Down with Monocultures

When creating the Kingdom of Kush I knew that I wouldn’t feel okay growing a monoculture of cannabis.  I would be fighting back the volunteers of previous growing seasons and forced to cover Earth with a weed barrier. I decided to create a beneficial polyculture using an insectary, living mulch, and choice volunteers. This is my first experience with living mulches so I am excited to see the results and learn how to manage my polyculture with ease and grace.

Insectary plants:

Anethum graveolens (Dill); attracts lacewings, Ichneumon wasps, and Ladybugs.  The dill is planted on the outer perimeter of the greenhouse.

Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary); this herb is being grown for use as an insecticide that can be made on site.

Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum); a daisy which is made into an insecticide that kills the eggs of insect pests.  This is very important for when a large infestation occurs. The germination of this flower has been tricky for me and the growth slow.

Coriandrum sativum (Cilantro); the flower of this herb is known to draw in beneficial insects, especially those who combat spider mites.  A very common pest of cannabis.  These plants are placed directly next to the cannabis plants.

Allium cepa (Onion);  I used surplus plant starts and planted this vegetable around the perimeter of the greenhouse in hopes that is will ward off voles and other ground pests.

Living Mulch

A ground cover of Trifolium repens (mini-clover) not only is serving as the shag carpet of my greenhouse but also as a nitrogen source.  Thanks to a symbiotic relationship between the clover and a bacteria, Rhizobia, which lives in root nodules free of Oxygen, this ground cover is facilitating a chemical reaction which changes nitrogen gas, to plant available nitrogen. N2 –> NH3 (Ammonia).  During growth little nitrogen is released from these plants into the soil but when they die the nitrogen is released in a plant available form.  I am periodically chopping the clover and adding the greenery to the mulch above my plants to see if it can become an easy natural fertilizer for those plants.  A potential risk of having a ground cover is increased humidity, this may lead to disease issues, therefor I must remain aware of this concern.

Volunteers

Many squash, tomato, ground cherry, and flowers naturally germinate throughout the greenhouse.  I weed out volunteers that pose a risk.  Powdery mildew is a common fungal issue on squash plants.  The flower I’m growing must pass a mold and mildew test so therefore I remove the squash.  Tomatoes share similar diseases with cannabis even though they are not in the same family so I also remove these volunteers.  The flowers attract many different insects into the greenhouse, most of which are beneficial, and also make the greenhouse more pleasurable to be in so I allow them to flourish.  Some cabbages volunteered and have become great trap crops!  More on this matter later.

Much Love!

Kush Mama

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