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help with mulch

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help with mulch

Post  greenehousemike on 8/9/2014, 3:17 pm

Hello Everyone
    I have a question about mulch. I have been using my raised gardens for a few years but I have not used any mulch. Of course I have to water a lot living here in Alabama. So I read post that refers to mulch. My questions are What do you use and do you just mix it in after the season is over. Thank you for your help.
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Re: help with mulch

Post  AtlantaMarie on 8/9/2014, 4:27 pm

Hi Mike.  I live just north of Atlanta, so same general temp region.

We use cypress mulch we get at the big box store.  I add at least 2 inches to the boxes.

No, I don't mix it in.  Cypress breaks down really slowly...  So I remove it, do whatever I'm doing to the box, then put it back on top.

I have also used grass clippings on top of my corn box and around my bee balm.  Seemed to work pretty well.  Again, lots of volume since it compresses so much.

I use pine straw on the potatoes since they like the acid.
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Re: help with mulch

Post  greenehousemike on 8/9/2014, 8:29 pm

Thank you Marie. My gardens do good but I know I can do more with them. Thanks again for your help and I will try it.
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Re: help with mulch

Post  camprn on 8/9/2014, 8:37 pm

I used finished, but unaged, homemade compost for mulch. At the end of the growing season I just turn it under. It works really well.

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Re: help with mulch

Post  AtlantaMarie on 8/9/2014, 8:48 pm

Didn't mention, but I have a cold compost hill going.  I'm not in a rush, so don't worry about it heating up. 

But Camp's right about compost.  It's the best thing to do.

I also found that the more you can put on top, the better it seems to be for the plants.  Keeps the root systems cooler & moister.
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Re: help with mulch

Post  yolos on 8/9/2014, 11:01 pm

When I need mulch, I use shredded wheat straw.  I remove it and put it on the compost pile when I am ready to rejuvenate the bed.  Some things are so intensively planted that mulch is not really necessary.
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Straw

Post  Windmere on 8/10/2014, 8:15 am

@yolos wrote:When I need mulch, I use shredded wheat straw.  I remove it and put it on the compost pile when I am ready to rejuvenate the bed.  Some things are so intensively planted that mulch is not really necessary.
Hey yolos.

I  bought a bale of wheat straw from Swint's (I don't remember how much it cost... but I do remember thinking that the price was good).  How long does it take for your straw to break down after you add it to your compost?  In general I mean... rapidly or slowly compared to other things?
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Re: help with mulch

Post  yolos on 8/10/2014, 9:38 am

@Windmere wrote:
@yolos wrote:When I need mulch, I use shredded wheat straw.  I remove it and put it on the compost pile when I am ready to rejuvenate the bed.  Some things are so intensively planted that mulch is not really necessary.
Hey yolos.

I  bought a bale of wheat straw from Swint's (I don't remember how much it cost... but I do remember thinking that the price was good).  How long does it take for your straw to break down after you add it to your compost?  In general I mean... rapidly or slowly compared to other things?

Sorry, I don't have the faintest idea.  The only browns I use in my pile are wheat straw or live oak leaves or chipped branches.  It breaks down much faster than leaves.  But because the leaves take so long to break down, my piles take so long to compost that there is no way for me to tell anything about the time frame on the wheat straw.

Are you sure that was wheat straw you bought at swint's.  I have never seen any wheat straw there.  They do have pine straw and beautiful bales of Bermuda grass hay sitting in front of the store but I wouldn't buy that.  When did you buy your wheat straw.
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Wheat Straw

Post  Windmere on 8/10/2014, 9:54 am

@yolos wrote:
@Windmere wrote:
@yolos wrote:When I need mulch, I use shredded wheat straw.  I remove it and put it on the compost pile when I am ready to rejuvenate the bed.  Some things are so intensively planted that mulch is not really necessary.
Hey yolos.

I  bought a bale of wheat straw from Swint's (I don't remember how much it cost... but I do remember thinking that the price was good).  How long does it take for your straw to break down after you add it to your compost?  In general I mean... rapidly or slowly compared to other things?

Sorry, I don't have the faintest idea.  The only browns I use in my pile are wheat straw or live oak leaves or chipped branches.  It breaks down much faster than leaves.  But because the leaves take so long to break down, my piles take so long to compost that there is no way for me to tell anything about the time frame on the wheat straw.

Are you sure that was wheat straw you bought at swint's.  I have never seen any wheat straw there.  They do have pine straw and beautiful bales of Bermuda grass hay sitting in front of the store but I wouldn't buy that.  When did you buy your wheat straw.
I bought the straw at the beginning of spring.  I'm pretty sure it is wheat because it has wheat heads.  In fact, come to think of it, I asked to verify it was wheat, and I bought it because of reading one of your older posts. I have not put it in compost pile (that was dumb), because I bought it for my potatoes.  Unfortunately, I didn't think ahead for compost.


Last edited by Windmere on 8/10/2014, 9:56 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Re: help with mulch

Post  yolos on 8/10/2014, 12:02 pm

This might happen to you too.

One particular bale of wheat straw I spread on top of my compost pile to keep it from drying out.  The wheat on top of the compost pile germinated.  The bale of wheat in front of the compost pile was put there too keep it warm during the winter.  This picture was taken in March 2013.
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Re: help with mulch

Post  sanderson on 8/11/2014, 1:04 am

Yolos,  Your photo was timely for me.  There were wheat heads in the bedding straw I used for building my compost.  I was also going to try straw as mulch so now I am going through the straw for mulch with a fine toothed comb!   thanks 

Windmere,  I just came in from building Compost #6.  I used only virgin bedding straw as browns so you will have your answer regarding the speed of straw composting within a few weeks.  Very Happy
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