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Mulch

Post  66stitches on 4/26/2014, 9:09 am

Hi there! 
I'm new here and this year will be my first garden of any kind, trying to do square foot gardening as accurately as possible. Starting small, one 4x8 box. I have ordered compost with lots of variety I think (fish, shrimp, mushroom, forest and composted sheep manure), could only get medium vermiculite, and peat is no trouble. It will all go together this week and then planted.

My question is about mulch. I have the book but I'm still a bit confused. What should I use? We have shredded paper and saw a photo on here with that, so maybe that's what I'll use. The question is does it just get turned into the mix after harvest or do I remove it? What if I were to use wood chips? Should those be turned in?

Also, I thought I had everything I needed but then at the back of the book for individual vegetables it mentions covering some plants with chicken wire or plastic just over that square without much further information. How necessary are these steps?

Thanks, you guys seem so helpful and knowledgeable. I'm usually just a lurker but summoned some courage to actually post this time!
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Re: Mulch

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/26/2014, 10:06 am

smiles   Welcome, 66stitches!  Glad you decided to post!   way to go 

I'm also a 1st yearer.  We are using cypress mulch.  Because cypress breaks down so slowly, I'll be removing it every time I pull a plant.  Paper is fine, but can blow away in strong winds...  you'll have to keep it damp.  You can also use grass clippings, pine straw, etc.  (I'm putting grass clipping mulch on my corn for the nitrogen.)

The wire/cloth cages are more for critter/frost control.  Some can also be used for extra support for things like corn.  Just have to have bigger holes for them to grow thru.  So, they're not necessary but may be helpful.

Welcome again!  Don't be a stranger!
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Re: Mulch

Post  66stitches on 4/26/2014, 10:26 am

Thanks so much!
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Re: Mulch

Post  camprn on 4/26/2014, 11:07 am

66 there are various reasons to use a mulch. For my garden, the primary reason is moisture retention. I prefer to use shredded bark or shredded leaves in the garden bed. If I need, the shredded bark is easily removed, for the most part, and what is left is easily composted in place. It is similar for shredded leaves. Wood chips can tie up nitrogen (essential for plant growth) on the bed surface and is not an ideal mulch for shallow rooted plants. I won't use wood chips in the garden but it is very useful in paths between the beds.

Typically mulch is removed and not turned into the Mel's Mix.

Being a novice gardener and taking into consideration your location, you may not actually need to use a mulch.

You may read more about mulch at this thread.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t12863-friday-rookie-topics-viii-mulch?highlight=mulch+rookie

 glad you\'re here  to the SFG Forum.

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Re: Mulch

Post  jimmy cee on 4/26/2014, 11:18 am

I've used shredded newspaper for years, once I soaked it, stayed and never blew away..
This year I may try some again, adding compost on top..
Only newsprint, not any color paper.
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Re: Mulch

Post  68carguy on 4/26/2014, 11:20 am

@jimmy cee wrote:I've used shredded newspaper for years, once I soaked it, stayed and never blew away..
This year I may try some again, adding compost on top..
Only newsprint, not any color paper.
I have used the newspaper with mulch or compost method and it worked really nicely.
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Re: Mulch

Post  66stitches on 4/27/2014, 12:09 pm

Thanks for all the info! I thought it made little sense to add the mulch into the mix after going to such trouble to get it right. I guess I'll wait and see how well the soil is holding moisture as it gets warmer.

And yeah, as a newbie, I don't want to over complicate it. The perfectionist in me wants to get it all right the first time, but there is a realist in there somewhere who knows I won't and chimes in occasionally with the KISS motto.  Smile
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Re: Mulch

Post  boffer on 4/27/2014, 12:36 pm

@66stitches wrote: ...And yeah, as a newbie, I don't want to over complicate it. The perfectionist in me wants to get it all right the first time, but there is a realist in there somewhere who knows I won't and chimes in occasionally with the KISS motto.  Smile

+1  Stay focused on the realist!

Sometimes I do everything right and get a lousy harvest.
Sometimes I do everything wrong and get a great harvest.
Gardening is humbling!
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Re: Mulch

Post  plantoid on 4/27/2014, 4:59 pm

Take care if you use fresh cut grass as a mulch .
It can produce a mould that will affect your crops if sprinkled too thick and in the fresh green state tends to harbour slugs..... possibly due to the sugar & water content being idea for fermentation to take place & being sweet enough for the slugs to have a slugfest on the alcohols produced . 

Best dry it on a concrete slab for a couple of days turning it over /stirring it about so it dries to a dried grass cutting colour khaki then use it ... it won't matter then if it gets damp.
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Re: Mulch

Post  Kelejan on 4/28/2014, 12:21 pm

I dry freshly cut grass, then if not needed straight away I bag it until I need to use it, either as a mulch or to incorporate with browns on the compost heap. By the end of summer I have enough dried grass to match the leaves that I collect in the Fall. If I then have leaves left over, then I bag them until I can match with the greens.
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Re: Mulch

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/28/2014, 12:44 pm

I don't even remember that you can use grass clippings as a mulch - living in Bermuda grass territory we don't use them for ANYTHING including composting  Shocked  Smile
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Re: Mulch

Post  sanderson on 4/28/2014, 12:57 pm

Bermuda grass! Ugh!
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Re: Mulch

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