USVI. Damn that was over 30 years ago...




« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 09:12:53 PM by pineislander »

 

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