I use all the detritus from my garden beds in the fall, with as much leaf stuff as I can get. Also run up to the 2" tree trimmings through the grinder. This is our first year doing this and I can't believe the amount of mulch we have produced. Hope it thaws out so I can actually spread it before winter. Topsoil is already freezing.
I use pine straw mostly. Pine straw is the most common mulch in my area.
I prefer the look of that dark red mulch (shredded wood/bark), but will never try that stuff again. One year I paid $$$ to have a truck load of the dark red mulch delivered and applied to all of my front and side beds. A few weeks later I found those repulsive and odoriferous stink horn mushrooms growing in all of the areas where I had installed the red, wood mulch. Some research later I learned that wood serves as a substrate for stink horn mushrooms which can be nearly impossible to eradicate in my, subtropical area (where we get an avg 52in rain annually and 'enjoy' humidity of 80-100% much of the time). To get rid of the mushrooms, I paid the gardener (again), this time to remove all of the red mulch and replace it with pine straw. That was years ago, and I haven't seen (or smelled, gag) any sign of the stink horns since. So, I guess, I'm sticking with pine straw.
Primarily compost, but also shredded leaves in the fall. I am fortunate to have a good compost facility close by which delivers by the dump truck and always has a spring special of some sort (usually 15% off). That load lasts through the summer, then when I do fall cleanup I cover with leaves.
Mostly pine straw but I also use compost and for the vegetable garden I use straw and weed block fabric with straw on top of it between the rows after I plant. I hate to weed! But I do pull up the fabric at the end of the summer.
This is my first year for Raised Beds, and I'm hoping to collect all the leaves from my neighbors to use as mulch.
Never used it before, and still learning why, how and when to use it in my veggie beds. I don't get weeds (so far) in the raised beds. However, if I collect enough of the leaves, I'm going to use some of them on the pathways between the raised beds. Still trying to decide on pathway material, and I'm not quite there yet, and leaves are free (except for the energy expenditure!!).
Besides, as an added bonus, once they break down and the worms come, I can just scoop them and the leave detritus up and over into the raised beds in the springtime. Instant organic amendment!
I voted for other, because I use leaves, cardboard, veggie scraps and anything else that I can find, or afford to add to my beds. The neighbors think I'm crazy because I collect their bags of leaves before the trash truck gets here.
Hardwood mulch. I do like the neat and tidy look it gives my beds and when it decomposes, it helps improve the soil. The unaltered soil is basically sand since I live 2 blocks from the beach.Over the years, between the mulch and my compost, I have really improved the soil.
Here we use pine bark, pine straw and leaves. Under no circumstances do we use cypress mulch. In earlier times, cypress mulch was a by product of the lumber industry. Now, all cypress mulch comes from clear cutting. Some of the trees harvested for mulch are 1000 years old and once our beloved cypress groves are gone, we all lose as many will not regenerate growth.
themoonhowl; I don't live there so all I can say ,petition, petition , petition, .Maybe to begin with a web ,organization. State ownership of state land where federal laws do not apply,and as we all know, fed money goes to disaster relief , It does not care about a bunch of old trees that nobody thinks about of tomorrow!!
Thanks Juhur, it is an ongoing battle with an already embattled legislature and a dictatorial governor. But we aren't giving up. One of the most useful tools is a boycott of the product. If there is no money in it, they will stop selling it...in theory at least. As for web sites, that is what Riverkeeper is, and there are a number of other organizations here dealing with environmental issues such as LEAN, LA Nature Conservation, Mississippi River Delta restoration...among others.
I voted "Other" because, living in an area where cocos are common as ants, i use coconut by-products for mulch, a combination of the fibers and peat portion of a coco. It is so inexpensive here, i hesitate to say just how inexpensive it is. These are products formerly considered "waste", so the selling of them helps the local economy, the environment, and me and my garden. It protects seedling roots from the heat of the sun, it is attractive without use of dyes or paints, it retains an incredible amount of water...i guess i use half the water i used to use on the garden. No more drooping sad plants. At present, i am trying it out as a seed germination medium also. I have built up the soil with a good amount of nutrients including nitrogen, so i am not worried about nitrogen depletion. I do keep an eye on the plants...they will let me know if they need more nitrogen.
Our own garden waste, lawn clippings, tree trimmings, leaves all go in mulch bins, for ;ater use in the raised vegetable beds. Flower beds are mulched in wood chips, natural, picked up from our recycling center. We don't take their compost because it is often saturated with weed killers, fertilizers, and othr unknowns, and takes a long time to break down and become usable.
We use mostly shredded cedar mulch on the flower beds, but I have one bed where I use the leaves from the oak tree that fall. Tried "official" mulch there once and it floated away in the first good rain we had. Went back to the leaves that were there for years! In our veggie garden we use shredded leaves or straw.
Though I voted for Pine Straw it's actually crushed pine needle mulch. I use it in all the gardens except for the most recent (new) garden where I used pine mulch as a test. It's easy on the feet in paths and it stays put and won't blow around even in the worst of winds.
Pirl ~ very pretty! Not only is it attractive and stays in place, rainwater filters through it with no trouble. I don't use the 'crushed' but notice it will become crushed when laid in the walkways. I later add that to the beds too.l
It's about $8.00 a bag, plus tax, at our local Agway up here in NY but it's native to Georgia so it has to be available elsewhere. We buy a lot of it. They are long pine needles, soft and easy on the hands when putting it down. This can't be the only supplier so it's worth asking about at a few major nurseries.
In the second photo it's covering caladiums, just planted. They grow up right through it - no problem.
Photo #3 shows it when we had just put down the weed barrier cloth and stapled it in place, then put down the pine needles and spread them out.
Sharon Whitney, hybridizer and grower of many Japanese irises, uses something very similar at her Eartheart Gardens in Maine. I've been there a few times and she doesn't grow as many hybridizers do, in soldier straight lines. All of her JI's and all of her paths are the long pine needles and it's a very unifying look for the garden and so pleasant for walking around her beautiful plants. I suspect her pine needles come from her own pines that line the rear of the property thereby saving her a lot of money. Wise woman!
Free for me is the hay that my hubby and son bales.
and big rocks -- I live in a county called Rockcastle so as the name implies there are big rocks about.
But hay has so many seeds -- you have to really put it on heavy and keep doing it. It does make rich soil though.
Straw is easier and less expensive.
But I am not putting it around such beautiful flowers like those iries in the those beautiful pictures. I am putting mine around berries and hazel nut trees.
I did put down cypress mulch around the house when I first planted all my little shrubs..
It does not wash away, it last for a long time, and I think it is resistant to bugs and insects as in termites.
Sorry The Moon How -- but it is great stuff.
I would like to put in some pretty blooming stuff beside just mums in the fall. I will have to see if pirl is in my neck of the woods.
Liquidambar2, the bagged crushed pine straw is just pine needles run through a shredder. It is a "Southern thing"...grin You can achieve the same look if you have a mower that catches the grass in a bag...just run the mower over the whole needles. I have never understood why chopping the needles up made them so much more expensive, other than it takes a little more crushed straw to cover the same area as baled pine straw. It does have a softer look in the garden beds. We have 3 huge pines here and my DH runs the mower around and under them and viola! I have shredded pine straw mulch. Here is a link with some info for you.
Yup, cypress mulch is a great product and was widely used down here, but unfortunately, it is no longer a by-product. There is nothing sustainable about the way the cypress is collected...whole groves are cut down and destroyed with no hope of regrowth. That is why so many southern gardeners use pine bark, pine nuggets and pine straw...that is a sustainable resource.
My favorite is grass clippings...but my present garden is located on a slope and in the summer we have heavy rains that just doesn't allow for mulching as it would get washed away, DARN!!!! The next best is chopped leaves...Sure miss being able to use them. Planting close helps knit the plants and shades the ground. Hate wood chips as they are uncomfortable to walk on when working in the beds and get blown away when the winds rise above 20ish, also very hard to do digging and or plant maitanence. Tried black plastic in the beginning, oh yuckkkk, never, never, never!!! Tried sheet weed control type after black plastic, oh my...yuck again, have to cut holes for every new plant, found out it was a waste of money and also traps weed seed, making it harder to weed...
Pix 1 west side of my slopping border
Pix 2 east side of my slopping border
It was disaster when we tried black plastic weed barrier within gardens - horrible to try and plant anything. The weeds find their way out but it's hard to get to them. Their roots anchor themselves in the threading of the weed barrier.
We thought wood chips would be the answer for a few paths on one side of the house. They're uncomfortable and even with weed cloth in place under them, the weeds grew in the decomposing wood. Horrid! They didn't blow away here even with 60 MPH but we wish they'd have blown somewhere...anywhere!
For the vegetable garden I've used Shredded Straw and we both love it.
1. Shredded Straw
2. It would be a crime to let Jack's hard work go to weeds!
3. Just planted and the straw just put down. It's neat, clean, nice to use and feels like the Ivory Flakes of my memories.
4. The black plastic weed barrier is just for the paths with no covering. Using it there does work.
5. Even when the tomatoes are grown and producing the straw is still in place and doing a fine job of keeping soil temperature more constant and keeping the soil moist.
That is one more veg garden!
thanks for sharing.
You have it manicured like a flower garden or a herb garden.
My gosh you have even laid down side walks in it!
I do well just to try to remember where last year the tomatoes and- well rotating the crops and getting a few tobacco sticks in ground for a few beans or those flimsy little tomato cages up and more sticks driven into the ground - no,no,no not mulch too!
You are right about those weed cloths nothing I could do with them made me happy. They are always a waste of money ,like the the plastic edgings ( they always come out of the ground and end up laying flat,and never do what they were made to do)
Warrior Wisdom Kathy
Black plastic covered over with big rocks or gravel is best for those permanent backbone plants like shrubs and ground hugging junipers not for flower gardens because you are right ,we gardeners are always changing our minds and diggin here and pulling up there. many holes would soon be dotting the permanent barrier.
Lol...Would you beleive it's old low pile carpet from a church that was replacing it with new carpet. My friend was going to bury it on their property and I asked for any and all... I rolled out large pieces of it and cut into 4ft widths, thought it would be wide enough for two people to walk down the path side by side. I must admit it needs a bit of work as I've had some very heavy rains that have washed some of the soil from underneath...Maybe I'll have time in the next year (or so) to get it fixed like I want...am thinking of adding cardboard underneath and doing a better job of pinning it down...Sure was the right price tho...I still have a bunch yet to finish more paths as I finish garden areas...It does keep my shoes clean when it's wet tho...I believe they call it repurposing...lol...(flagstone is just a dreammm!!!!). It's taken me five years to claim back the this bit of prairie but I finished this border this year and now onto others...namely the backyard now, hope I can get a bit of it finished yet this season...and the four legged creatures leave it alone...Kathy
Some of the other living mulches, I allow the Viola Johnny Jump Ups to seed in everywhere, along with verbascums and flax.
Hey Pirl...looks good as usual, lol...I'm still planting more clems. this fall and just clipped a trash bag FULL to root as many as I can this winter...
Ohhh a carpet;
My father loves carpets. He puts them around his tomatoes to keep the weeds out since he is 85 and has a hard time weeding.
Okay let us see how much I have forgotten
Foreground lavendar,left verconia speedwell, the middle -- Rocket ???, right shasta daisy and the back gound is rebukia
campbells and big ferns ( I use to have them- if they are not columbines?_
3rd picture pansy and johnney jump ups or all they all the same?
4th picture climatitis and oh I use to have that plant too, I can't remember -- is that Russian Static?
5th is columbine and the white long spike thing - it that white verconica speedwell?
1 top center to the right: Wild sunflowers, Daisy Becky (48"), Penstemon strictus Rocky Mountain Blue at 36", unopened Catanche carulea, Lavendula Munstead, Veronica spicata Sight Seeing Blue at 28" (the tallest veronica available), canter is Malva, there are grouping of 5+ plants each...
2 Background (purple) Hesperis matronalis (several hundred plants), ferny thing is Daucus carota which gets to 6-7 ft tall, and is biennial (think there was about 20ish), ya probably a few weeds tooo, shhh..
3 All viola Johnny Jump Ups which I let reseed with abandon, some iris setosa to the left and various other perenns in early spring
4 Various clems with cosmos in the front and Gypsophila paniculata (see new pix...is gypso and clem Prince Charles
5 the white is Verbascum phoenicium alba, Aquilegia (columbine) and Centaurea montana Amethyst in Snow back toward carpet and Asclepias incarnat Ice Ballet bottom right.., plus various other perenns...
OHHHHH Babies breath --- yeah --- that is it.
I at one time was really good and now I have forgotten. I think I will get my book and head for Col next summer and learn them all over again. Only in my dreams --- I will just get my book out and look at your pictures.
You know though ---that fifth picture - I was not familiar with Verbascum or come to think of it ., or Hesperis matronalis ---well it should be interesting to read about them.
And fragrant too...Just to let ya know the hesperis is bannned in most states as it's a prolithic reseeder...that's why its in the middle of my garden and also Very fragrant tooooo, one of my first bloomers in early spring.
Oh, I looked it up - yeah - dames rocket. I could only remember rocket. I use to buy packets of seeds every year - of dames rocket and not once did they come up. Nope, - prolific seeder up in Col but not here in Kentucky -- unless they were radiating 'em and then laughing at us buying seeds that did not germinate.
I loved the picture of them. So that is what they could have looked like in my cottage garden - IF I COULD HAVE EVER GOT THEM TO GERMINATE.
Well Congradulations with it --- it is really pretty!
There use to be a Queens Annes lace or aucas Corota that grew by our barn. It was really big and pretty. It is almost a shrub -- well it is a shrub more than a herb, don't you think?
What is that smaller version they call Wild carrot or queens anne's lace too??? It is nothing compared to the big one.
I have seen it as either (shrub or herb),including the purple cultivar,I think cultivation practices ,hybrid cross breeding,has added a few aspects to the plant.(the carota).
Of course things like willows(salix species) are also an herb and they are a small to huge tree. Definitions are definitions?
Are you serious? Really ! Willows are considered herb
I will have to look up those definitions -- because I really just thought -- well come to think of it I have not really thought on it that much.
I guess it is not just size that makes a herb. but maybe if the stems are hollow or -- hmmmm I was ready to go to bed, but I will have to look that one up first.
Look in any Medicinal herb manual,SALIX ,used for aspirin, dye, rope,and rooting hormone, and as you have read ,no doubt, people like to make trellises and stakes and wreaths from them. Useful plant if you have the knack.
Etc I do not endorse any use of this information as real,lol only protecting myself even if I am not that defensive.
I found all kinds of definitions
Darn it kept me up -- I will never get up tomorrow morning.
But an herb -dies back to the ground at the end of the growing season is the one I like best.
But I see what you mean about the willow and the definition of medicinal and useful.That is kind of neat to think of willow that way.