Mulch Overdue

Have you been weeding your hands off?  HAVE YOU BEEN MULCHING AFTER??  That’s the trick you see, once you weed, put something there.  Look at my tacky mulch method:

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It’s craft paper that came in my Lee Valley Order (which was very exciting of course.  Not the craft paper, but the Lee Valley Order).  Look at this:

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This was printed on the craft paper that they use as cushioning in their boxes.  Does Lee Valley make bumper stickers? I’d like one.  I’d also like one that reads:

“I brake for earthworms.  In fact, I get out and put them in the grass.”

Now that I’ve run out of Lee Valley Craft paper, I might start using newspaper, but then we’re getting pretty high on the tacky/unsightly scale.  And it is important that you can look at your garden and smile.  Even if it’s full of weeds, flea beetles, and there might be a missing garden hoe in there somewhere. And a rake.

MULCHES: The Pros and Cons

MULCH PROS CONS
Yellow (dead) grass clippings Forms a great mat. Water permeable. Could have weed and grass seeds in it
Straw (not hay….please not hay) Looks tidy, smells like ponies and unicorns. Could have weed seeds, good habitat for slugs if you’re farming slugs.
Newspaper Read and weed, cheap Inks are likely not good for you, and when the great wind blows….you can share your mulch with your neighbours.  Hands free.
Brown craft paper Looks better than newspaper, not as distracting You have to spend $5million dollars at Lee Valley
Leaves (mulched with the mower is really handy) Free. Need to be a planner and collect in the fall.  Also, when the great wind blows….your neighbour will think he’s lost track of time and it’s fall already.  Play along.
Comfrey LeavesIMG_2301 As they break down they feed the soil.  Relatively easy to find in the wild…. The leaves shrivel up into nothing and disappear.  Fairly useless as a mulch.  Still a great fertilizer.
Burlap Coffee Bags Smells like coffee and kind of pretty.  Perfect for your Paper Bag Princess costume this Halloween. Not easy to come by, especially since I have an unspoken deal with Ashanti in Thornbury.
Landscape Fabric/Weed Barrier Cloth Great to put on the soil and pop plants into, especially if they are heat lovers: peppers, eggplants, melons, tomatoes. Not cheap, and Not easy to re-use, thus destined for the landfill.  Anytime I use something once and put it in the garbage (very rare of course, I don’t make any garbage), I picture myself putting the money that was used to purchase it in the garbage too.  Chocolate bars are exempt from such exercise.

Things you Don’t want to Mulch With:

1) Wood chips or cedar mulchesApparently.  They are said to leach the nitrogen from your soil as they break down, starving your veggie plants.  I think using them in your paths is ok (and for ornamental gardens).  Put newspaper under them for extra weed barrier and something for the worms to read.

2) Hay – Hay is for animals to eat because it has seeds in it – seeds like quinoa . LIKE Quinoa…Hay is not the new superfood.

3) Dyed Mulches – I get it, you dye your hair.  But don’t dye your mulch.  It’s just sitting there, leaching toxic dyes into the earth.  Think about the earthworm children.

HOWEVER….

Instead of putting mulch down in barespots, lately I’ve just been planting more stuff.  Radish seeds are great fillers.  Especially if you’ve got a gap where something didn’t come up like beans, or carrots, or beets.  Just push a couple radish seeds into the soil. Or if it’s beans I would plant some more beans still.  I also happen to have lettuce seedlings still lying around so I plug those in each time I take out a head of lettuce.

You guys are great.  Warm fuzzies to all who read this whole post.

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