Archives for posts with tag: Mulch

The garden is pretty much ready to go. Ready for me to go on vacation, that is.

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All plants are planted out. The seeds are sown. The crop circles have gotten their first big weeding. Most of the mulch is in place. And it has rained quite a bit the last 2 days.

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Even the stone work is nearly high enough to start on the arch for the opening when I get back.

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Now I’m off to northern Sweden for about 10 days of hiking, camping and visiting.

The autumn leaves have fallen.

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The whole family (almost) is now raking them up.

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We rake up all the leaves we can to put on the compost and to use as weed smothering mulch and worm food. They are a very valuable resource. The more the better.

We have maple, oak, birch, lilac, pear, apple, plum and cherry trees that contribute. It usually takes weeks to rake them all up, often not done until spring. Today, with all the help, we got more than half the work done already.

The main path and central swirls are mulched after the first thorough microweeding.

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Flax straw is my favorite mulch material. Grass cuttings are better as a fertilizer, but flax stays dry, is nice to walk and crawl on and lasts much longer. It is stiff and scratchy – very stimulating to the bare feet. Worms like it too. At the end of the year I can rake it up and save it for the next season.

Now I can crawl to work, if need be, on a soft dry linen mat.

The neighbor boy cut the grass the other day. We raked up a few of the strings of grass cuttings to put over the rows of carrots and parsnips.

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Carrots and parsnips take so long to germinate and get going. Often the beds dry out in the mean time. The wind has been so strong and steady that my watering amounts to almost nil. Even the mulch drys up and blows off. Hopefully it will rain tomorrow as predicted – or the air calm down a bit.

After siesta I raked up a bit more of the dry grass cuttings in the stiff breeze, covered the rest of the carrot rows and wetted it down to keep it in place.

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One thing about mulch is, it seems I can never get enough of the good kind. Grass cuttings are the best, but we don’t have a grass catcher for the mower and nobody has the time or ork to rake up enough.

The worst thing is that there are millions of dandelions flowering this time of year, and I don’t want to spread more dandelion seeds than necessary in the crop circles, so I rake selectively.

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Farmer Eriksson brought a load of manure this morning.

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Along with a small roll of flax straw. The cow manure is already aged a bit, and Fr. Eriksson says the wild boar have been aerating it too. It will be layered into this years new compost piles.

The flax straw will be used for mulching, but I’ll need much more before the growing season is done. I prefer flax straw for mulching, especcially for the walkways and between the raised beds. It decays slowly, stays dry in wet weather and matts nicely for walking and crawling on. If gathered in the fall, it can be used for 2 or 3 years. I haven’t been able to find much info about the ‘nutritional value’ for the soil, but it’s been working great for me for years. The earthworms like it too.

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We have a lot of grass that gets cut nearly once a week. I should use more of the grass clippings as mulch. Tests have shown that mulching grass clippings is one of the absolute best ways to fertilize a vegetable garden. The problem is that the mower minces the grass so much that it sinks into the cut grass and fertilizes it. This is good too, however, sometimes the mower leaves strings of clippings which, if I have time, I could rake up and use as mulch. Usually I don’t have time, but this time I did.

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I never seem to get enough either. Sometimes my arms and back give out, and there are many other distractions to keep me from doing it. This time I did get enough to cover the ground under all the maize plants.

Mulching is good for fertilizing, keeping the weeds under controll and nice to cover the pathways with for easy walking when the clay is wet. It protects the ground from drying out in hot spells and feeds the earth worms too.

I never take grass clippings in the spring when they are needed most, because that’s when the dandelions are in bloom producing a myriad of seeds. I have enough trouble with them already. Instead I get bales of straw to at least cover the pathways. My favorit mulch is flax straw because it breaks down more slowly and doesn’t get soggy in wet periods. It’s hard to get tho.