al3tte
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Buckwheat Hulls and General Mulching Advice/Opinions, Please

My bay babies finally arrived over the weekend. I repotted them and they're currently sunning on my deck with the rest of my herbs. 8)
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In the course of general research, I came across someone who said they mulched potted plants (trees specifically) with buckwheat hulls because they are pretty, break down over time, and contribute to good drainage when they get mixed in during regular top-dressing. Also mentioned that they help keep pests at bay and regulate temperature.

Before I follow this example because why wouldn't I with all those benefits... well...

1. Why shouldn't I?

2. Should I wait until they are a certain size?

3. Would this be good for potted herbs, too?

4. Is there another mulch that would be better to use when I plan to keep plants indoors at least part of the time and fertilize regularly, so I'm not SUPER concerned about them adding nutrition, but drainage and temperature are important?

TIA for any advice! :)

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applestar
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Re: Buckwheat Hulls and General Mulching Advice/Opinions, Pl

Hmmm I hadn't considered buckwheat hulls as mulch. I like buckwheat hull pillows and buy organic buckwheat hulls packed in a giant plastic bag in a giant box every couple of years to re-fill. Hmmm.... maybe I could use the old hulls like this instead of just putting them in the compost pile.... 8)

I guess they could be reasonable for potted plant mulch. I don't know if there is any adverse effect from them being in contact with the stem of the plants -- it would be difficult to avoid in a container. Probably not good for tiny or tender stemmed plants.

Whether to use mulch for your container plants depends on your location and what kind of plants they are, and where they are kept.

Also, I don't recommend using mulch if you are new to container gardening because the mulch hides the condition of the soil and I think it's important to learn what they should look like and feel like under different conditions. Once you know what happens to bare potting mix, THEN you can appreciate and know how the mulch is affecting them.

I guess those would be my first response. I might have more thoughts later. :wink:
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al3tte
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Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 4:34 pm
Location: PA/NJ 5b

Re: Buckwheat Hulls and General Mulching Advice/Opinions, Pl

Awesome, excellent point on container gardening new-ness. I'm not really new to it per-se, just for this region. I'm from the southwest originally (Arizona) so it's quite different where I am now!

If you try it out, I'd be very interested to hear your results.

al3tte
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Posts: 24
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 4:34 pm
Location: PA/NJ 5b

Re: Buckwheat Hulls and General Mulching Advice/Opinions, Pl

So, over the weekend I went out to weed, feed, and get everyone settled for the storms we're supposed to have in the next couple days and found that a few of my pots weren't draining as well as I thought. I gently removed my babies and found that the soil was compacting in the bottom and staying soggy with water because the drainage hole was also filled! :? Horrified, I started looking for solutions, I didnt have time to go to the store, and I don't have much on hand since I haven't been seriously container gardening for long. I ended up pulling out my buckwheat hulls (got a good deal on amazon a couple weeks ago and decided why not have them around, thank goodness!) and combined the existing soil with a good 30% hulls and voila! Pretty, well-draining potting medium. I also put a piece of drywall tape over the holes before I repotted to keep them from being strained or blocked. 8)

It's good that I did because, in shaking out the roots, I also found one of my little bay laurels had some girdling roots tightly wound around a 1/2 inch cluster of white pebbles. :eek:

Just thought I'd share :)

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