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(Phys Org2)   Mulch. Is there anything it can't do?   (phys.org) divider line
    More: Spiffy, Eutrophication, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Agriculture, Algal bloom, Water pollution, Laura Christianson, Nitrous oxide  
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868 clicks; posted to STEM » on 16 Apr 2021 at 9:29 AM (4 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-04-16 8:15:56 AM  
Hi all,

My education and degree is in Horticulture.  Not just does ORGINIC mulch chemically bond on to nitrogen, as it breaks down it actually improves the structure of soil.  Thus improving the soil, as well as keep down weeds, it keeps soil moister long, it also helps prevent damage from winter winds.  (Since leaves and roots are living tissue, they are subject to wind chill and wind desiccation).

Organic mulch also encourages worms and beneficial insects and beneficial bacteria, all of which actually permanently change the chemical and physical structure of the soil, which helps the horticultural materials growling & thriving in the soil.
 
2021-04-16 9:23:21 AM  

growinthings: Organic mulch


Glad you specified organic - after watching last week's Gardeners' World, Monty Don schooled me on mulch - including the fact that it can be inorganic, such as grit.
 
2021-04-16 9:31:49 AM  

growinthings: Hi all,

My education and degree is in Horticulture.  Not just does ORGINIC mulch chemically bond on to nitrogen, as it breaks down it actually improves the structure of soil.  Thus improving the soil, as well as keep down weeds, it keeps soil moister long, it also helps prevent damage from winter winds.  (Since leaves and roots are living tissue, they are subject to wind chill and wind desiccation).

Organic mulch also encourages worms and beneficial insects and beneficial bacteria, all of which actually permanently change the chemical and physical structure of the soil, which helps the horticultural materials growling & thriving in the soil.

As a very new outdoor plant having person (tried a few things last summer, trying more stuff this summer)... what should I look for when buying mulch?

I assume the dyed stuff is bad, and it should be plant based. Do the bags say "organic" on them? Or is there something beyond that to watch out for?
 
2021-04-16 9:35:19 AM  
I am on path to get rid of mulch for weed suppression in everything but my gardening beds.  I've got some nice vinca minor planted in the large beds, which will eventually fill in all the space around the taxis, etc.  Other perennial low-lying stuff that I inherited from the previous owners that i need to clean up & reorganize.

For the garden beds, nothing wrong with ordinary straw.  It's cheap, lightweight, and easy to move around.
 
2021-04-16 10:38:19 AM  
Well, if there *is* anything Mulch can't do, I'm sure his owner, The Sage, can!

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-04-16 12:22:33 PM  
I have an old cooler on my porch that I throw all my coffee grounds and food waste in.
I'm not sure what's in there now, but it looks really organic.  I need to dump it and start over.
 
2021-04-16 12:24:52 PM  
Play the flute solo from Locomotive Breath?
 
2021-04-16 12:39:22 PM  
Doing it wrong? Probably...

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2021-04-16 1:46:37 PM  
Monsanto, Bayer and similar companies are to blame not the farmers. These companies should pay to install the mulch trenches.
The cost should be paid for from current profits not by raising prices 3x for something that costs 1x and blaming excess regulations.
 
2021-04-16 1:57:46 PM  
We removed all the nutrients from the soil a long time ago, and turned them into fertilizer. Then we shipped fertilizer all over the world to wherever we wanted it and revolutionized agriculture. But we also used up all the fertilize, or maybe it's in the ocean, we don't know.

Now we're conditioned to thinking that you only ADD things to the soil, not that they were there all along, before we exploited the fark out of them.
This is because adding all the extra steps, instead of going with what nature already supplied, makes a lot more money.

Money--Is there anything it can't do? Badly
 
2021-04-16 5:00:55 PM  

Sunidesus: growinthings: Hi all,

My education and degree is in Horticulture.  Not just does ORGINIC mulch chemically bond on to nitrogen, as it breaks down it actually improves the structure of soil.  Thus improving the soil, as well as keep down weeds, it keeps soil moister long, it also helps prevent damage from winter winds.  (Since leaves and roots are living tissue, they are subject to wind chill and wind desiccation).

Organic mulch also encourages worms and beneficial insects and beneficial bacteria, all of which actually permanently change the chemical and physical structure of the soil, which helps the horticultural materials growling & thriving in the soil.
As a very new outdoor plant having person (tried a few things last summer, trying more stuff this summer)... what should I look for when buying mulch?

I assume the dyed stuff is bad, and it should be plant based. Do the bags say "organic" on them? Or is there something beyond that to watch out for?


First you define terms. Mulch is literally anything you put in a layer on top of the ground. It can be bark, leaves, manure, wood chips, or stone chips.

Second, you need to think about what you want the mulch to do. Do you want it to protect roots from frost or drying? Do you want it to feed your plants? Do you want to suppress weeds? Just look nice?

I am guessing you want a mulch to protect roots and also feed your plants. Leaves are good for that, they suppress weeds, they will kill grass, and they can turn into nutrients for your plants in just a few months. I would suggest finding somewhere local that collects fallen leaves (ideally not ones that get sprayed with anything) then putting them into black plastic sacks and leaving them outside for 6 months. Make sure they are wet before you tie them up, or they won't decompose.

Then, if you have room, make a compost bin out of scrap wood. 1mx1mx1m is a good size. Throw all your kitchen plant waste into it. Every few weeks make a layer of cardboard (not glossy, not printed if you can help it. The brown sort) and throw some green garden waste on top of that then carry on with the kitchen waste. Get a garden fork and turn it over after three months. After another three months you will have some good compost on the bottom. Get that out, use it as mulch, throw back anything not composted.

Woodchip is a good weed cover, although it does not feed your plants for quite a while. What we do is use the woodchip as pathways in our plot then at the end of a year we dig that up and throw it into the compost bin and relay the paths with fresh woodchip. By the time it comes out it has started to rot and holds a good amount of moisture and is well on the way to giving back some nutrients.

Generally, if it is hard and looks new, it will not feed your plants. Try to avoid bags of bark, that takes ages to rot down.

If you are just starting out, I would mulch with compost. Throw leaves on it in Autumn, manure if you can get it from an organic farm, and the oldest most rotten woodchip you can find. Woodchip first, then manure, then leaves on top.

A good 5-6 inch layer the first year, then 2 inches every year after that, ideally the compost you make in your own bin.

This is a good start down the rabbit hole:

Start Out No Dig, one method with cardboard and compost
Youtube 0LH6-w57Slw
 
2021-04-16 6:34:15 PM  

cryinoutloud: We removed all the nutrients from the soil a long time ago, and turned them into fertilizer.



You don't know how chemical fertilizers are made do you?

Primary fertilizers include substances derived from nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Various raw materials are used to produce these compounds. When ammonia (piss, for example) is used as the nitrogen source in a fertilizer, one method of synthetic production requires the use of natural gas and air. The phosphorus component is made using sulfur, coal, and phosphate rock. The potassium source comes from potassium chloride, a primary component of potash (Potash is a potassium-rich salt that is mined from underground deposits formed from evaporated sea beds millions of years ago)

Secondary nutrients are added to some fertilizers to help make them more effective. Calcium is obtained from limestone, which contains calcium carbonate, calcium sulphate, and calcium magnesium carbonate. The magnesium source in fertilizers is derived from dolomite. Sulfur is another material that is mined and added to fertilizers. Other mined materials include iron from ferrous sulfate, copper, and molybdenum from molybdenum oxide.

You don't dig up soil, extract fertilizer, then put it back on the soil...

The reason farmland has become less productive is that chemical fertilizers destroy the natural life cycle in the soil. Basically, you are drowning the fungus it in its own excrement. Then the nematodes have nothing to eat, and so they can't provide nutrients for the plants.
 
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