veritas

Mulch

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hey guys, wondering what types of mulches you guys use, or do NOT use. I have tried peat moss as this is supposedly good to hold of gnats and such but they seem to love it so I am wondering if just a standard eucy mulch or the like would be a better option? -V

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I mulch with anything and everything especially with stuff that is free... i usually start with flattened cardboard it keeps the weeds down , grass clippings, hay, seaweed , leaf litter ,mussel shells , fish carcasses , roadkill , sheep shit , human shit , go nuts!

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"Forest" mulch usually. Nice natural look and good distribution of chunk sizes - some break down fast and others more slowly. And it's cheap. I'll get maybe a 5m2 load once a year to top up the beds. Then run whatever prunings I have through my electric mulcher during the rest of the year. Remeber to add some high nitrogen material before you lay it to combat nitrogen drawdown.

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instead of a paper shredder i, soak my personel mail, in water for a while, and than use the pulp, as mulch, and i keep the water up to area, where i used it. and that would have been around some new plantings, oh yeaah.:)

mulch is great, yeah, yeah'

you might be able to, pick up manure, at a road stall,

or re use all your clippings, when you do your garden or yard, work.

i'll, put a garden mulcher, on me x mas list, hehehe.

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Peat moss will go hydrophobic if you let it dry out I have found.

Just about everything else is fair game, I like seagrass the best, and pine needles for things like strawberries/raspberries/blueberries.

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Pine mulch, all the way, the mushie spirits love it.

Edited by Roopey

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thanks guys your feedback is much appreciated, I will pull off the peat moss and try some of these ideas. Mulcher also sounds like a great idea but I think all my Christmas pressies are bought grrrr lol

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Fuck peat moss.............Sugar cane mulch is the fuckn bomb. Unlike wood chip mulches etc you need to reapply more often because it breaks down It's a bit more expensive than say pea straw mulch but as it breaks it releases nitrogen.

Works great from experience.

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Make sure if your using any kind if carbon based mulch like Woodchips that you add some manure or npk so that when its breaking down it doesn't draw the nitrogen out of the ground

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Woodchips can tie up the bacteria that releases nitrogen in the soil but it's mainly at the contact zone where the chips are touching the soil. For young plants it certainly can be a problem but for older plants with their roots established it's not really a problem.

If you dig them in they can cause real problems though.

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i use weeds adn cut the roots off with machete, put them ou tin the sun, then jsut layer the ground. mulching is the way IMO, but i dont grow annual plants much, mostly trees/shrubs/vines. i am starting to forget exactly how long, but in the area of 4 years since i last ferilized or watered my farm. mulching is the shit.

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"Forest" mulch usually.

What is forest mulch made from? Make yourself? Buy from nursery?

Any woodchips that have been composted in a big pile for ages work well.

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What is forest mulch made from? Make yourself? Buy from nursery?

Bought from a landscape supply place. Woodchips, bark, and leaves mixed together, coursely shredded. I think it's called that because it vaguely resembles forest litter. Most of it is residential/council waste from tree choppers, but I go to the supplier and have a look at the pile beforehand to check for termites etc, and to check that there isn't onion weed and shit sprouting in the pile. Never a guarantee of course, but I find it reassuring to look at it before purchase, and so far all the mulch I've bought has been pretty clean.

Edited by Alice
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that forest mulch has also been composted, ie it has sat in a heap for a few weeks, heated itself up (killing most weeds) and preferably it has been turned at lest once. it's awesome, lasts a long time and the microbes and fungi love it. It's good for biodiversity.

Mulches made from a single plant material are not nearly as beneficial to your plants and garden.

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When I'm mulching to minimise water evaporation and so that the mulch will break down to bolster the soil I use pretty much anything except oily leaves like eucalypts, melaleucas, pine needles etc. since I find the oily leaves break down too slowly and can cause water run-off when it rains (looks kinda like surface hydrophobia). I like using grasses and ground-covers (that haven't gone to seed) in a mix since they both break down and grow back quickly. Gotta agree with the people pushing diversity in mulch mixes, too.

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when most mulch drys out to much it will usually become hydrophobic anyway unless its really chunky as there is lots of gaps for water to pass through

Edited by jwerta
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^ The last two posts have have outlined a common problem that can arise when a mulch layer is not managed properly.

When the entire mulch layer dries out the waxy/oily exudates that leach out of the mulch can can create a repellent zone on the soil surface that can be harder to re-wet than the same soil right next to it that didn't get mulched which can result in water runoff and patchy areas that are very hard to re-wet.

The mulch drying out isn't itself a great problem as it will still insulate the soil and retain moisture underneath it, but the hydrophobic conditions it creates can be a real problem.

So you really need to mange your mulch and try to stop it drying out all the way to soil level. Sticking your finger in to soil level is the easiest. A thin layer of mulch is the most susceptable so mulch as deep as you can afford (within reason).

The hydrophobic conditions are more common in soils with a high sand/grit percentage & in soils with with a lot of organic matter that hasn't completely broken down to humus (most compost) so you can do a few thing to help re-wet if you do get a dry out that causes hydrophobic conditions.

Possibly the cheapest way is to apply a layer of clay (the finer the particulates the better) on top of the soil just before you apply the mulch. Clay is very easy to re-wet in almost all cases(with very few exceptions)

You can use a granular soil wetter, which in most cases is just zeolite. Just rake it into the soil surface before you mulch. You can get zeolite as fat absorber for barbeques. Zeolite also increases the soils cation exchange capabilites and adds minerals.

Add some charcoal/biochar to your soil just under the mulch - not recommended if your soil is over PH 7 because most charcoal is alkaline and will raise the PH further.

Or use a liquid soil wetter.

Again, a really good habit is to stick your finger into the soil and see if it is getting wet.

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thanks again guys, just goes to show that you might think you are doing the right thing but are totally off the mark, the peat moss is def hydrophobic now and I find I have to airrate it just to get the water below....stay away from peat moss!

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peat moss does that, but it along with other simialr things like coco do WONDERS for making caly soil AWESOME. you cna dig it in a bit, or jsut dump it on top fo rless effective but saves time. i used to dump waste peat/coco in parts of my farm adn jsut let weeds grow over it. 2 years later it is by far the best soil on my land, and it goes down a solid 10" ( i jsu tspread a good 4" over teh dirt and walked away).

I wouldnt buy it fo rhte purpose, but if its around and in teh way, i like it.

I am seeing a lot of farms here now instead of drying the spent coco fruit to make powder (its liek a recycle program here for various things liek this) they are jsut cruching it and spreading it as is in big chunks over the farm (mostly other coconut or betel nut trees). it wouldnt do a great deal for nutirtion but it would certainly help protect teh bare soil from light and cut down weeds some.

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the most important thing is, that your mulch or potting mix hasn't travelled very far, this is paramount.

in europe there is a lot of peat around, so they use that, but it destroys landscapes.

in australia, we use wood and bark chips, which i think, is enviromentaly friendly.

in tropical countries, they use a lot of coco, which is, very good aswell.

super post, sallyD!

aswell, let's not forget about solid mulch, like rocks, sizing from, pebble to boulder and bigger.

rock mulch is permanent, mostly we use it in the cacti garden, many weeds, get discouraged by the pebble mulch, and if there are weeds, the rock mulch makes, them an easy target, to be pulled out, hehehe. :)

Edited by planthelper
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Lucerne (Alfalfa) hay is used as a mulch, this material is supposed to add nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil as it breaks down (like most mulches), this is a good mulch to keep moisture levels in the soil up during the hot summer period and improving the soil quality in the long run, although one thing to keep in mind is that lucerne breaks down a lot quicker than woodchip mulch, I'm not exactly sure how long it takes to break down completely but from what I have read it can take months.

In conclusion; lucerne, grass, sugar cane and other types of hay are good for adding nutrients and retaining moisture but they break down a lot quicker than other types of mulch.

Woodchip though, is great all round, it looks good in most gardens and lasts a fairly long time, some say that it absorbs the nitrogen out of the soil, if you think this will be an issue, adding a layer of manure or some other type of fertilizer underneath the mulch might be a good way to combat this problem.

Edited by klip247

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If you want free horse manure then ask a local stable/horse owner. They'd love you to take it away since it will save them the trouble.

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