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tomato..should I ...chips ?

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tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  jimmy cee on 5/14/2014, 1:32 pm

I have always had tomato's in this area.
I wonder if I should top these off with woods chips, making sure none will mix with M.M.
The pots are full
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  camprn on 5/14/2014, 1:37 pm

I think removing wood chips is a pain in the neck. I personally would use shredded bark mulch, way easier to remove. Or something that can be turned in to the mix at the end of the season.

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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  Turan on 5/14/2014, 1:51 pm

My favorite is heaps of grass clippings. Tomatoes love a very steady moisture level and mulching helps with that a lot.
I just wish I had a mechanical lawn mower.

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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  southern gardener on 5/14/2014, 2:01 pm

We are using wood chips with GREAT success. It's 100 degrees here today with 30-40 mph winds, and everything is looking great! Soil is moist and cool. I don't know why they work, but they do!! When we do need to move them, which isn't often once your plants are established, we just pull them aside. Same thing you would have to do with any mulch it would seem?  Good luck!!
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  sanderson on 5/14/2014, 2:42 pm

SG, Santa Ana conditions with threats of fires? I noticed Long Beach and San Diego have been hit.

Jimmy, Back to wood chips. I use pine/fir wood chips because I can't tolerate redwood. I've only seen redwood mulch as bark chips and Gorilla Hair. Gosh, the Gorilla Hair looks great but I can't use it. It looks like it would be easy to remove. I have to use mulch in our hot dry summers.

Removing the wood chips for replanting is a big pain. But, my potted plants will not survive without them. Not to mention that I have to use them in the boxes. I'm trying something this year for all the pots plus a few 1-per-square plants: I've cut tulle (bridal veil) to fit the different sizes of pots (and square feet). Hole in the middle, cut on one side like a lock washer. Put the tulle down and cover with chips. I can raise an edge of tulle to slip compost under neath or to check for moisture. The tulle for each is oversized about an inch all around the pot.

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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  camprn on 5/14/2014, 3:00 pm

Sanderson, good idea the netting barrier!!!!! Wink 

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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  sanderson on 5/14/2014, 3:04 pm

Camp, Thanks.
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  Turan on 5/14/2014, 3:15 pm

You don't remove grass clippings, they just sheet compost in, slowly feeding as they decompose.

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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  sanderson on 5/14/2014, 3:27 pm

Turan, No issues with grass seeds sprouting in your beds?
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  Marc Iverson on 5/14/2014, 5:50 pm

Good idea, sanderson!

Re topping with wood chips, I topped with shredded bark last summer and it helped a lot during our record-hot summer.

We haven't passed our last frost date yet and already we're having high 90's today. I have a feeling I'll need to do the mulch thing again this year.
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  cpl100 on 5/14/2014, 6:48 pm

Would doing this tulle/mulch thing help with those diseases that are caused by water splashing up from the soil?  It seems like it would but I know little....
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  Marc Iverson on 5/14/2014, 9:24 pm

It would probably help a bit, but the chips will help a ton. That's one of the reasons I really like them with sensitive crops like tomatoes and cucumbers.
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  jimmy cee on 5/14/2014, 9:27 pm

Mark
Do you think chips would help to keep the cucumber beetle's larva from getting down into the mix ?
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  Turan on 5/14/2014, 10:57 pm

@sanderson wrote:Turan,  No issues with grass seeds sprouting in your beds?
Nope.  Not even a problem with the chopped up quake grass stems taking root.  That invades from underneath.

For viable grass seeds to be in your lawn clippings the grass needs to have both bloomed and then ripened.  That process takes awhile.  It takes longer with perennial grasses that normally mostly spread by their roots.

My guess is that in grass clippings you could have seed of annual grass (oats or fox tails mostly) and annual weeds.  It has not been a problem for me, and I have used clippings for a very long time now.  I would not use the clippings full of dandolion fluff  Laughing

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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  Marc Iverson on 5/15/2014, 12:36 am

@jimmy cee wrote:Mark
Do you think chips would help to keep the cucumber beetle's larva from getting down into the mix ?

Well, I had an enormous amount of cucumber beetles last year -- really a plague of them -- and had chips over all cucumbers and most everything else. I had never seen them before, though, so I think they all migrated from somewhere else. I couldn't say whether things would have been better or worse with the chips, but I guess I can testify that they can pop up in your garden regardless. So maybe don't look at chips as a panacea even if they work?

My own feeling is that bugs can get into the soil if they really want to, chips or no. I had lots of tomato hornworms last year, and my friend spotted a couple, but I never spotted any in the soil or elsewhere. They must have gone somewhere. Bugs are just really good at hiding in the soil.
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  FamilyGardening on 5/15/2014, 4:19 am

@camprn wrote:Sanderson, good idea the netting barrier!!!!! Wink 

that is a good idea Sanderson!!

it can be a pain to remove chips from pots .....what we do is scoop them off the top and they get the soil mixed in with them when you are doing that...so we re-use them again as a mulch ....the soil will wash down from the chips.....but its a pain...

I didn't care for it much while harvesting our potatoes either so this year we used straw as the mulch for the tater beds....much easier to pull off when harvesting....but it does cost money....where as woodchips are free for us....

we also have been using some chicken bedding in some of our pots and veggie beds....it is very thin wood shavings....not sure how they are going to work...but we are giving it a try.....we can purchase a bag of it..... that once fluffed.... is about 12 cubic feet worth and cost about 6 bucks....does tend to blow in the wind a bit though LOL

back to the topic......yes we use woodchips as a mulch on top of our plants in pots and containers and love it!
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  sanderson on 5/15/2014, 2:52 pm

FG,  Using tulle with wood chips has been an evolution.  I live in a hot dry area.  Mulch is necessary during the summer!   sunny   I started with wood shavings, a bag of bedding from a livestock store was very cheap.  I figured it would act as both the browns in composting and the mulch for MM.  A thick layer worked well as mulch but I think it robbed the nitrogen.  But, it mixed with the MM too much.  So I changed to pine/fir wood chips.  Much better.  It was easier picking out large pieces but I was still picking out large pieces and they were composting where they touched the MM.  Someone PMed me that I could try a thin layer of manure compost and then add the chips.  Better on the nitrogen robbing.  The tulle was the next evolutionary step.  I think it is really working nicely.  The chips don't touch the MM and start composting, I can lift a corner to check for soil coolness and moisture, and the best thing, I can top dress with compost if I think it's needed.
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  jimmy cee on 5/16/2014, 1:25 pm

I added some chips my wife uses for her bushes, the other chips I had were very fine and would most likely mix with M.M.
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  elysia on 5/16/2014, 1:57 pm

@Turan wrote:My favorite is heaps of grass clippings. Tomatoes love a very steady moisture level and mulching helps with that a lot.
I just wish I had a mechanical lawn mower.
I like this idea Turan - will give it a try this year.  Cool
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  cpl100 on 5/16/2014, 4:28 pm

So, it seems I am a bit confused between wood chips and mulch.  Mulch I have or can get, not sure about wood chips.

So, could I put the tulle down and mulch over it?  I am thinking the tulle would keep the mulch from infiltrating my MM.
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  jimmy cee on 5/16/2014, 6:23 pm

@elysia wrote:
@Turan wrote:My favorite is heaps of grass clippings. Tomatoes love a very steady moisture level and mulching helps with that a lot.
I just wish I had a mechanical lawn mower.
I had 2 mechanical lawn mowers, their gone after graduation, now it's all ME-chanical
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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  walshevak on 5/16/2014, 9:32 pm

@cpl100 wrote:
So, could I put the tulle down and mulch over it?  I am thinking the tulle would keep the mulch from infiltrating my MM.


yes, sounds good

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Re: tomato..should I ...chips ?

Post  sanderson on 5/16/2014, 10:24 pm

Mulch is anything you put over the soil/Mix to keep it moist. Wood chips are just one type of "mulch." Bark, pine needles, etc.
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