Alfalfa living mulch?

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by mindismoving, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. hello all, im considering adding some cover crops to my containers as a "living mulch." i have seeds of alfalfa, crimson clover and braco mustard. im definitely going to use clover and probably mustard, but im wondering if anyone could comment on using alfalfa like this? seems like a great thing to be able to just mix into the soil after harvest.. ? any thoughts?
     
  2. Alfalfa (legume/nitrogen fixer) and clovers are excellent cover crops. While I have never personally used them (cover crops) in container gardening I do know others who have with positive results.

    Use cover crops to protect and improve gardens, flower beds

    You will need to give your pots a haircut often but I definetly see this as a good thing.

    Good luck.

    J
     

  3. thanks as usual jerry :wave: still not sure if it would be most beneficial to just leave the clippings on top of the soil or toss them into the worm bin.. ? i suppose a little of both heh
     
  4. There are exceptionally good reasons to use cover crops in agriculture. Using cover crops in container gardening might tend to be on the more esoteric side of thinking depending on what the intended purpose of planting a cover crop in a container plant might be.

    If the purpose of a cover crop in a container garden is to fix soil and atmospheric nitrogen consider that the nitrogen that is fixed by the cover crop is available only after the cover crop has been "harvested", or in the case of agriculture, tilled under and decomposed. Another consideration to be given to planting a cover crop in a container garden is that the cover crop requires the same minerals for growth just like your container plant. In this instance there is competition between the plant species for the same minerals contained in your soil.

    Cover crops might be best best considered beneficial to an indoor container garden as a natural defense against pests and pathogens but that depends on the cover crop selected. This is not intended to imply a conflict with companion planting for pest protection.

    If you are mainly interested in the nitrogen fixing capability of certain cover crop species keep in mind how this process works in agriculture and of which the protocol of cover crop planting evolved. There is certainly no harm with the plant species you specifically mentioned being co-planted in the same container with MJ but, to what end are you trying to achieve by doing so should be the question to answer. I do not believe you would find three instances anywhere in the world where cover crop planting in production nurseries is a common practice especially for annual plant species. People do perform this practice in container gardening but the true benefit of cover crop planting occurs after the cover crop is harvested and recycled in the soil via tillage.

    HTH
     
  5. If we are talking about a living mulch I would prefer to go with white dutch clover myself. I would imagine alfalfa roots would compete more with MJ.

    As a cover crop I would go with Alfalfa though since the roots go so deep and it is good at accumulating trace minerals as well as nitrogen fixing.
     
  6. I've seen and posted some great pictures of cover crops using micro clover in an organic medical garden but Doodlebug makes some excellent points regarding the usefulness once the cover crop has been tilled under.

    I think that the living mulch would best be utilized in a no-till garden - it would certainly help keeping fungus and bacteria happy between crops/plants but I've never done it so have a hard time commenting too much...

    J
     
  7. #7 tspimpin1118, Jan 21, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2013
    I'm wondering if you could plant a cover crop in a worm bin... My worm bin has sort of become a semi Bokashi style bin but I'm thinking if I planted alfalfa I would till it under every so often...
     
  8. Where is a good online outlet toget nettle, yarrow, alfalfa, comfrey and horsetail fern seeds anyoneknow? Very interested in growing my own this year with my veggies. Now if I could onlygrow my own kelp hahaha I did have a knack for growing aquatic plants in fish tanks wonder if I could grow kelp in a fish tank at home dont see why not? Maybe freshwater kelp or I bet you could doasaltwater tankwith live kelphave to look intoit.:D
     
  9. Rose Mountain Organic Seeds
    Horizon Organic Seed

    Google and enjoy.
     

  10. Thanks man good stuff. Growing comfrey, nettle, yarrow , and alfalfa this year along with the cannabis.
     
  11. We just received an order yesterday from Mountain Rose in Oregon - I simply can't say enough good things about this company.

    If Monsanto is the worst company out there then these guys are the best - they are just great.

    Btw, I have a lot of buckwheat growing in my soil mix totes from my organic buckwheat hulls...must have been a mess of viable seed in it...

    J
     
  12. Hi guys, my experience with clover as ground cover has been a great success. The #1 advantage for me, which may seem very counter intuitive, is I end up using much less water throughout the grow. While I'm positive there are direct effects to the soil "ecosystem" when using this sort of ground cover, my plants don't show any glaring tell tale signs of the benefits. They don't look any healthier, grow any faster, or any of that jazz, but there is definitely something very cool about how it looks when everything's in full swing.


    I've attached photos of the progression from an early 2012 grow. Enjoy :smoke:


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  13. Nobody but sm00ve can do it like sm00ve can do :bongin:

    Nice to see you did not fall by the way of all the rumors and rumors of rumors :wave:
     
  14. smoove, how many seeds did you sow for that much coverage? (the clover)
     
  15. I lost count at 532...

    J
     

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