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BANGKOK 26 April 2019 10:39
Smithson

Mulch (a Key Component To Growing In The Tropics)

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hi

has anyone had experience with Ramial Chipped Wood, i read a bit about it and according to the studies made by the guys who "discovered" it, it is more efficent than compost and may held saving water because it is kind of a living compost whereas compost is kind of dead. i put one of the links i found on the web www.sbf.ulaval.ca/brf/regenerating_soils_98.html

Now if anyone used that technique which machine have the found in Thailand to make the job of chipping those "ramials"

Living compost? Isn't that a contradiction of terms?

The great link to a great article is much appreciated and I have distilled some points for the benefit of people who fall asleep trying to decipher reports like that:

Yes. "we must make soil."

Good. "hasten nature's work".

System is designed to cleanup after "logging operations".

Foundation is: "Branches and brushes".

Key drawback. "Mechanized chipping is costly in both labor and money."

Unfortunate omission: "Twenty years of experiments" avoided Asia where most of the world's people live.

Incompatibility: "RCW must not be composted"

Used in: "cold and temperate conditions".

My main issue with it: Not a locally renewable/repeatable process.

Excellent take-home point: "structural stability is the most efficient tool for regenerating soils."

Best revelation: "More than 75% of nutrients are stored in twigs. Twigs are the center of life."

Coolest features by which to measure alternatives: "mechanical barrier to drying, shield against UV rays, preventing weed sprouting".

Biggest question: what "desertification" in what temperate climates they were talking about.

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Living compost? Isn't that a contradiction of terms?

Absolutely not. The bacterial and fungal life in good compost, worm castings and brewed teas from both is the main benefit. NPK values are never as high as chemical fertilisers, but organic ferts feed the soil as well as the plants.

Edited by IsaanAussie

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I'm in the lucky position of being able to get hold of coffee bean shells and rice husks free by the sackload. At present I've been using it to try and break up a clay soil, but also use it as a top mulch to keep weeds at bay. From my reading elsewhere I believe that anything with a high carbon to nitrogen ratio will temporarily cause soil microorganisms to grab all the available nitrogen in the soil; does this mean these materials are a problem when used as a mulch especially with small seedlings?

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I'm in the lucky position of being able to get hold of coffee bean shells and rice husks free by the sackload. At present I've been using it to try and break up a clay soil, but also use it as a top mulch to keep weeds at bay. From my reading elsewhere I believe that anything with a high carbon to nitrogen ratio will temporarily cause soil microorganisms to grab all the available nitrogen in the soil; does this mean these materials are a problem when used as a mulch especially with small seedlings?

Well SD, by now your should know the answer. Rice hulls are high in Lignin and breakdown slowly. Coffee bean shell cant help you. I carbonise the rice hulls and incorporate that to breakdown the soil the one thing to watch is the increased soil pH. Where I am this isnt an issue soil wise as it is very acidic, but not the best for small plants until it has been there a while. I brew probiotic like EM to get the microbes active, doubt you will get much just from rice hulls. Try spraying extended EM under your mulch. In the wet on top is fine the rain will get it into the ground.

EM is good to start cut weeds composting and will push weed seeds to germinate under the mulch not that, that will do them much good. You will get better microbe action from rice straw than hulls, especially fungal ones. May even crack it for some straw mushrooms.

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I thought I'd add my thoughts. Thanks to this posting, I started using rice straw which we have plenty of, as a mulching between plants and especially for pathways, a year ago. Certain weed types have almost disappeared, for some reason we have less problems with insects (maybe because the frogs like it) and I can walk through the garden when it is wet or just watered. I don't think my vegetable garden budget would be sufficient for buying coconut matting, but I was very interested to read the posts in this thread.

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Any ideas for mulching a large area with troublesome long grass/weeds?

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Any ideas for mulching a large area with troublesome long grass/weeds?

Cut the long grass/weeds, preferably before they set seed, as close to the soil as possible and leave the cuttings in situ

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Cover it all with cardboard. 5 Baht (?) per kilo. Weigh it down with bricks, tyres, whatever. Keep it damp and after 4/6 weeks treat it as ground. IE: put a thin layer of sharp sand down (gritty type) and lay turf on it. Feed it, treat it as lawn.
Da, da.
If rocket science really was rocket science we'd all be......well, you know the rest......

smile.png

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Any ideas for mulching a large area with troublesome long grass/weeds?

Cut the long grass/weeds, preferably before they set seed, as close to the soil as possible and leave the cuttings in situ

Thanks, sounds simple. But as i am a total newbie, i have to ask, when do these types of things usually set seed?

The missus thinks it'll mostly/all go away in the dry season. Not sure it's advisable to wait.

Cover it all with cardboard. 5 Baht (?) per kilo. Weigh it down with bricks, tyres, whatever. Keep it damp and after 4/6 weeks treat it as ground. IE: put a thin layer of sharp sand down (gritty type) and lay turf on it. Feed it, treat it as lawn.
Da, da.
If rocket science really was rocket science we'd all be......well, you know the rest......

Sounds like nothing will get back through that. By turf do you mean grass sod?

Thanks

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Yes, grass sod.
Your Missus is right. It will all die back in the winter if you don't water it. Problem is that the seeds are there too, and when the rains start, everything pops right back up.
Not sure where you are, but for most of Thailand the dry season starts at the end of November....ish. smile.png
Regards.

Another way is to let it all die down, rake it all off (or burn it) fill in all the depressions with sand, then feed and water it. Invest in a decent mower and as everything pops up again mow it aggressively. keep it short, not more than a couple of inches. All of the taller grasses will die off leaving just the shorter, softer grasses.

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Excellent advice. Thank you!smile.png

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Ash from burned banana plants is listed as being 50% potassium.

But how many banana plants i must burn to get 1 to of ash?

The cassava fabrik have some by-produkt to increase the quality of the soil. The price is between 10 and 150 Bath/to.

Also the skin of the cassava. In my eyes, for today, the cheapest by-produkt to increase the soil. Kompost, mulch or only cover the soil to protect it from sun and rain.

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Would recommend the banana ash as a high intensity (likely to burn the plants if not carefully applied) and easily stored (in watertight buckets). Washes away in the rain, so not really a mulch, but I was responding to the comments about using banana stalks as mulch. Banana mulch tends to be very messy, durable, and a haven for all sorts of things such as scorpions and centipedes.

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Meant to say, 'a high intensity fertilizer'. Rereading the thread, I see post #10 covers bananas used as mulch/compost very well.

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