Monday, June 17, 2013

Clover as a living mulch.

Last Fall I walked around the yard tossing clover seeds into the walking paths between rows. This is the Masunobu Fukuoka method of "do nothing" farming, in which we let nature do the work for us. The clover eventually sprouts and becomes a living mulch, suppressing future weeds.

You can see in the photo below there is some clover in between the beds. Scattering by hand is not very efficient because the seeds tend to land in a one spot rather than actually scatter over a wide area. I still have spots with weeds this year, but the places where the clover landed are 95% free of the grass that was there last year. The grass normally will get to be waist high and needs repeated cutting throughout the year, so you can see why clover, which grows to only 3-40 cm high, is a time-saving technique. Clover also feeds the soil with nitrogen, is easy to remove, can be tilled under to provide green manure for the soil. Because it keeps the soil cool and moist, the worms and other soil organisms are very happy. And the bees are delighted by all the flowers. Win, win, win!!!