Organic No-Till Living Mulch Composting: Weed 'Em and Reap Part 2


Weed 'Em and Reap Part 2: Reduced tillage strategies for vegetable cropping systems [DVD]. A. Stone. 2006. Oregon State University Dept. of Horticulture. Corvallis, Oregon. Available at: (verified 17 Dec 2008).


Helen Atthowe, BioDesign Farm. Stevensville, MT.

Audio Text


This is the composting operation. I don’t use as much compost as I did eleven years ago. I’ve slowly decreased the amounts, so that we use about two tons per acre now, sometimes less. The way I make the compost is to add green succulent legumes, like this red clover, with straw bedding and sheep manure. Sometimes I’ll add other things, crop residues, but mainly these are the basic ingredients. I used to chop the clover and add it to the compost, but I have finally learned, after 20 years of composting that it's much easier to plant the clover where I’m going to compost, then keep it watered, put the other ingredients, like the manure and the straw on top of it and then I will be mixing it with the front-end loader. After the initial mixing of the compost ingredients, this pile will be turned many more times. But with this initial turning, I’ve mixed the manure, sheep manure, the bedding straw, the green succulent clover and I’ve gotten soil from underneath or associated with the clover root. But also this soil is where the compost was made last year. I’m adding a portion of composted material and a portion of regular soil to help balance the water relations within the compost pile.

Organic No-Till Living Mulch Composting: Weed Em and Reap