Mulch as a Drylands Strategy

Mulch is absolutely crucial to getting a new system going. Deserts are particularly in need of it as the soil life and ecosystem have been severely damaged and disabled.

Herbaceous material is great, but woody material is extremely important for developing the fungal soils that are good for growing trees. The woody, “chop-and-drop” material really needs to be cut into small pieces so that it can break down, and it will break down even more quickly beneath groundcovers that are trapping humidity.

All the leaves and twigs and bits of wood feed the soil, and this begins the process of growing lots of plants and lots of diversity. The more diversity in what’s growing, the more organic and woody matter that is added to the soil to further feed and broaden the system.

And then, the broadened system will create a fuller nutrient and mineral profile to the landscape as it breaks down. And, on the system grows.

When you feed the soil, you can feed the world!

Key Takeaways

– Using lots of mulch is a key strategy in starting new growing systems, particularly in arid climates where moisture is lost and, thus, soil ecology is minimal.
– Woody mulch material—cut into small pieces—is extremely important because it, rather than herbaceous mulch, fosters fungal soils that are good for trees.
– As the leaves, twigs, and branches break down, they create a better-suited environment for more diverse plant life. That plant life then breaks down and broadens the system again. And the process repeats into rich botanical diversity growing in very fertile soils.
– “If you feed the soil, you can feed the world.”

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About Geoff:

Geoff is a world-renowned permaculture consultant, designer, and teacher that has established demonstration sites that function as education centers in all the world’s major climates. Geoff has dedicated his life to spreading permaculture design across the globe and inspiring people to take care of the earth, each other, and to return the surplus.

About Permaculture:

Permaculture integrates land, resources, people, and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies – imitating the no waste, closed-loop systems seen in diverse natural systems. Permaculture applies holistic solutions that are applicable in rural and urban contexts and at any scale. It is a multidisciplinary toolbox including agriculture, water harvesting and hydrology, energy, natural building, forestry, waste management, animal systems, aquaculture, appropriate technology, economics, and community development.

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