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to mulch or not to mulch?

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to mulch or not to mulch?

Post  HPartin on 5/30/2011, 4:52 pm

It is up in the 90's and I think my garden needs help retaining moisture. I am thinking about mulching it with crushed oak leaves. I don't know if this is a good thing or bad thing in regards to pests: aphids, white fly and other creepy crawlies. Will this mulch aid in their livelihood? Should I do something different in regards to mulch? Any help would be appreciated. Smile

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Re: to mulch or not to mulch?

Post  martha on 5/30/2011, 9:45 pm

I think oak leaves are considered to be a really good mulch. I don't have any oak trees, so I haven't any personal experience. Two autumns ago, I used leaves to mulch my garlic bed over the winter. (Almost immediately afterwards, I read that I shouldn't have done that - Evil or Very Mad ) but come spring time everything was as happy as could be.

There's my $.02 - hopefully we will get some more people chiming in.
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Re: to mulch or not to mulch?

Post  HPartin on 6/1/2011, 9:37 am

Thanks for your reply. I know in theory that mulching is a good thing. My concern is that it will harbor squash bugs, aphids and the like. I have up until now kept the garden "clean." Does anyone have any problems with this? Would a differnt mulch be better, ie pine straw, wheat straw, bark?

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Re: to mulch or not to mulch?

Post  dmsandlin on 6/1/2011, 12:08 pm

It's a toss-up. Yes, the leaves will harbor bugs (good and bad) but your plants will appreciate the retained moisture and cooler temps. If you have more than one box, mulch one and leave the other bare. Whichever one works best, run with it.
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Re: to mulch or not to mulch?

Post  stripesmom on 6/1/2011, 2:32 pm

Wood mulch often will attract or is harboring slugs. If it were me, I'd go with pine if it's a toss up with straw as straw will have seeds and grow more straw. Not a problem to pull out, except after a good rain, it will can a million pieces of straw in some cases. I've had that problem in my row gardens in the past and it can be a lot of pulling. Even if it's not as much area, it's just one more thing I don't want to do.

My personal favorite and what I think I'll go with is a layer of shredded news paper, covered with pig bedding which is also called pine shavings-what they use in pet stores for rodents. I can get a large bale of it at the farmers coop for a small amount. Haven't checked it this year to find out the price. The pig bedding just lays there after it's been wet well and looks nice too. And that's the only reason I'm using it on top of news paper, because it looks nice. I'm kind of vain with my SFG, lol.
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Re: to mulch or not to mulch?

Post  Paintedlady on 6/2/2011, 1:01 am

I'm using straw this year. Straw should not have seeds--hay has seeds. You feed hay to animals, but straw is bedding (or in this case, mulch). Laughing My plants aren't complaining.
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