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

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

Post  sanderson on 8/2/2015, 7:32 pm

Kim, I am increasing my remaining 7" beds to 9 1/2" to allow for 7" of MM and 2+" of mulch. Two 2 x 4s plus one 2 x 3. The chopped straw is currently piled on and some slips off every time I water with the hose wand or a gust of wind shows up.

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

Post  yolos on 8/2/2015, 7:53 pm

@sanderson wrote:Kim, I am increasing my remaining 7" beds to 9 1/2" to allow for 7" of MM and 2+" of mulch.  Two 2 x 4s plus one 2 x 3.  The chopped straw is currently piled on and some slips off every time I water with the hose wand or a gust of wind shows up.

I started out with 10 inch beds, when I renovate them I am going to 12 inches.  Too much water loss even with layers of mulch.  I should not be having to water my pole beans every day.

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depth of soil

Post  kauairosina on 8/2/2015, 8:36 pm

The more we garden the more we realize that deeper is better.

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

Post  sanderson on 8/3/2015, 2:44 am

Well, I think it's the heat that makes some of us inclined to go deeper. A side benefit is that you can rotate long carrots with herbs or beans or anything else you want.

My elevated beds leak at the junction of the plywood bottoms and sides. I'm going to try silicon in the seams.

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

Post  MrBooker on 6/10/2016, 2:00 pm

@camprn wrote:
@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.
   I just had to use my almost finished pile of compost for mulch. Its in the mid 90's here and Ive had to water every other day this past week.  I have three, 50 gallon rain barrels full but trying to save them for emergencies.

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

Post  Kelejan on 6/12/2016, 10:51 pm

I use dried grass, or shredded fall leaves or part finished compost.  Lift it when I want to add finished compost.

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

Post  landarch on 6/13/2016, 11:23 am

I just went in with some friends on 1/4 of a round bale of clean wheat straw and spread over my SFG this weekend...the 10 day forecast is brutal in terms of upcoming temps...94, 101, 98, 96, 94, 96, 95, 91, 94.  Just when the tomato plants start to take off high temps appear and may shut down blossoms, fruit set, etc.

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

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/13/2016, 1:03 pm

I have straw that I put on my garlic back when I planted the cloves...and am I'm guessing I was supposed to fluff the straw, because I had to help some of the garlics get through the thick layer of it come spring. Still, it did keep them down when they were trying to grow before winter and protected them from some of the extreme cold spells right before spring.

I also put some coco coir on some of my squares as a mulch.

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

Post  sanderson on 6/14/2016, 2:05 pm

Beetles, do you chop the straw into shorter lengths?  That seems to help it be lighter.

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

Post  yolos on 6/14/2016, 2:19 pm

@sanderson wrote:Beetles, do you chop the straw into shorter lengths?  That seems to help it be lighter.
I used to run the straw thru my shredder.  But it cut it up so fine that water could not get thru the layer very easy.  So this year I tried putting it on without shredding.  The water gets thru ok but it does not stop evaporation as well and it is hard to get it around beans and smaller things.  It works great on the tomatoes.  But maybe I should compromise and cut it partially.  It would probably depend on whether I had drip irrigation/soaker hoses under the mulch.

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

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/14/2016, 5:22 pm

@sanderson wrote:Beetles, do you chop the straw into shorter lengths?  That seems to help it be lighter.
I did not. The bale seemed to naturally break into flattish squares about an inch, maybe a bit more, thick... and they matched up pretty well with the space I wanted to cover, so I had just plopped the pieces down as is(as was?).  Clearly that wasn't quite right, but it did work out. I can't even tell which of the garlic plants were the anemic looking ones that I had to dig exit holes for this spring.

I think I may have a source for more free straw(!) -- it's been aged awhile, and I think I saw weeds growing right next to it, so I'm hoping it's safe for garden use.

So - how does one chop straw? -- What tool do you use? I see yolos saying a shredder ... shreds rather than chopping.

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

Post  jimmy cee on 6/14/2016, 10:22 pm

I did it today... a good amount of compost in each square, then a healthy portion of a fresh shredded apple tree, and shredded dry leaves from last fall..
I decided to see for myself how these chips are going to work for mulch..
Be it good or bad, it's done.....I like the looks of it, by the way my thermometer 4 inches into the mix gives a steady temp in my tomato bed of 66 deg F.





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

Post  sanderson on 6/15/2016, 6:16 am

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:
@sanderson wrote:Beetles, do you chop the straw into shorter lengths?  That seems to help it be lighter.
I did not. So - how does one chop straw? -- What tool do you use? I see yolos saying a shredder ... shreds rather than chopping.
I literally sit down and grab a handful and cut into 4" pieces with hand shears/clippers.  It fits around the plants easily and especially in the potted plants. I only use the thick stalks so water goes through easily. The finer, thinner leaves and stalks will be used in the compost pile. And, I remove seed heads as I see them. I wouldn't use old straw that might be contaminated with weed seeds. It would be great in a hot compost pile, though.

Yolos, I'm glad I read that the shredder turned the straw into fine pieces that didn't allow water to get through. I think I created a similar problem by trying to use shredded leaves as mulch on some flowers. The water doesn't want to go through them. I sit in the cooler evenings cutting up straw and it's peaceful. Plus I'm retired so I have the time. I was considering trying the shredder but now I will just use it when it comes time to build the Berkeley compost pile, unless you don't recommend shredding the hay that fine.

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

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/15/2016, 4:17 pm

I used pine needles this year in mulch my greens box and when I put toadie in to live there he jumped out. Shocked That never happened before. I guess he doesn't like pine needles. But he liked wood chips last year, and the year before he liked grass. I don't want either, so we're at an impasse.
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Re: Do you use a top layer of mulch on top of mel's mix ?

Post  yolos on 6/15/2016, 4:51 pm

@sanderson wrote:

Yolos, I'm glad I read that the shredder turned the straw into fine pieces that didn't allow water to get through.  I think I created a similar problem by trying to use shredded leaves as mulch on some flowers.  The water doesn't want to go through them.  I sit in the cooler evenings cutting up straw and it's peaceful.  Plus I'm retired so I have the time.  I was considering trying the shredder but now I will just use it when it comes time to build the Berkeley compost pile, unless you don't recommend shredding the hay that fine.
But if you have drip irrigation under the shredded straw you should be okay.  I have not used straw in my compost pile.  I have all the browns I need most of the time because of all the leaves around me.

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