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May 24, 2016 Comments (4) General Gardening, Podcast

Magnificent Mulch – Episode 004

Maritime Gardening Podcast Episode 4

Because mulching is so central to the practice of permaculture, I thought it would make sense here to talk about how mulch can benefit your garden; what kinds are available (as well as their advantages/disdvantages); and also about weed control. Listen to this episode as we cover all of the following points:

Conventional vs Permaculture Gardening

Conventional gardening
– no mulch
– annual tilling
– constant watering
– perpetual weeding
– compacted soil
– fertilizer applications
– variable yields

Permaculture Gardening
– mulch
– no tilling
– constant moisture
– weeds greatly reduced
– no compaction
– perpetual self-fertilization
– high yields
mycorrhiza in soil (beneficial fungus, helps plants grow)

Sources of Mulch

– straw
– hay
– tubground mulch
– woodchips
– grass clippings
– weeds
– leaves
– rocks
– don’t till it in!!!
– best sources are those that have the basic components in them to break down and become excellent soil – good carbon/nitrogen mix

Weed control

– landscaping fabric
– paper
– cardboard
– underlay rolls
– mulch
– weed tea

Permaculture all about constantly reflecting on what you’re doing, being aware of what’s happening around you, and trying to turn problems into solutions.

4 Responses to Magnificent Mulch – Episode 004

  1. How does seeweed work for mulch? I’m worried about the salt content but I also use the seeweed for banking the house so maybe the salt gets rinced out?

    • Greg Auton says:

      Hi George: I have never used seaweed as a mulch because I’ve always had other resources a little closer to home. With that having been said, everything I’ve read seems to suggest that it is an extraordinary mulch. With regard to salt, I would imagine that, unless you are fishing it straight out of the sea, then a good deal of the salt gets washed off by rain, mist, etc. when it is sitting on the shore above the high tide mark. Still, if you have any concerns about salt, just let it sit somewhere in the rain for a day or so, then put it on your garden. I have heard from many people that seaweed is a great soil amendment. Perhaps this year I’ll try laying it on a few of the beds in my garden, I’m always up for something new!

      I’ve added a couple links below where different people are speaking to the merits of using seaweed as a mulch in case you are interested.

  2. Rozanna says:

    Hi Greg.

    How wonderfull that i can listen to this while gardening.

    I’m working my way up to where your now so I have about 50 more to go.

    You thought me to combine every easy logical way of gardening so it soars my back my knees and saves time… without having to go TOTAL foodforrest hippy permaculture style (such I’m doing with a volenteer group anyway lol )

    I have chronic pain in my lower back and a serious chronic mental health problem…
    But because of you and what you I inspire I can start to provide for my fam.

    I started an allotment this jan.
    And with your help I chose the one with good sun, ( not the best but this plot has many more pros them the one shut only full sun.. )great soil and with the prospect to rent another 5meter x 13 meter right next to my plot.

    I’m busy breaking pallets to make 4 or 6 inch high raised beds (5 small ones 4×4 feet and 10 bigger ones that are 4×8 feet. )
    Also make borders around the northern southern and western edges. (East had a big hedge and house bloking the sun so thats where i make my compost station shed and seating area.
    You helped me inmensly with advise and Inspiration. I wanted to say thank you for that.

    but about mulch. I can get coffee chaf. And leaves…next fall (and mabey of I go to the woods I can still get leaves of I’m able to carry the damp mulch ) amd some grass clippings… but not as abundant and no staw hay or seaweed. I do get about 10 gallons of coffee grounds each week and 4 trashbags of sawdust . (For my paths and my compost pile)
    Can u use coffee grounds mixed with sawdust as a mulch ? If im carfull not to digg it in ?

    Kind regards rose

    • Greg Auton says:

      Hi Rose – wow that’s all so nice to hear, I’m so glad I could help in some small way. Regarding the sawdust/coffee blend – I thin that would work fine. I’ve never tried that before, but the sawdust has the carbon, and the coffee has the nitrogen, so I think its a good mix. Try different ratios to see what works best and let me know how it all works out I’m very interested! – g.a.

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