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Much Mulch

August 6th, 2013

A few weeks ago, Mr Chiots stopped and talked to the local tree service guys about dropping off their wood chips at Chiot’s Run. They started dropping off HUGE loads a couple days later. This is coming in very handy in our effort to expand the main garden behind the garage.
Mulching the Main Garden 1
We’ve been using all these wood chips to add a thick layer of mulch to smother the grass that surrounded the garden. We’re also using it to cover half of the garden that was planted in a cover crop. With this layer of mulch, the garden has doubled in size from what it was when we arrived.
Mulching the Main Garden 2
Since this is mulched wood and leaves, it’s smart to wear a respirator because it’s decomposing very quickly. Mold and dust roll off the stuff in clouds when we’re moving it.
Mulching the Main Garden 4
The nice thing is, this will decompose slowly while helping to improve the soil underneath. Most likely, this garden area will lay fallow next year, perhaps another layer of mulch and minerals will be added. I don’t want to do too much to this area until I have the final garden plan laid out. There will be hedges and brick walkways, and hopefully a greenhouse and maybe even a small pond.
Mulching the Main Garden 3
This is the easy way to expand a garden, but it does take patience. That’s not a big deal though, I have a lot of patience. Mulch is one of the most valuable things you can provide for your garden.

Do you use mulch in your garden? What’s your favorite type?

20 Comments to “Much Mulch”
  1. kristin @ going country on August 6, 2013 at 5:13 am

    Dirty sheep hay. Really dirty. I should probably wear a respirator for that stuff too, but only if it would block the smell. Gross.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on August 6, 2013 at 7:29 am

      It does block smell, this one we have is specifically made to block VOC’s. I use it for painting and other smelly tasks because fumes usually give me headaches. Not so with this mask!

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Trish on August 6, 2013 at 6:28 pm

        would it block bacteria and fungi and protozoans do you think? I need to clean out my barn loft and the hay up there is full of bird poop and raccoon poop, and cat poop. all of which can carry harmful things. I am going to wait til winter, but I have been intending to get a really serious respirator to protect myself against this type of stuff.

        to Trish's comment

      • Susy on August 6, 2013 at 8:17 pm

        Actually it would help with the bacteria, wood chips are particularly good for that.

        to Susy's comment

  2. Joan on August 6, 2013 at 5:58 am

    Wow, that looks nice. You and Mr. Chiots have done a LOT of work!

    Leaves are my favorite, but I never have enough of them. Then grass clippings, then straw, then woodchips. Woodchips come in last only because I only use them between the paths (my chips are mostly conifer, so I don’t use them around the plants), and the others I can use anywhere. They’re all great though – anything that keeps the weeds down is wonderful!

    Reply to Joan's comment

  3. Jennifer Fisk on August 6, 2013 at 6:25 am

    I mulch my garlic bed and rhubarb with straw. I used the bedding from the goat house in my corn. I put the 10 wheelbarrows of chicken litter in one area and then planted the potatoes in it. Unfortunately, with the bad weather and time constraints, I didn’t get a lot of my garden mulched so I have lots of turkey greens(weeds), but if I had mulched it would have been with straw. It is so nice an clean and breaks down in the soil over the winter. In the fall, I mow to clean up the leaves and dump them on the garden too. By spring they are pretty much gone.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  4. nicole on August 6, 2013 at 7:19 am

    How thick of a layer of wood chips would you recommend for a new garden area? Also, what type of minerals would you add?

    Reply to nicole's comment

    • Susy on August 8, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      The minerals really depends on your soil, I usually add Azomite, which is an all around mineral, greensand is great too. I’d add at least 6 inches if you want to smother grass/weeds underneath.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Melissa on August 6, 2013 at 7:23 am

    I’ve been adding foot thick layers of mulch to my new flower patch, then a layer of straw, then a layer of something green, then another layer of mulch. I think the tree company guys think I’m crazy for doing all that work but I’ll have some gorgeous soil!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

    • Susy on August 6, 2013 at 7:33 am

      You will have some beautiful soil. We mixed some grass clippings in with this mulch. If we had enough chicken bedding we’d use that too.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Jenn on August 6, 2013 at 9:16 am

    We keep horses so we mulch with year old manure (we have to do something to get rid of the stuff) we bed the horses in sawdust and the manure breaks down into crumbly compost.

    Were sticking on 6 inches of manure and 3 inches of woodchips this year on the orchard, veggies and flower garden. We also collect seaweed throughout the year whenever we go to the beach and add that everywhere for the minerals.

    We’re going to put some cornmeal on the manure this year to (hopefully) prevent weed seed germination.

    We did this in our raised beds last year & made great soil, so this year we’re doing it everywhere.

    Reply to Jenn's comment

  7. judym on August 6, 2013 at 10:11 am

    We’ve used cypress mulch for years. It takes longer to break down but it’s worth it. Beds have built up over time and are very rich. We also use leaves, straw and most recently chicken litter to soil. So much fun to watch the soil change over time!

    Reply to judym's comment

  8. whit on August 6, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Susy, have you seen the movie on the web Back to Eden? The gentleman arrives at this idea through his Christianity, but basically he is talking about the same thing: heavy mulching leads to easier gardening and bigger harvests and no irrigation.

    We are wondering if a wood chip mulch method would work for our garden. We have a couple problems: a high water table (wondering if the wood chips would help regulate the bogginess?) and invasive buttercup.

    Interested to see how your garden develops over the years. Good luck!

    Reply to whit's comment

  9. Caroline on August 6, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Your garden plan sounds gorgeous!
    I recently dug up a big area of grass – just dig in and flipped it over, breaking up the grassy-dirt clod – so that I’ll be ready for the spring! If I had access to OR could afford a bunch of mulch, I’d much rather go that route!!!

    I do use the bagged mulch that we buy from Menards in my current garden, though I’d like to look into the kind of mulch you have for next year. We currently are able to get free compost from the city, so long as we pick it up ourselves (I’m guessing with the newly dug garden it will take at LEAST 3 trips next spring!)

    Reply to Caroline's comment

  10. Lemongrass on August 6, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    i have lots of dried banana leaves, green coconut husk and composted donkey and goat manure. i just have to be careful when cutting the banana leaves………..lots of half inch ants make their home in the leaf-stalk.
    Great looking mulch!

    Reply to Lemongrass's comment

  11. Chris on August 6, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    We like our composted goat bedding, leaves and sometimes hazelnut shells…we used to use wood chips but find that weed seeds germinate much quicker and alot more of them in it than other forms of mulch. At least here in the Northwest they do…your much colder winters will probably take care of that!

    Reply to Chris's comment

  12. Nebraska Dave on August 6, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Susy, my favorite mulch is in the fall when the neighborhood is cleaning up the yards from all the leaves. They crunch it up with their lawn mowers so it’s a perfect blend of green grass and dried leaves. Last year was the first year for the great yard waste capper. One foot deep mushed down to about three inches by spring and about one to two inches by mid summer. The mulch is already turning into composted soil so by this fall more mulch from the neighborhood will be ending up on my garden.

    Have a great day in the garden.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  13. katy on August 6, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    we’re doing that this year too :) always inspired with all you do with your garden, animals, everything!

    Reply to katy's comment

  14. AmyS on August 7, 2013 at 12:11 am

    I’m working towards the Garden of Eden concept. The hubby isn’t too happy after purchasing his new Husqvarna tiller last year lol. I have used this roll of paper I got from a farm supply store then placed layers of grass and leaves. I am getting a load of compost this fall then a load of slightly decomposed mulch from a sawmill to top it off. I was worried to do this earlier in the season due to increase in acidity from the amendments so plan to apply in fall with hopes to increase the soil and improve weed control.

    Reply to AmyS's comment

  15. Annette on August 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I would love to use mulch in the garden and will have to find the wood/mowing guys and ask them to drop it off at the house! I do have a question, though, about the wood chips – will that increase the acidity of the soil?

    Reply to Annette's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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