Time to Add Mulch to the Garden

Despite the gloomy prediction by phil the groundhog, I’m planning for spring to be here soon! One way to begin to prepare is to locate a good source of mulch! Here are a few tips for selecting the best mulch for your purposes:

Purchase in bulk from a commercial landscape materials dealer.

Picture of pick up loaded with organic shredded wood mulch

Organic Mulch in Bulk

The greenest way (most earth-friendly) way to buy organic mulch (shredded wood or bark chips) is in bulk — without the plastic bags that are often disposed in the landfill. Buying in bulk is also much less expensive than purchasing the bags. Some individuals dislike the fact that organic mulch breaks down over time, but over time, it adds valuable organic material to loosen the soil and provides pockets for oxygen to be available for roots — critical for good root development. We purchase at least one pick-up load pre-spring and again pre-Fall — both good times to spruce up the appearance of the garden, as well as provide “in progress” compost.

Load mulch into the wheelbarrow and deliver to garden beds as needed (great arm-strengthening activity that also burns the calories — and the process is awesome for relaxing the mind).

Adding about 2 inches of mulch before weeds begin to sprout is a great way to limit what will sprout — making the spring weeding just a bit less taxing!

Work several days, as time permits! (Slow and steady wins the race!)

Whatever is not used can be unloaded into a pile (drive the pickup to the location) and then loaded into the wheelbarrow later, as gardening time becomes available. My schedule leaves me unable to garden from Sunday evening through Thursday afternoon, so I work just a bit each day and the results add up! It may take 2 or 3 weeks to completely distribute the bulk mulch, so get started in late December to Early January (Zone 8b)—that’s when I begin!

Happy Mulching!


How to Prepare Compost from Trimmed Tree Materials

Trimmed Branches of Live Oak

Trimmed Branches of Live Oak, Jan 2014

Composting plant materials is one of the best sources for Spring garden nutrition and soil amendment. After trimming dead and unruly branches from trees in winter, use that material for compost to revive Spring gardens. The Photo (left) shows the cut branches of live oak, ready for the shredding process.

This post briefly describes composting and how to use the trimmed tree and shrub material for a Spring garden that will reward the efforts! Before trimming trees and/or shrubs, always consult a tree expert for advice—and possibly for the trimming service. (You’ll do the trees a favor and potentially save yourself a bit of grief.) Continue reading

Fresh Mulch on the Onions — Check!

Freshly Mulched Onions, Mar. 22, 2014

Freshly Mulched Onions, Mar. 22, 2014

Over the weekend, weeds were removed from among the onions and mulch was added. Despite several days of well below freezing temperatures over the past four weeks, these onions look pretty healthy above ground!

Onions generally need 100 to 120 days from planting to harvesting. These were planted from seed onions on February 1, 2014 (read blog post).  We’ll start watching for signs of maturity for harvesting in Mid-May.

Onions are ready to harvest when the base of the green stalk bends and the thin green leaves are lying on the ground (pictures of maturity for harvest will be provided in an updated post at harvesting).