No dig in South Sardinia


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This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  giorgiohs87 3 months ago.

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  • #48169

    giorgiohs87
    Participant

    Hi Charles,
    I’m italian and I live in south Sardinia, paradise island in the middle of the Mediterranean, but with low precipitation (<400mm/year) and very hot and dry climate on summer, maybe like yours this year. I’ve read your book Organic gardening and follow your Youtube channel.
    I’m owner of a snail farm and I’m going to experiment your method to increase the fertility of the soil and improve the garden production. My company only makes organic production.
    Slugs and snails attacks are not my problem. I have to watering every day about half hectare of garden in conventional horticulture. About 20 m3 of water per day exclusively for the vegetable garden.
    If I’d use compost, it should dry very fast and it would be impossible the germination of many sowing. I’m thinking to cover it in the raised beds with a thin layer of straw to prevent drying on this period.
    I’ve coltivated until now using mulching, cover crops and straw on the soil to cover it and saving water. Is it good in your opinion mix these two solution? My soil it’s very silty and tends to make superficial crust without constant watering. The compost is much better than this type of soil. That’s why I would like to try.
    I love your work and your passion and I would like to introduce it on our italian antiquated agricultural mentality.
    I’m sorry for my innacurate English.
    Best regard,
    Giorgio from Cagliari

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    #48175

    charles
    Moderator

    Hi Giorgio and thanks for your nice message.
    A difficult climate but ok if you have water and no dig will make a difference.
    Yes a light ‘paillage’/cover of straw sounds worthwhile. This summer I have experimented with some half composted grass but am not convinced, for our climate. And a visitor from Sydney saud how he prefers compost mulch for ease of sowing & planting, but he is gardener not market gardener.
    I would try a few things to see.

    #48179

    Dieter
    Participant

    Hi Giorgio,

    I live in Belgium, in a region known as Campine in Italian. We have a sandy and infertile soil that does not retain water well. So even though we have about 800-900mm precipitation annually, we always have issues during hot spells and drought due to poor soil (almost every year).

    I “solved” this problem by making raised beds filled with (mushroom) compost (20-30cm). The difference is immense. As a matter of fact, I never thought of watering the plants during the drought, but rather of saturating the compost with water. Once a week was fine, though I was quite liberal with water. My crops grown outside: beetroot, cabbages, beans, celeriac, carrots, parsnip, leek, tomatillo, zucchini, squash. I watered onions once a month. Things have been and are growing great.

    I have other parts were I only topped the soil with a few cm of the same compost, but plants didn’t do very well. Many died… 🙁 While topping the soil with compost certainly helped boosting fertility, it didn’t result in a miracle under the extreme conditions of the last two months, but the raised beds did!

    #48183

    giorgiohs87
    Participant

    Thanks for your replies.
    I’m testing direct sowing of bean and string bean on two raised beds full of compost. The moisture seems good and the seeds are beginning to germinate after 4-5 days. I’ll check the progress and replicate the method if it will a success.

    #48184

    charles
    Moderator

    Dieter that is good news from you.
    It also raises the question of how much compost Giogio would need for his larger area.
    I would have a smaller part with extra compost for high value crops.
    Then spread 3-5cm on the rest.
    That is still a large amount and I hope it’s available in Sardinia. Beautiful photo by the way.

    #48185

    charles
    Moderator

    Dieter that is good news from you.
    It also raises the question of how much compost Giorgio would need for his larger area.
    I would have a smaller part with extra compost for high value crops.
    Then spread 3-5cm on the rest.
    That is still a large amount and I hope it’s available in Sardinia. Beautiful photo by the way.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  charles.
    #48190

    Hawfinch
    Participant

    If I may, I’d like to suggest looking at the videos of the Natural Farmer (John Kaisner) on Youtube. He gardens/has a property on the northern tip of Sicily in a climate that sounds very much like yours, Giorgio. He has several videos about mulching, what kind of mulch, how to preserve and use water etc. in that very dry climate. In his experience straw gives too little protection against the soil drying out so he uses leaf mulch with great success.
    Hope I haven’t stepped on any toes by suggesting this, otherwise my apologies.

    #48196

    Cleansweep
    Participant

    Giorgio,
    Good evening.
    Knowing that you have beaches at Cagliari, do you use’ posidonia oceanica’, the Mediterranean marine grass/seaweed?
    Is it available freely for collection?
    I know it is used to create composts for basil growing, and salads.
    You may find this link of interest:
    http://www.compost.gr/biological-compost-posidonia
    Please update us with your progress
    REGARDS
    Cleansweep

    #48203

    charles
    Moderator

    Thanks Hawfinch for that idea, that is interesting to see the difference between straw and leaves! Horizontal packing of the leaves keeping moisture in.

    #48204

    giorgiohs87
    Participant

    I’ve calculated about 800m3 of compost to cover my 4000m2 of garden area. In my area there are many composting companies to satisfy my request.
    Unfortunately, In Sardinia it is forbidden to collect posidonia from the beach. I know its use in agriculture, but in our region it is not possible for reasons of coastal erosion.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  giorgiohs87.
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