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Soil and Composting: Beauty Bark?!

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 24, Views: 215
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zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 25, 2008
3:49 AM

Post #5316112

I turned a bed I want to use for herbs. I thought it was bark on top and sandy soil. I laid out "compost" materials and some soil additions and turned the soil, but down past a shovel lenght it's all beauty bark. Now the beauty bark has been there for at least two years, I'd guess 4+. The top was a light grey, the lower is more redish. Is this better or worse then sandy soil?

Here's the bed:

Thumbnail by zhinu
Click the image for an enlarged view.

zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 25, 2008
3:50 AM

Post #5316115

Here is a close up of the "soil":

Thumbnail by zhinu
Click the image for an enlarged view.

PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 25, 2008
6:42 AM

Post #5316539

How thick is the layer of beauty bark?
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 25, 2008
5:53 PM

Post #5318461

It's all orgainc. LOL!!! I would use it as mulch.
zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 25, 2008
9:30 PM

Post #5319333

How much soil do you think I need to add to it; the bed is approximately 6' x 3'.
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 25, 2008
9:40 PM

Post #5319378

Laura,

Yes, how thick is the mulch like, puddle pirate asked?
zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 26, 2008
12:29 AM

Post #5319982

I dug until I found "soil" it's 12 to 18" down, then it turns to sandy soil.

Thumbnail by zhinu
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 26, 2008
2:57 AM

Post #5320752

Wow, that's alot of mulch. You might want to remove some of it and amend the soil. You can use what you remove elsewhere. How decomposed does it look it's hard to tale from the picture.
zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 26, 2008
3:50 AM

Post #5320957

Most of it is crumbly, the big pieces are mostly about an inch square. What I was asking is how muck soil/compost should I add to it.
Laurie1
Burwash Weald
United Kingdom
(Zone 9b)

July 26, 2008
2:38 PM

Post #5322314

May I suggest you work two beds - barrow out 2 or 3 loads of the mulch from bed A, remove same amount of topsoil from bed B - and swap them over. Dig B into A, and A into B. Now you have two improved beds.
zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 27, 2008
12:23 AM

Post #5324654

I have no top soil, just varying depths of bark and soil, but I got some composted soil I'm going to add and we'll see how it works.
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 27, 2008
3:25 AM

Post #5325487

Good luck, Laura.
zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 27, 2008
3:34 AM

Post #5325510

I added the compost soil, some compost, and some old potting soil. Then I planted the dill and basil. We'll see how it does.
Laurie1
Burwash Weald
United Kingdom
(Zone 9b)

July 27, 2008
6:56 AM

Post #5325931

Keep it moist, should do fine. Well done.

pbyrley

pbyrley
Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL
(Zone 9b)

August 11, 2008
3:44 PM

Post #5399461

I kept reading because I wondered what beauty bark is. Does everyone but me know what it is? I first thought it was that ground up rubber that never decays (uggg!) but apparently not.
Paul
zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

August 11, 2008
3:50 PM

Post #5399486

It's shredded bark or wood, no more then two inches long that people insist on putting in there yards to keep down weeds and to make it more "pretty". I hate the stuff. As far as I'm concerned it's just a good way to get splinters. I especially hate weeding it. It's used in the same way lava rocks or river rocks are used, but has to be replaced every couple of years of it goes grey.

Here is a close-up picture that shows how the aged stuff looks and where you can see the individual wood chunks.

Thumbnail by zhinu
Click the image for an enlarged view.

jeffinsgf
Brighton, MO
(Zone 6a)

August 11, 2008
4:29 PM

Post #5399649

But, zhinu, it decomposes and amends your soil, as well as retaining moisture and holding down the weed growth. Rocks do none of that, or more correctly they do significantly less (no decomposition, poor water retention and poor weed control). Stay away from the dyed stuff, and then there is less change when it ages. If you use natural mulch to begin with, a light topdressing is all that is needed to spruce up the appearance.
zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

August 11, 2008
4:37 PM

Post #5399694

Jeff - don't get me wrong, I dislike rocks almost as much as I dislike beauty bark; except river rock or native rock (stuff you pulled out of your soil) those are ok. Rock is kinder to your hands to weed, but still sucks. I don't want anything in my yard like that. I just want to plant things until it's bio-intensive so I don't have to worry about weeds too much. I don't like grass either, but you have to have something to walk on, if I could pull mine up I think I'd put in a pond, some vegetable beds and plant the rest with wooly thyme.
jeffinsgf
Brighton, MO
(Zone 6a)

August 11, 2008
4:54 PM

Post #5399784

"...I don't want anything in my yard like that. I just want to plant things until it's bio-intensive so I don't have to worry about weeds too much. ..."
-------------------

Sounds good, but is much harder to execute than you may think. Some plants do poorly when crowded (ask me about my tomatoes). Many will drop most of their lower foliage if there is poor circulation near the ground, which is what happens in a crowded bed. Even with a full canopy that blocks weed development, a layer of mulch will retain moisture and build your soil as it protects the roots.

Mulch your beds and put on gloves when you weed.


zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

August 11, 2008
5:08 PM

Post #5399850

Well I already have beauty bark at least turned into my beds, so I don't have much choice even if I was opposed to mulching my beds. I'm not opposed to mulching, though I would prefer if the mulch was not bark.
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 11, 2008
7:20 PM

Post #5400397

I love bark mulch. I also like grass clippings and leaves. LOL!!!
zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

August 11, 2008
7:20 PM

Post #5400401

Grass clipping and leaves are more my style.
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 11, 2008
7:24 PM

Post #5400416

zhinu, those are usally found for free so I do like them to. Only problem is it is so hot here that a good layer of bark mulch often does a good job for me. It's been in the hundreds almost all summer long with little rain.
zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

August 11, 2008
7:35 PM

Post #5400459

We have lower temperatures and a lot of rain most of the year.
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 11, 2008
7:48 PM

Post #5400518

Send some water our way will you. LOL!!!

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