Vegetables and Fruit forum: Mulching (a yearly necessity).

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Name: Durgan
Brantford, ON, Canada (Zone 5a)
Mar 19, 2017 11:49 AM CST
Mulching. Wood Chips cost $10.00 per yard. 26 May 2012 Garden all Mulched.
Finished mulching the vegetable garden with wood chips. My primary purpose is to retain moisture. Plants were hand watered by pail as deemed necessary. The moisture situation is almost critical, since there was only one reasonable rain during April and May. This is not anywhere near normal for this area. 21 May 2012 Yard. Heavy Wood Chip Mulching
My plants are all heavily mulched with wood chips. It is preferable to heavily mulch the vegetable garden after a heavy rainfall. But mulching any time is beneficial.Mulching for conditioning soil is probably he most important single operation that can be practiced. It is found that the mulch disappears in about a year and I am constantly replenishing.I do no use the long term mulch like cedar or similar. I want the product to break down and improve the soil. In my small yard I use about 15 cubic yards each year.In addition compost is added as required. If the wood chips are worked into the soil in the Fall, I add a bit of urea (Nitrogen) to replenish the nitrogen used in the composting of the wood chips. Bare, exposed soil is neither beneficial to man or plant.
Durgan Zone 5a
Brantford, ON Canada Garden Journal
Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Mar 19, 2017 1:19 PM CST
I agree that a good mulching program is important. My mulch in the vegetable garden is a couple layers of newsprint (I get end rolls at the local newspaper so it rolls out easily and doesn't take very much time) and 6 or 8 inches of straw. The paper suppresses the weeds but allows moisture to get to the soil. The straw helps retain moisture and shades the soil to keep the temperature down. Then in the fall everything gets tilled and adds organics to the garden. As the mulch breaks down very little nitrogen is tied up in the process. Since my pH is so high I do add elemental sulphur and sulphur nitrate and some straight N. I do follow instructions from soil tests for amounts.

The newsprint is free (I do work one day per week at the newspaper so it is free for me; very cheap for anybody else). The straw I get for $3/bale from a local farmer and I use eight bales per year for my garden. Total cost of $24 is pretty cheap for the benefits of mulch. I give several seminars and talks on gardening practices every year and the first priority for any garden is a mulching program.

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