Briarheart
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:29 pm
Location: Southern Ontario, Zone 5

Mulching

Do others here use mulch? What type of mulch do you use? Do you have any recommendations for particular types, brands, etc? :mrgreen:

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27657
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Mulching

What are you mulching?

I use all kinds of stuff -- commercial bagged "organic" composted bark mulch made with added mycos and dehydrated manure ($$$), less expensive bagged mulch (but never colored or dyed), new hay and straw, Craigslist found clean Douglas fir wood shavings (new this year), spoiled hay if I can find them, packing paper, corrugated cardboard, pizza boxes, grass clippings, cut and pulled weeds, shrub and tree prunings, fall leaves.....

Depends on what I'm mulching.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Mauldintiger
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun May 17, 2015 12:08 pm
Location: Greenville, SC

Re: Mulching

Anything I can come up with, mostly grass clippings, leaves and wheat or oat straw. Even black and white newspaper and cardboard will work. I don't till, so I try to keep 4-8" down all the time. I pull it back from the area I am seeding and replace it when the plants are larger. Most anything will work, but straw and grass clippings stay pretty neat.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27657
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Mulching

Here's another thread about mulching and rainbowgardener's excellent comment

Subject: What Mulch Should I Use to Keep Weeds Down?
rainbowgardener wrote:[...]
For mulch for veggies, I like a mixed green/brown mulch, like fall leaves and grass clippings, straw and pulled weeds. I think they compost themselves better that way and make more complete food for the soil when it all breaks down. Since I add little else to my soil but compost, the aspect of mulch as food for the soil is important to me. It is also easier for me to achieve a thick-ish layer of mulch that way (say 4-5").

Works quite well to suppress weeds for awhile, until the mulch starts breaking down, and then I pull the weeds that made it through and renew the mulch. Also helps conserve the moisture in the soil.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
GardeningCook
Greener Thumb
Posts: 787
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:35 am
Location: Upper Piedmont area of Virginia, Zone 7a

Re: Mulching

I too am a "mix & match" mulcher.

Use bagged small pine chips &/or shredded pine mulch for trees, shrubs, & large areas; pine needles for some other acid-loving areas (since we have several stands of mature White Pines on the property); & when I can find it, do love cocoa bean shell mulch for small-leaved plantings like herbs, etc.
My body is a temple. Unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper.

PaulF
Greener Thumb
Posts: 779
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:34 pm
Location: Brownville, Ne

Re: Mulching

strongly recommend a mulching program. My mulch of choice is layers of newspaper topped by 6-8 inches of straw. Does all the right things during the growing season and then can be tilled into the soil for added organic material.
Attachments
IMG_5933.JPG
Paul F

Flowers
Senior Member
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:30 pm
Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA Zone 5b, sometimes 6

Re: Mulching

I've read that reflective mulches significantly increase yields due to increased light on the leaves. I don't know if you could find some that's organic. Maybe with bits of Micah or something? Anyways, just thought Id share!
Check out my garden blog and website!
kyrasgarden.weebly.com

PeteShield
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:49 am
Location: Maisons, Aude, France

Re: Mulching

I use a system calld BRF bois ramelé fragmenté- it is a Canadian system that uses fresh branch chippings. As I have a lot of forest on my land I chip as I go along triming the trees down. I use mainly white and green oak, my land is typical Garrigue- a thin layer of sol rich in minerals but totally devoid of vegetable matter on a bed of calcium rock. By laying down a mulch of around 20 cms depth every Autumn I have over the space of 5 years built up a rich soil base. One note, the mulch must be put down in Autumn because as it starts to break down it draws nitrogen from the soil which it then slowly releases- so a quiet time is best when it is not competing with the plant growth.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Mulching

RE: mulch must be put down in Autumn because as it starts to break down it draws nitrogen from the soil which it then slowly releases-

that is another reason for mixing "green" mulches with "brown" ones. The green mulch (grass clippings, pulled weeds, etc) add back some of the nitrogen. It is the same principle as in hugelkulture - the pile of rotting wood is covered with turf, grass side down, to add back some N.

It does matter what you are mulching. My comment said "for veggies." For veggies and annuals, you want greener, more N rich, quicker breaking down mulch. For perennials, and especially around trees and shrubs, you want more "brown" mulch. Around trees and shrubs, you might use a straight wood chips/ bark mulch. Lasts longer, contributes to a more fungal/ acid environment.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

PeteShield
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:49 am
Location: Maisons, Aude, France

Re: Mulching

Well you are probably right for some climates but my tomatoes harvest has trippled since I started using the BRF system and the cucumbers doubled, the salads thrive as do the courgettes- it probably has as much to do with the summers here and the root cooling effect and water preservation of the cover of the wood chipping. BRF was developed for reclaiming barren land for vegetables, and the reports back from the French organic agricullture institute on vegetable production using BRF are very positive and as you say it probably works even better for fruit trees.

Taiji
Greener Thumb
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:19 am
Location: Gardening in western U.P. of MI. 46+ N. lat. elev 1540. zone 3

Re: Mulching

This year I am using a grass hay from a couple of bales I bought, and pine needles that are laying around.

I bought a piece of property a couple of months ago, and with it inherited a chipper shredder. Will be the first one of those I've ever owned. Can't wait to get started with that. The old apple tree on the property needs some major pruning and will provide the branches!

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Mulching

Yes, I love my chipper shredder. A whole big pile of branches becomes one bucket of nice wood chip mulch! As we've said the wood chip mulch (especially if it gets mixed IN with the soil) can tie up Nitrogen in the process of breaking down. But it is great mixed with grass clippings, etc. Or used as is around shrubs and trees.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11227
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Mulching

Red reflective mulch is available at Gardener's supply. It does help the tomatoes grow better.

https://www.gardeners.com/buy/red-tomato ... 86839.html

I use newspaper for mulch to hold down weeds because I don't have a lot of access to other kinds of mulch. And I don't like to get the free mulch because they almost always have centipedes and occasionally nasty weeds in them.

I cannot use pine shavings for mulch because of termites but it would be a good option for people in the North where termites are not as big an issue.

I do use pine needles when I can get them. They break down slowly so they last awhile. It does not pack down so air and light can still get through and it suppresses most weeds well. It cannot be used on the onion family.

When I use tree trimmings for mulch the weeds grow through and right on top of it. It packs down and I end up having to water the mulch before I can water the plants. I have used it on walkways.

Lately, I have been trying a new tactic. I use the newspaper and compost as mulch. I am trying to see if I can reduce tilling. Supposedly, the soil microbes will pull the compost down into the soil. It has advantages in my established border bed but I still have to turn my vegetable garden because of the weeds. The newspaper works better there.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
GardeningCook
Greener Thumb
Posts: 787
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:35 am
Location: Upper Piedmont area of Virginia, Zone 7a

Re: Mulching

imafan26 wrote:Red reflective mulch is available at Gardener's supply. It does help the tomatoes grow better.
Actually, I think the scientific findings on whether "red reflective mulch" is actually helpful to growing better tomatoes has been out to jury for quite some time now. If it was definitive, everyone would be using it. Yet they are not.
My body is a temple. Unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper.

User avatar
JC's Garden
Senior Member
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue May 13, 2014 2:43 am
Location: Moultrie, GA Planting Zone 8, Sunset Zone 31

Re: Mulching

You guys make me look bad. I just use stuff from my compost pile. It's going on top of the ground so I don't worry about nitrogen loss. There will be some humus in it for nutrients. There will also be plenty of material to block weeds and conserve moisture. I like simple.

User avatar
ElizabethB
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2109
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Mulching

My favorite mulch is pine straw/needles. I does need to be applied heavily - 12". I quickly packs down. The needles intertwine and create an amazing weed barrier. It helps with water retention. It is attractive in a woodsy, natural kind of look. It has a very slow decomposition rate. You do not need a great deal to replenish each year.

Contrary to popular belief it does not significantly lower the soil pH.

When I first started my landscaping business I used wood mulch - mostly shredded cypress, It did not take long for me to switch to pine straw.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

HoneyBerry
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1124
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:10 pm
Location: Zone 8A Western Washington State

Re: Mulching

I just happen to find an article in Fine Gardening Magazine May-June 2015 isse about using red mulch to help tomatoes. What red mulch does: it absorbs all colors of light except for red. The red light is reflected back to the tomato plants. If the plant's phytochrome senses sufficient red light, then the tomato growth procedes. When there is not enough red light, normal growth slows or stops. Other environmental factors will be the ultimate determinants, however. This is the jist of it. The article goes into more detail. It's a short piece of writing.
ISFP "The Artist"

User avatar
MichaelC
Senior Member
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 3:32 am
Location: Scotts Valley, CA

Re: Mulching

I'm about to mulch my entire vegetable plot, today if possible. I am having a serious problem with my cats pooping in the loose soil. Next year I will try a different tack to solve the problem, but for now mulching is what I've decided on.

What is readily available to me is red fir bark. I don't have time to call around feed stores, go fill garbage bags from bulk piles, etc. Can anyone tell me a reason why this would be a bad idea?

I'm going to do this today for sure. I'm just crossing my fingers that if this is a mistake, someone might see this and tell me so in the next couple of hours or so.

Mr green
Green Thumb
Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 10:08 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Mulching

That bark will be perfect, enjoy.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished - Lao Tzu

Return to “Organic Gardening Forum”