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Mulch? Empty Mulch?

Post  junequilt on 3/29/2010, 5:47 pm

I hope this is the right region for me -- I live just outside Columbia, South Carolina, on the sandhills.

The All New book doesn't really go into the topic of mulch, whereas if I recall correctly, the original book was all in favor of mulching and devoted some detail to it.

Do you mulch your SF beds? And if so, what do you use?

Thanks!
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Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/29/2010, 6:31 pm

I'll mulch the vining plants after they are up and growing with cypress mulch. It gets so hot here, I'll be watering three times a day if I don't. But this is my first year with the "new" method, so am certainly no expert.
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Post  timwardell on 3/30/2010, 8:48 pm

This is my first year with an all Mel's Mix set up so I'm with holding on any mulch. The new book only mentions it in reference to putting something in the aisles between boxes and possibly covering the beds in winter. Other than that, there is no mention of mulching which leads me to believe that Mel doesn't think it's needed in the new system. -- But it sure get's hot in Texas.
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Post  ljohnsonusa on 3/31/2010, 6:35 pm

I started my SFG last year without mulch, I could not keep it watered enough. Then it turned 100 degrees in June, I mulched immediately to save my garden. It also keeps weeds out. Last year I had plenty of leaves, this year I am using straw.

I now have 4-4'x12's and some other various size boxes, I am now looking into drip irrigation. The SFG really needs a lot of water that is time consuming, mulching helps.
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Post  Wyldflower on 3/31/2010, 6:40 pm

Would dry leaves (that I'm raking up this week) work as mulch? Or would they have too much/not enough of certain nutrients that would throw my mix off balance?

The leaves are mostly from a Russian Olive tree in my front yard.
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Post  boffer on 3/31/2010, 7:30 pm

@Wyldflower wrote:Would dry leaves (that I'm raking up this week) work as mulch? Or would they have too much/not enough of certain nutrients that would throw my mix off balance?
The leaves are mostly from a Russian Olive tree in my front yard.

Hi,

I use a lot of oak leaves in my compost without problems. I double checked before I used them and found this: "Oak leaves are perfectly fine compost ingredients, although they are quite acidic. Don't worry, though, the microbes will take care of that without liming." I'm not familiar with ROs, but would assume the same would be true. I would think of your leaf mulch as just another compost ingredient.

The only problem you might have is your mulch ending up in your neighbor's lawn when the wind blows.
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Post  junequilt on 4/1/2010, 5:01 pm

Chopped leaves don't blow away. Do you have anything you can use to shred those Russian Olive leaves? I have a bagging lawn mower that does a beautiful job of leaf shredding -- when it's working. I also have a chipper/shredder that spends more time in the small engine repair hospital than it does chipping or shredding, but that's probably another topic . . . Mulch? Icon_cry

I will probably mulch my brand new square foot beds with chopped oak leaves, if and when I can get them chopped.
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Post  Wyldflower on 4/1/2010, 5:35 pm

I don't believe they'll blow away... they're small leaves to begin with (about 2" long by about 1/2" wide) and much to my dismay, they don't blow away out of my front yard! And my neighbor's back yard is 'protected' by a fence covered with Virginia Creeper (I really don't like that stuff... but it's on HIS fence ... I just cut away all the runners on my side.)

I've had last year's leaves composting, so I'll use some of that as 1/5 of the compost in my Mel's Mix, too.
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Post  junequilt on 4/1/2010, 6:01 pm

How lovely that you have nice, small leaves to work with! Ours are blackjack pin oak: huge, tough, leathery. They blow around like small kites and remain intact for 2 or more years unless shredded. Oh, for the maple trees of my misspent youth in NJ! But I love these oak leaves. They're great for compost and mulch. My garden is never so happy as when it has a thick layer of chopped oak leaves.

Russian olives are Elaeagnus, aren't they? Are yours actual trees or large shrubs?
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Post  Wyldflower on 4/1/2010, 6:30 pm

Oh, it's a tree alright (Elaeagnus angustifolia) - and one that wants to spread the way that typical Russian olives do. I keep mowing down the shoots that come up from the root system, and they keep coming back. I'd like to take it down and replace it with something more benign. Might be able to afford the tree-people next year......... (are we in the 'off topic forum?)

Mulch? House_10
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Mulch? Empty A novel solution to the mulch question

Post  duckycards on 4/26/2010, 5:16 pm

For a novel (and humorous) solution to "what should I use for mulch in
my SFG?" check out this post in the Southwest Desert Region Forum:

http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/southwestern-deserts-f17/what-to-use-for-mulch-in-south-west-desert-t1614.htm#11316
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