RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT GARDENS LEADING TO PRESENT DAY NO-TILL METHOD

Posted by on 9/27/2015 to Library

(Littleton, Colorado — 1992)

The history of combining Hydrosource with weed barrier goes back to the late 80’s in Colorado. It was observed that landscape-fabric covered gardens with polymer and soil amendments (to correct pH and nutrient levels):

1. Display greatly accelerated plant growth rates.

2. Allow much closer placement of plants, in the ‘French-intensive’ style.

3. Make for five to seven times the production level of conventional gardens.

4. Experience much less insect and disease problems.

The explanations for these effects include:

A. Landscape fabric heats the cool spring soil and promotes accelerated growth. Once plants have grown bigger, the summer sun does little heat damage, as the black fabric is shaded by plant leaves.

B. The fabric stops competition for food and water from weeds, reduces evaporative loss of water from the soil, and leaves that much more moisture available to the garden plants.

C. The polymer provides a continuous source of food and water for the garden plants avoiding the stress effects caused by conventional garden food and water shortages (stunted growth, lesser yields and increased susceptibility to insect damage). This combination of French intensive technique with Hydrosource & Sunbelt made for 5-7 times normal production over conventional gardens in the area.

D. Due to the accelerated growth cycle, the garden plants mature and often finish their productive season before the insects which prey on them have time to do damage.

This garden was placed over a junk pile on a 50-year-old ex-dairy farm. The soil was rocky and required the hand removal of numerous junk pile items. The nutrient and pH levels required substantial modifications. These were mainly accomplished by tilling in large amounts of sheep manure mixed with Colorado peat. During the growing season, fish emulsion fertilizer was sprayed onto the plants (providing fertilizer and micro-minerals). The Hydrosource polymer rate was 30 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. and the garden required 4-6 heavy irrigations during the season (average annual rainfall for this site = 16 inches). The following year the polymer rate was increased to 70 lbs./1000 sq. ft. and irrigation was not necessary. The tomatoes from this garden were routinely praised for their wonderful, intense flavor. I attribute this to getting the soil amendments right and the use of fish emulsion fertilizer.

In the modern no till garden, laying down mulch (with any other organic-gardening-style amendments like cottonseed meal, etc.), Hydrosource polymer, and covering with Dewitt Sunbelt landscape fabric accomplishes the same result with much less labor. I still recommend the regular use of fish emulsion fertilizer sprayed regularly during the growing season for the best vegetable flavor.

Western Polyacrylamide Inc.
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Copyright 1992 by Dale Greenwood.

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