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Organic Gardening & Permaculture Week 2 – Composts & Legumes.

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Presentation on theme: "Organic Gardening & Permaculture Week 2 – Composts & Legumes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Organic Gardening & Permaculture Week 2 – Composts & Legumes

2 Compost In 1 teaspoon of compost: Up to a billion bacteria 15 – 300m fungi hyphae 10-50,000 protozoa, 30-300 nematodes Used to inoculate beneficial microbes into your soil Introduces, maintains and alters the soil food web of an area Depending on the balance of microbes in the compost, you can encourage the breeding of particular species You can best satisfy a plants needs by adding compost with the right microbial domination

3 Http:// Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis

4 Carbon Nitrogen Heat Water Air Microbes Carbon fuels the metabolism of the organisms, which in turn creates heat and the by-products of compost Needed to make the enzymes, proteins and aminio acids for the decay process, new enzymes and reproduction Moisture prevents microbes from going into dormancy, and provides them with means of transport. Too much water creates stagnancy Air is needed for aerobic bacteria Comes from the microbes metabolic processes – mostly from bacteria – this heat increases populations and causes them to change

5 Carbon : Nitrogen Ideal ratio is 25:1 or 30:1 “Brown”: include autumn leaves, bark, wood chips, twigs, branches, newspaper, cardboard Provides energy for metabolism, encourages fungal dominance “Green”: grass clippings, annual weeds, kitchen scraps Easy-to-digest bacterial foods Provides building blocks for proteins

6 Fungal-dominated compost Increased ratio of brown material e.g. 5-10% alfalfa meal, 45-50% grass clippings, 40-50% brown leaves or small wood chippings Bacteria-dominated compost Aerobic bacteria e.g. 25% alfalfa meal, 50% grass clippings, 25% brown leaves or bark Turning encourages aerobic bacteria, leaving a pile to rot breeds anaerobic bacteria (need little oxygen) and produces alcohols and sulphuric substances which can kill plants

7 Important Factors: 1.Particle size: Not too fine (lack of air) or too big (too much air). Ideally 1cm 3 2.Not too acidic, good variety, and plenty carbon! 3.Compost needs to be at least 1m 3 4.Pile up in layers of 6”

8 Mesophyllic Phase: (20 - 40°C) Depolymerisation: chains of cellulose broken into smaller chains of glucose Difficult material begins to be broken down by fungus and bacteria Produce endospores which are heat-resistant Outside temperature needs to be at least 0°C for this process to start Thermophyllic Phase: (40 - 65°C) Complex carbohydrates are fully broken down Many more bacteri and fungi join in Rising heat kills pathogens Can reach this stage in 24-72 hours Compost needs to be turned to add oxygen and may require more materials Ideally kept in this phase for about 3 days to kill weed seeds and pathogens Should never exceed 68°C Turn the compost heap every three days to ensure thorough mix and to maintain temperature within appropriate range

9 Maturation Phase Temperature starts to decrease as complex carbohydrates and proteins finish decaying Most resistant component lignin is broken down here Actinomycetes particularly active (which provide pleasant smell) Soil-binding activity increases: Worms work organic material and expose it to bacteria, coating particles with mucus that binds them into aggregates More big animals join in including beetles, ants, slugs and spiders Best kept at 40-55°C

10 Leguminosae Most important source of food to mankind, apart from grains. Together, they provide all the essential amino acids needed. Cultivated for over 6,000 years for food, forage, timber, fiber, dyes, tannins, gum resins, insecticides, flavourings and flowers. Includes over 12,000 species, 25 main edibles, used for leaves, shoots, roots and seeds.

11 Peanut Arachis hypogaea Soybean Glycine max Chickpea Cicer arientinum Lentil Lens culinaris Adzuki Vigna angularis Yard-long bean Vigna unguiculata var. sesquipedalis

12 Garden Pea Pisum sativum Originated in the eastern mediterranean, cultivated seeds found in Sqitzerland dating back to 7000BC. Sweet varieties for eating, starchy ones for dry use or for fodder. Smooth-seeded varieties (var. arvense) better adapted to cool weather

13 Shelling Peas (incl. petit pois) – seeds eaten fresh or dried for winter use. Heirloom varieties very suitable for drying. E.g. Mangetouts (flat-podded) & Sugar Snaps (rounded crunchy edible pods) arrived in the 1970s

14 Earlies – 11-12 weeks to maturity [e.g. ‘Douce Provence’, ‘Meteor’] Second Earlies – 12-13 weeks [e.g. ‘Early Onward’, Kelvedon Wonder] Maincrops – 13-14 weeks [e.g. ‘Onward’, ‘Hurst Green Shaft’ Also dwarf varieties Require fertile, well worked soil, but provide their own nitrogen after 5 weeks of growth Growth much less vigorour in hot weather Can be sown in autumn to over-winter

15 Cultivation Sow 1” deep, 3” apart, closer for earlies Single rows with supports Double rows 9” apart with support down the center Flat-bottomed drills 6-9” wide Circles 3-4’ diameter supported by canes and wire netting Only water in early stages – overwatering can result in too much leafy growth If dry, water weekly once plants flower (22L per m2)

16 Support Criss-crossed brushwood with lots of branches to accommodate pea tendrils – at least 5’ high for tall varieties Parallel wires attached to stakes as a fence Wire netting or string net up to 5’ high


18 Problems with peas Mice Birds Pea moth Pea weevil Thrips/thunderflies Mildew, wilt & rot Peas can be netted with fine nets, sprayed/fed with seaweed solution Disease-resistant varieties

19 Broad beans Vicia faba Oldest cultivated legumes – Egypt, Greece, Italy, Middle East Favism – potentially fatal allergy in males of southern european ancestry Rigid stems and upright growth 2-6’ tall Pods 2-12” long Very young pods eaten whole, plant tips used for salads Hardy varieties can be sown in Autumn to over-winter

20 Cultivating broadbeans Over-wintered plants sown in autumn Need to be 1-2” before winter sets in Sow in modules mid-winter (Jan/Feb) Sow outdoors Feb – April Sow 2” deep individually or in staggered double rows – 2 plants per square inch Support with strings run between stakes if needed

21 Pests and Diseases Blackfly (Aphis fabae) – attack particularly in summer – pinch out tops before they spread to beans Mice – grow in protected modules Chocolate spot (Botrytis fabae) – can kill plants in wet seasons – maximise airflow, eliminate common vetch from area

22 Climbing Beans

23 French Beans

24 Runner Beans

25 Cultivation Start plants indoors in 3” pots – can be sown and planted 3 to a pot or plant 6-9” apart each way Erect supports up to 6’ for climbing types before sowing Dig a trench as early as possible (Autumn) to fill with manure and straw/compost/kitchen scraps (Most important for runner beans). Allow to settle. Apply general fertilizer again before sowing. Roots should never be allowed to dry out. Keep well watered. Mulch with well rotted manure/compost.

26 Pests & Problems Bean seed fly Blackfly Pollen beetle Dry set – flowers drop off without setting fruit. May be a result of warm nights. Plant in groups to provide shelter for insects Bees are main pollinators

27 Harvesting and storage Beans are ready after 60-70 days Edible when snapped in half If left too long the beans can be shelled Pick regularly to encourage more fruit Newer varieties may be “stringless” blanched and frozen (put in boiling water for up to 3 minutes, then rinse with cold water to stop them cooking any more) Salted. Use tender beans, layer with salt and press down firmly to fill a pot

28 Green Manures Excellent to keep ground covered, healthy and fed. Many different types, most of which fix nitrogen, most are perennial. Overwintering and Spring/Summer types Landsberger Mix Clover Vetch Rye 1kg per 150m 2 BuckwheatLupines PhaceliaSunflowers Mustardetc.

29 Nitrogen-fixing Atmospheric nitrogen is converted to ammonia (NH 3 ) which can then be used to make proteins and amino acids Diazotrophs (Rhizobia) symbiotic with plants and animals (e.g. termites)

30 caragana arborescens siberian pea tree Fast-growing perennial shrub (6m X 4m), produces edible seeds and pods which have nutritional and medicinal value

31 Alnus cordifolia (Italian Alder), Alnus glutinosa Alder Fast-growing, 25X 10m, grows in wet and nutritionally poor areas

32 Myrica rubra Bayberry Grows up to 3m, edible fruit – northern varieties used for food flavouring

33 Ulex europaeus


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