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When to mulch

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When to mulch

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 5/31/2010, 10:25 am

Hi,
This spring has been very strange weather wise in my area. I am zone 7. After 6 weeks of no rain, I panicked and mulched my garden. I know that mulch should not be needed (as I have never done that in the past) however I needed to retain water. I ran out of mulch, several weeks have past and I now have to weed again (my weeding in mostly done in paths), however I have found all sorts of nice volunteer plants that have grown in areas that were not mulched or heavily composted. I have a ton of pineapple sage, wave petunia in 4 colors (I only planted 2 colors), impatient plants, several tomatoes, marigolds, violas and columbine just to name a few. My question is when do I mulch and/or spread compost to encourage the volunteers yet not have weeds up to my eyeballs? (I am trying to learn what baby weeds vs. nice volunteer plants look like.) Thanks for the help.

Patty in Yorktown
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Patty from Yorktown

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Re: When to mulch

Post  Chopper on 5/31/2010, 12:08 pm

I don't understand the question. What are you trying to accomplish exactly? Why do you have volunteers in a SFG? Where did they come from. Or do you mean outside of the SFG?

I mainly mulch to keep dirt off of the plants so limit most of it to above ground plants and I wait until they are big enough to mulch around without burying any seedling inadvertently. In my SFG garden I only want what I have planted. The rest of the yard is on its own.

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Re: When to mulch

Post  Megan on 5/31/2010, 12:20 pm

Chopper -- Compost can produce volunteers? Smile

Hi Patty, I am in zone 7 also. I am jealous of your pineapple sage. I haven't mulched but am hand-weeding and slowly learning what are the plants I want to keep and what are weeds. I'm sure I've pulled up a few wrong things by mistake!
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Re: When to mulch

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 5/31/2010, 12:58 pm

Sorry that I was not clear about my mulch question. Most of the volunteers are not in my square foot garden, however some of them are. For example I keep putting the violas back in a square. They seem to prefer reseeding in the path. Sometimes I just leave the volunteers wherever they land, which means my garden has surprise flowers in odd spots. The years I have heavily mulched in the spring I do not get as many volunteers, same goes for lots of compost in containers. Seems kind of a waste to mulch in the fall, as I do not spend as much time in the garden.

Patty in Yorktown
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Re: When to mulch

Post  camprn on 5/31/2010, 1:25 pm

Hmmm, wish I had a volunteer flower problem... I mulch mostly to conserve moisture and also for weed suppression. I usually wait to put down my mulch in garden after the seedlings are well established plants. If I have any volunteer plants that have sprouted in the garden that I want to keep I move them to the nursery bed, the rest get composted. Weeding is never ending, though not such a chore with SFG. flower
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