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Taking heed - Mulch! Mulch! Mulch! Toplef10Taking heed - Mulch! Mulch! Mulch! 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Taking heed - Mulch! Mulch! Mulch! I22gcj10Taking heed - Mulch! Mulch! Mulch! 14dhcg10

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Taking heed - Mulch! Mulch! Mulch!

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AtlantaMarie
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Post  TinySpock 4/16/2015, 3:24 pm

I'm mulching, already!  LOL



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Post  sanderson 4/16/2015, 3:42 pm

cheers

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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 4/16/2015, 3:56 pm

I have been as well.  It makes it tougher to plant in my SFG raised beds but my watering dropped from every other day this sprint to less than once a week and in California, that's a big deal.  Not only that but my plants are happier when they have consistent moisture.  

I have about 25% of my garden yet to do.
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Post  Elizabeth 4/16/2015, 5:24 pm

Mulch is great. the effectiveness depends on what you use. 

My favorite mulch for both water retention and weed control is pine straw.  10" - 12".  Pat it down a little with your hands then let nature do it's thing.  Within a couple of weeks you will have a beautiful layer of tightly woven pine straw that is the best for water retention and weed control.  It decomposes slowly so you do not have to replenish as frequently as with wood mulch.  It is eco friendly and contrary to popular belief will not have an adverse affect on your soil pH.

Regular wood mulch will need to be replenished more frequently. 

You also need to have regular soil test done to monitor the level of Nitrogen.  Decomposing wood mulch sucks nitrogen out of the soil depriving your plants of a much needed nutrient.

Good luck
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 4/16/2015, 5:43 pm

Elizabeth wrote:Mulch is great. the effectiveness depends on what you use. 

My favorite mulch for both water retention and weed control is pine straw.  10" - 12".  Pat it down a little with your hands then let nature do it's thing.  Within a couple of weeks you will have a beautiful layer of tightly woven pine straw that is the best for water retention and weed control.  It decomposes slowly so you do not have to replenish as frequently as with wood mulch.  It is eco friendly and contrary to popular belief will not have an adverse affect on your soil pH.

Regular wood mulch will need to be replenished more frequently. 

You also need to have regular soil test done to monitor the level of Nitrogen.  Decomposing wood mulch sucks nitrogen out of the soil depriving your plants of a much needed nutrient.

Good luck
Good to know.  I think the myth that pine straw will turn your soil ph bad is one of the most prevelent I've heard.

As to the wood mulch, it also is a myth.  It actually does not "suck the nitrogen" out of the soil, only the surface of the soil is affected.  If they are not mixed into the soil layer, studies have shown that the root zone for plants under wood chips is quite safe nitrogen wise.  

It is also very easy to compensate for.  It is recommended that if someone is going to mulch with wood chips, it's a good idea to lay down some compost on top of the garden before laying down the mulch or you can also mulch and simply spread compost on top.  It will wash down through the chips and act like compost tea.
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Post  TinySpock 4/16/2015, 8:29 pm

I'm not familiar with pine straw, where does one obtain it?  Will any straw do?  I just see alfalfa bales available around town.  I'll check with the feed store, they'll know.  Thanks for the tip!

I laid several layers of newspaper (those annoying rolled up things that I'm always finding in my driveway), not the shiny-ink ones, wet it and then laid the mulch on top.
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Post  sanderson 4/17/2015, 12:11 am

Or, sprinkle a thin layer of manure compost on top of the MM, then the mulch.

Spock, Newspaper under the mulch. Was that to keep the chips from sinking into the Mix?

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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 4/17/2015, 12:19 am

sanderson wrote:Or, sprinkle a thin layer of manure compost on top of the MM, then the mulch.
Thanks for adding that, I meant to mention manure and got interrupted - the brain just doesn't handle being interrupted very well any more!
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Post  TinySpock 4/17/2015, 12:24 am

I saw a guy do it that way on a YouTube video.  He cut a slit in the 4 layers of newspaper and slid it around the stem, soaked the newspaper with water and then added mulch.  And yes, it will keep the mulch from mixing with the MM.  I love YouTube - there's a how-to video on just about anything!
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Post  FRED58 4/17/2015, 6:30 am

I have been using newspaper under cedar bark mulch on my marigold bed for a few years. I put the newspapers under weedcloth  with mulch on top of that. I am in my third year of a pitched battle with bindweed (aka wild morning glories), and they were growing through the weedcloth. The newspapers smothered the weeds and I have made great gains.  Water still gets through. The only place I have weeds is at the base of the plants, where they come through the newspaper/weedcloth.

This spring I will be using just newspaper and mulch in an irregular shaped bed with low evergreen shrubs and native perennial flowers at the base of a three-branch clump of paper birches
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Post  jimmy cee 4/17/2015, 7:37 am

I have been shredding newspaper, using it as a mulch seems to have worked for me
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Post  Kelejan 4/18/2015, 12:30 am

Is pine straw the same as pine leaves?
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Post  Elizabeth 4/18/2015, 2:03 am

Pine needles.  Probably not available in states or regions that do not have pine trees.  Embarassed
Sorry!
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Post  AtlantaMarie 4/18/2015, 4:29 pm

I'll be putting newspaper under the mulch this year.  I'm hoping it will keep the mulch out of the MM.  It was a hassle to get out when bed-cleaning...
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Post  CapeCoddess 4/18/2015, 7:28 pm

AtlantaMarie wrote:I'll be putting newspaper under the mulch this year.  I'm hoping it will keep the mulch out of the MM.  It woas a hassle to get out when bed-cleaning...

I agree. Wood chips everywhere! I'm using pine needle/leaf mix this year. No problem if it mixes in.

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Post  jimmy cee 4/18/2015, 10:12 pm

I have 15 bags of leaves gathered from last fall. I can dry them out and shred them to use for mulch...ok with this ?
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 4/19/2015, 11:50 am

jimmy cee wrote:I have 15 bags of leaves gathered from last fall. I can dry them out and shred them to use for mulch...ok with this ?
Absolutely!  Leaves are a wonderful mulch (that's sort of what they're made for, LOL!)  Worms love them too.
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Post  sanderson 4/19/2015, 10:38 pm

I used bridal tulle for my pepper and eggplant pots last year and it really helped keep the wood chips out of the MM. I reused the tulle and chips for those pots this spring. But, using strips of tulle in the beds was too hard to be worth it so I'm trying bedding straw this year in the beds.

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Post  lyndeeloo 4/20/2015, 7:14 am

I used pine needles on my strawberry bed last year and they worked out really well. They still look good, but I'll add some more on top this year.
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Post  sanderson 5/1/2016, 4:13 pm

Bump. It's getting hot here (83*F) and getting time for mulch.

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Post  MrBooker 5/3/2016, 7:21 am

sanderson wrote:Bump.  It's getting hot here (83*F) and getting time for mulch.
It's only been in the upper 50's and 60's here (zone 6) for a while. My cool weather crops are growing like crazy. No need for mulch yet but I know the time is coming.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 5/3/2016, 10:50 am

I mulched my SFG beds with compost that was half finished.  The worms in each table top will finish the job and it holds moisture really well.  I use a lot of hay in my compost and mulching - by hot composting most of the seeds are taken care of and then it will finish up on top of the beds.  The unfinished hay keeps it light and airy and every time I water the compost is washing down into the soil mix.

When that is finished I have some finely broken down wood chips that will go on for the summer heat.
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Post  sanderson 5/3/2016, 12:58 pm

Hi Audrey, Haven't heard from you for a while. I know you had a deadline to meet but it's good to hear from you. On the CA thread, I'm just talking to myself. Embarassed

Even though each bed was amended with compost this spring, I've been topping off with fluffy compost, then covering with straw as each bed gets ready for it. I have worm tubes in most of the beds and from one incident, I found that they made short work of the top pure compost under the straw. I think the compost and straw combo will be good this summer.

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Post  ralitaco 5/6/2016, 12:34 am

I guess I can add MULCH to my list of things I want to do/try to do this year. While we are not in a drought like CA, I am terrible at going out to water so mulch might be my saving grace. Thanks for "bumping" this thread
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