Mulching

Discussion in 'Put Your Questions to the Experts!' started by Hendri Bissolati, Sep 10, 2015.

  1. Hendri Bissolati

    Hendri Bissolati New Member

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    Hi I am looking for info on Living Mulch and others.
    Can I use Clover as Living Mulsh in muy veg garden?

    Can sawdust be used as Mulsh?
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    it depends upon the type of clover, but in general most garden veggies do not like competition for nutrients or moisture.

    sawdust can be used as a top mulch, but can become a water barrier as it can crust and then dry out so that water has a hard time getting through. much better is to compost it with the right balance of nitrogen supplying materials and then use it as a garden amendment and mulch. this way it will not deplete as much nitrogen from the garden and will also not tend to crust and repel water.
     
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  3. Rylan Zimny

    Rylan Zimny New Member

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    In my region, crimson clover is used as a living mulch frequently. It tends to start dying off after competing it's biennial lifecycle. Most other clovers are indeed very aggressive. If you were to use it as your mulch and chop/ drop it regularly, you would probably have a winner. You would be providing nitrogen to the soil as the clover would root prune and deposit some of it's nodules, and you would be supplying organic matter.

    I second the comment on not using sawdust directly: it sucks nitrogen out of the soil as it decomposes. It will release the nitrogen later, but the affects on your garden would not be good while decomposing. Best to put it in you compost or worm bin and let nature process it for you.

    Rylan
     
  4. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    As Songbird mentioned, vegetables do not like competition for water or anything else. This means no living mulch where you want good vegetable growth and production. That stated, you can mulch with just about any biodegradable. On Asnikiye heca we use straw, once our plants are up about 6 inches tall we lay in a 3 inch thick layer of straw. As the season goes by we may add a layer of finished compost on top of the straw mulch. We do grow clovers but these are grown in pastures and feed plots not our vegetable gardens, we also have clovers growing in our orchard where they are chopped and dropped four times a year.

    By using straw as our mulch we allow water to reach the soil quickly and the thickness of the straw keeps the soil moist during drought periods. The straw also allows inoculations and teas to be given to the plant's soil without any problems, the straw will decompose over a year or two and be pulled into the soil by the worms who will come and live under it all year long. We do compost heaps and that is where all the wood chips and sawdust from our construction projects goes first, these heaps get lots of nitrogen and garden materials then chickens are given access to scratch as they seek out food stuffs, this effectively aerates the heaps and turns them.
     

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