best mulch for windy garden site?

tasymoMay 25, 2008

Hello Folks!

We are putting a garden in down at my elderly in-law's place. They are scaling back and invited us to use half of their garden space. Unfortunately they have always used Preen and Miricle Grow in their garden. We would really like to garden as organically as possible and when we told them that, got the rolling of eyes and under the breath mutters that one would expect from Folks so set in their ways. I realize we have a way to go to return this space to organic health, especially with some resistance on the In-law's part. What mulch would you recommend that can be tilled back in this fall, that won't blow away, since this site is very exposed to brisk wind. This property will eventually belong to my Hubby, so any small improvements we can make now, we can build on. Thanks! Kathy

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Straw or old hay. Once it is well wetted down it kind of mats and stabilizes so that the wind doesn't bother it. You can just keep adding more layers on top of it as needed and till it in in the late fall or early spring.

Do they get heavy snows there and normal rainfall? If so then a soil test would likely find no residue from previous use of either the Preen or the MG as they leach away quickly.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 5:04PM
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bcomplx1(6)

Sounds like you're putting down roots, at least of a sort. The best mulch will be like the best manure -- whatever you can get from folks in the area. Hay and straw would look great. I usually use 'em, but there's a shortage out there and bales are expensive.

You might use localharvest.org to locate resources close in (you can search by zip code for compost, mulch, etc.).

Mulches in general don't blow about once they've settled in and been rained on a time or two, so the best ones will be those that are in good supply locally.

Here is a link that might be useful: Local Harvest

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 5:22PM
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tasymo

Thank you!
Straw shouldn't be hard to get around here. We've got between 250 and 300 square feet to cover. Any idea how many bales we should get? We get plenty of snow in Winter and rain in the Spring and Fall. It's good to know that the chemicals will leach away. I've got liquid Comfrey fertilizer brewing and hope to find some pallets to build composting bins soon. Eventually I plan to get a small flock of chickens for eggs and fertilizer! I can guarantee I'll asking the Folks on this forum lots of questions. Thanks for the feedback! Kathy

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 8:21PM
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luckygal(3b)

One suggestion is to plant some sort of wind-break as soon as feasible. I have relatives who live on the prairies and wind-breaks are very common, I would say almost essential in windy areas.

All the best in this new endeavor, hopefully your DH's parents will see and taste the benefits of organic gardening.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 10:31PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

sunflowers make a quick windbreak and are pretty too. Plant 2 or 3 rows together. Corn can work too.
Also consider lasagna style mulch instead of tilling in. If they have been tilling for years, watch out for a hard pan.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 9:41AM
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