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Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

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Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  tdnmm on 5/11/2015, 10:25 am

Hi Everyone,
  Do you use a top layer of mulch when using mel's  mix.  If you do , and want to add compost
  later do you put if over the mulch or do you have to take the mulch away. 


   Thanks
     Tom

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/11/2015, 10:37 am

Yes

Last year I did green wood chips and they were fantastic for keeping the mix moist without much added water in a drought year (I am in the PNW, drought here in nothing like a California drought... so far). However I do not want to let the chips get into the mix so I have to rake them back to fluff the mix or add compost. This year I have decided to use only fast break-down mulch like grass clippings, leaves (that have been run through the lawn mower) and straw. Slugs worry me, I did not see many slugs with the wood chips, but water use worries me even more.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  yolos on 5/11/2015, 11:38 am

I use wheat straw as a mulch over my Mel's Mix (MM) unless the bed is intensively planted and then the veggies shade the MM somewhat.  When I take out one crop to replace it with another crop, I remove the mulch and add the compost.  It I am just trying to give the crop a boost, then I spread it on top of the mulch and water it in.  This does not work for all mulches depending on their density.  But wheat straw (unless it is shredded) has plenty of openings to allow the compost to filter down into the soil.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 5/11/2015, 12:12 pm

I'm in the heart of the worst drought area and we get HOT HOT HOT and dry in the summer.  So mulch is a must for me.  I use Ramial wood chips (branches and leaves chipped from limb branches under 3 inches diameter).  I also use straw or hay straw or sorgum grass at times.  I do much the same as Sanderson.

I most often use no-till practices so I place the compost or any material right on top and let it work itself down into the soil or my red wigglers will do it for me.  If I am planting starts, I will pull back the mulch, place some compost into the hole and plant the baby plant.  A lot of what I do is plant seeds, so for that I simply pull back the mulch or take it off until the seeds get a good start then gently replace it as they grow.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/11/2015, 12:19 pm

I removed the wood chips as best I can to add compost.  The pine needles are sometimes removed & sometimes left in place, depending on the time of year and what's happening.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  sanderson on 5/11/2015, 1:27 pm

Audrey and I live in hot, hot summer area of California. Bedding straw (cut in 4-6" pieces) in the beds and 5-gallon buckets, wood chips in the single plant pots. I cut a square of tulle material, slit one side so it fits around the plant and place tulle on Mel's Mix. To top dress with more compost during the long growing season, I lift the 4 corners of tulle and slip the compost underneath. I'm retired so I can do fancy little things. Wink

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Thanks to All

Post  tdnmm on 5/11/2015, 9:49 pm

Thank you everyone

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/28/2015, 2:59 pm

Anyone use newspaper as mulch? Torn into shreds? I have access to straw, also. Trying to level out the water situation at the root level for the tomatoes.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  jimmy cee on 7/28/2015, 3:17 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Anyone use newspaper as mulch?  Torn into shreds?  I have access to straw, also.  Trying to level out the water situation at the root level for the tomatoes.
I use both when conditions permit, both do nic
ely as long as paper is shredded,l I even cut straw in short pieces
1 foot squares are sooo easy to take care of...work on one and move to the next or come back tomorrow

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/28/2015, 3:28 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:
@Scorpio Rising wrote:Anyone use newspaper as mulch?  Torn into shreds?  I have access to straw, also.  Trying to level out the water situation at the root level for the tomatoes.
I use both when conditions permit, both do nic
ely as long as paper is shredded,l I even cut straw in short pieces
1 foot squares are sooo easy to take care of...work on one and move to the next or come back tomorrow

OK, thanks Jimmy! I think it will help me out here with the heat/dry....which pales in comparison with what many other folks are experiencing!

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  camprn on 7/28/2015, 11:26 pm

@tdnmm wrote:Hi Everyone,
  Do you use a top layer of mulch when using mel's  mix.  If you do , and want to add compost
  later do you put if over the mulch or do you have to take the mulch away. 


   Thanks
     Tom

Yes, I use cold, unaged compost as a mulch. Works great and I can turn in under at the end of the season. Easy peasy.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  sanderson on 7/29/2015, 12:33 am

Mulch is worth it, even if you temporarily lift it to stick more compost underneath it. I recently did that.

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do you use mulch over Mel's mix

Post  kauairosina on 7/30/2015, 2:33 pm

We most assuredly use mulch over our beds.  Currently straw but we are growing something called Vitiver as a barrier and to cut down for mulch.  The spelling is probably wrong.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  sanderson on 7/31/2015, 1:37 am

I looked it up. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysopogon_zizanioides If I understand correctly, you will cut it and lay it on top to act as mulch. Sounds interesting.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/31/2015, 9:23 am

That is a very interesting and useful plant, Rosina!

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mulches

Post  kauairosina on 7/31/2015, 5:45 pm

Great article Sanderson.  I sure learned a lot from it and am sending it on to my grandson, Collin, who is the one who planted it.  It is vigorous but not invasive.  I think he will be quite interested in the various uses for it.  Quite a find.  Takes no care once planted but great for mulch, which is good because we do pay a pretty penny for straw.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/31/2015, 6:51 pm

Agree - interesting article about an interesting plant!

Our discussions about grazon a couple weeks ago made me very reluctant to use straw anymore, which I really love using otherwise. I don't really have the space to grow vetiver around here, but if I had my druthers, I think I'd grow plenty of that stuff just to use as a mulch.

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mulches

Post  kauairosina on 7/31/2015, 7:02 pm

If you can get a vetiver cutting it can grow in a very limited space.  Like about 2 feet square.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/31/2015, 7:42 pm

I wonder how many square feet of mulch would be needed to grow a square foot of crops, as a percentage, in a SFG. Thing is, my bed space is decent but it's still limited.

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Post  kauairosina on 7/31/2015, 8:05 pm

One of these days soon I will take a picture of our vetiver. I suspect it is pretty economical to grow (as far as space).  Doesn't travel according to the article.  How many squares or square feet do you have?

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/1/2015, 1:19 am

About 60 or 70, I guess ... about half in two raised beds, and half in various containers.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/1/2015, 10:01 am

@Marc Iverson wrote:About 60 or 70, I guess ... about half in two raised beds, and half in various containers.

How much straw do you go through, Marc? Sounds like the county or state engineers use this grass for erosion control, maybe they have an idea of it's production as far as using xpcuttings for mulch?

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/1/2015, 6:47 pm

It takes less than half a bale to cover all my stuff with straw.

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Post  kauairosina on 8/1/2015, 7:03 pm

Marc - probably not worth messing with another thing to grow.

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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  sfg4uKim on 8/2/2015, 3:29 pm

Don't remember exactly where, but Mel says that in hotter climates you can make your beds 8" and fill the top 2" with some type of mulch to hold water.

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