MemberJune 11, 2018 at 10:03 pm
Does anyone mulch their planting beds? if so, with what materials? How deep? How much water do you save? And do you find that pests hide in the mulch and chew on your plants when your back is turned?
MemberJune 18, 2018 at 12:44 pm
I am experimenting with mulching at the base of vines in a vineyard setting. The hardest part for me was actually figuring out what mulch to use as it needed to fit into several categories i.e availability, efficiency, cost, PH buffering, nitrogen binding vs. organic matter gained etc. Ended up using straw. CDFA requirements (its a part of a grant) indicate at least 2 inches thick. No issue with pests for the vines. I will know a lot more about water savings at the end of the year.
MemberJune 19, 2018 at 6:21 pm
I mulch everything in my urban lot with rice straw. It makes a major difference in soil moisture retention, though I can not quantify it for you in a meaningful way. I do believe there is more plant damage from chewing insects harbored in the mulch and question if I can simply build better soil health to avoid that, or if it is really inevitable.
In my Elderberry plot this season, I decided not to till and instead used cardboard and wood chip sheet mulch to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture between rows. It is doing the job so far, but again, no proper data available on water saved. Also, whether it will continue to suppress weeds to any meaningful degree with the next rain season remains to be seen.
MemberJune 24, 2018 at 7:00 pm
I mulch my strawberries with straw. In other beds I grew cover crops, then knocked them down and covered them with landscape cloth for several weeks, then removed the landscape cloth and planted starts through the mulch made by the dead cover crops. The starts are growing well and there are no pest problems but there are perennial weeds (quackgrass especially) coming in and they are harder to weed out with the dead cover crop mulch in the way. I noticed that the Singing Frog Farm video did not mention how they deal with weeds. I have a much bigger problem with weeds than with pests. Tilling a bed provides a way to get the quack-grass out before you plant, so I’m wondering how to deal with this problem without tilling.
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