Mulching Gardens

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Larousse
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:37 pm
Location: Canberra

Mulching Gardens

Postby Larousse » Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:55 am

Good Morning,
I have read Peter's new book and I was interested in getting information about mulching. Peter talks about mulch farming but I was interested if that concept could be scaled to suit a home garden?
Could someone comment on whether it is suited to a home garden?
Regards
Larousse

Adrian
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:40 pm
Location: Northern Victoria Shepparton Area

Postby Adrian » Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:20 pm

Larousse, your question of a home garden comes down to if you want a garden to have good looks or if you go by Peters ideas (the nieghbours will not be impressed of peters ideas with weeds).
I think with your home garden you maybe best to have a look at permaculture, my best bet would be to use Youtube and search for vids on permaculture.
Natural squence farming and Permaculture are very much alike but with permaculture more into forest gardens by growing alot of your food.
Hope this helps in what you looking for.
Always keep an open mind

duane
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Location: Central Coast, NSW
Contact:

Postby duane » Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:30 pm

Larousse,
the simple answer is YES.

Mulching is a key component of the biology of all soils. Mulching guarantees a number of things:
*protects the soil and its organisms from the heat of the sun
*adds OM to the top Ao layer of soil
*aids in moisture retention eg., 1m3 mulch can hold 5m3 of water
*mulch evetually aids in the increased fertility of the soil
and increases the production of soil organisms and hence soil aeration
*the increased OM aids CEC making minerals available to plants etc etc etc

All of these things are well documented.
What is not well documented is that mulch should contain:
* a biodiverse mix of plants/compost
* a natural N manure is needed to help soil microbes
*plants can grow in mulch providing N and water are available
*mulch can effect changes to pH and Lime potential
* mulch can be spread around in situ and it can be mounded on the top of the hydrology. This way fertility can be spread by water moving downhill and spreading fertility. An example of this would be for the home gardener place you compost at the top of the hydrology or the highest part of your yard, let a hose drip thru the compost. Nature will do the rest.

Mulching and compost teas are key to making soils biologically active. GO FOR IT.
Last edited by duane on Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

ColinJEly
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Location: melbourne

Postby ColinJEly » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:34 pm

I have been using my lawn clippings, amongst other things, as mulch on my garden beds. I have been particularly putting them on the high part of the garden and letting the natural limnology do the rest. Also I bought a small electric shredder. Would have of course prefered a larger petrol powered one, but the little electric one is fine for home garden use.

duane
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Location: Central Coast, NSW
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Postby duane » Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:20 am

I recently put 10m3 of mulch over my small garden, spread at 100mm thick. Two days later we had 25mm of rain and then another 20mm 24hrs later. If my figures are correct that mulch should have captured 5x10m3 of water or 50,000 litres.

Larousse
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:37 pm
Location: Canberra

Postby Larousse » Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:13 pm

Thanks Guys for your worthwhile and constructive feedback.
I have been thinking about mulching the whole of my small home garden for sometime now to commence the fertility cycle off. Will plant a diverse range of plants as I go along.

Regards

PS
All the best for the new year
Larousse

Angela Helleren
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 6:45 am
Location: Victoria

Postby Angela Helleren » Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:46 pm

I've used organic sugar cane mulch on my home veggie gardens this year. It's certainly helped to keep the weeds (cooch) from taking over.
I hadn't bothered growing veggies for the previous two years and the beds looked like raised lawn. The break probably did the soil some good but the truth is I was too lazy to tackle the cooch.

Being at the base of Mt Dandenong, we probably fair better than most with regards to rainfall, but I had to wait for a decent down pour (over several days last October) just to get the fork into the ground. It took me four afternoons to turn the soil. For years we have kept our grass clippings in a mound on the high side of our backyard. I dug into the base of the mound and gathered enough wonderful broken down material to spread over the beds. I planted my seedlings of 8 tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, 2 squash, 5 capsicums, 4 butter beans and 8 lettuce, threw in 4 old sprouted potatoes and covered with the sugar cane mulch.

Nothing else was used and all are doing fine. Hand watering only the base of the plants, all can be done using only 15-18 litres of water.
We have already enjoyed picking lettuce leaves as needed and over the next few weeks will be able to gather the full salad. :lol:

Being a lazy gardener, most of our other plants are natives and due to the strong winds last week they received mulch the natural way from both ours and our neighbours trees. There was a time when I cursed the mess..... now I feel blessed. :D
Many hands make light work.
Unfortunately, too many hands stirring anti clockwise, has spoiled mother natures recipe.
Back to basics.

Larousse
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:37 pm
Location: Canberra

Postby Larousse » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:09 pm

Thanks Angela for your words of inspiration and advice. I have used Sugar Cane mulch for sometime on my vegetable garden and will continue to use same. I plan to mulch the rest of my front and back yard with lucerne to start the cycle off but will grow my own mulch in the coming winter months.
Larousse

Angela Helleren
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Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 6:45 am
Location: Victoria

Postby Angela Helleren » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:50 am

Last week was a sizzler here in Melbourne and my veggies looked rather stressed.
Tomatoe leaves curling inward, cucumber leaves layed out flat on the ground, capsicum leaves were drooped to their sides as if trying to make themselves a small target for the burning sun and hot winds. So I decided to fill a lot of small containers of water (ie. tupperware hamberburger maker moulds, takeaway containers, divided microwave containers) to make individual iceblocks for my veggies to tide them over the hottest past of the day. I placed the blocks under the mulch at the base of each plant.
You might say, a drip system for those of us who don't have a drip system. :D
To counter the hot winds, I dragged my kids old trampoline across and layed it on it's side to protect the most vunerable veggies. Fingers crossed, they have all managed to survive, my salad plate has added 4 ripe cucumbers, butter beans, squash and my freezer is ready for whatever this weeks weather throws at us. :wink:
Many hands make light work.

Unfortunately, too many hands stirring anti clockwise, has spoiled mother natures recipe.

Back to basics.

Shirley Henderson
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 4:03 pm
Location: Thirlmere

drip irrigation

Postby Shirley Henderson » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:08 am

Hi Angela, another good idea for drip irrigation is plastic drink bottles laid on their sides with 3 pin holes spaced a few centimetres apart. They slowly drip into the soil. Takes practise to get the hole size right to speed up or low down the dripping.
Also I saw a small property who planted some young trees put out 25 litre drums (beside the new trees) with taps on the drip.
Shirley

Joe
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Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:25 am
Location: Roma

Postby Joe » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:21 pm

In chapter 18, Mulch and Other Matters, Peter suggests that around 15 tonnes of mulch per acre is needed to start mulch farming. He then goes on to suggest that other uses be found for the mulch once the land is producing over 45 tonnes per acre.

These figures sound extremely high to me and I am wondering if they can be confirmed as correct, or if they should read 1.5 and 4.5 tonnes?

duane
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Postby duane » Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:32 am

Hi Joe

Welcome to the nsf forum.

Peter's figures are right and could be even light on.

If my calcs are correct there are 4000m2 to the acre.

1m3 mulch if spread at 100mm (or 4" in the old imperial) would only cover 10m2. So 15 m3 would cover 150m2.

If 45 tonne mulch was roughly equivalent to 45 m3 (and its probably more) then this would be a minimum coverage of mulch that would be required.

Joe
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:25 am
Location: Roma

Postby Joe » Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:44 pm

Thanks Duane,

I've just been down the paddock with a set of shears and a quadrat.

On a mini flood plain, where I had planted silk sorghum and Rhodes grass, I have 17.8 tonnes / acre.

Further down, where I haven't planted anything, there is 8.9 tonnes / acre. I was pretty thrilled to find this much organic matter, however I need much more. This is only in small areas of mini flood plains. The ridges are much, much lighter than this.

There are hardly any weeds. It is mainly Forest Blue, White Spear and Kangaroo Grass. There are a couple of Scotch Thistles, but hardly any.

Will just slashing mature growth in this area be enough to increase mulch production, or is there something else I should be doing?

strawberry lover
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:58 pm
Location: sydney

Re: Veggie gardens

Postby strawberry lover » Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:09 pm

I was just wondering,
when building a veggie garden is it better to dig into the ground and have a frame or just to build ontop of the ground.
Steph

Shirley Henderson
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 4:03 pm
Location: Thirlmere

Re: Mulching Gardens

Postby Shirley Henderson » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:33 pm

HI Steph, either way. Organic matter added to your soil holds more water, living organisms and life in general. All this adds to the health of your soil. If the soil is hard and compacted and you dont want to dig then adding on top is easier. If the soil is healthy and not too hard there is no need to raise the bed. Raised beds do create good drainage. All things have a reason to do them. Check out the gardening Australia website too.
kind regards
Shirley


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