Mulching The Garden (Permanently?)

My father-in-law was looking to get rid of some extra straw bales, so I took them off his hands and used them to mulch the garden for the winter. Most of the garden was still bare and starting to really dry out (we’re dangerously close to entering into drought levels) and that’s no shape to leave the soil in during the winter months. Not to mention that I’ve been looking for a good way to mulch the garden permanently moving forward.

Coincidently, I’m also currently reading No-Work Garden Book by Ruth Stout which outlines a continuous, heavy mulch method to keep weeds at bay and soil in healthy order.

As I’ve read through the beginning chapters of the book, I’ve thought about our specific context here at the homestead and realized that the one thing we have an abundance of around here is pasture grass (and therefore hay). And now that I have an inaugural layer of mulch down on the garden beds, I may take the next few years and give the continuous mulch process a try.

Obviously, it will take a few years to allow the system to get up to full speed, but with two multi-acre hay pastures currently sitting idle, it’s worth seriously considering as a way to reduce or eliminate my current practice of tilling the beds. While we had good yields this year with tilling the soil, I’ve always had a long-term goal of moving to a no-till method. Again, considering our specific context, I think it’s worth a deeper look.

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3 thoughts on “Mulching The Garden (Permanently?)

  1. Wood chips replenished annually work like permanent mulch, or like a cruddy patio; but hey, they are free. The problem is that they can annoy trees that are rooted into the area.

    1. Interesting that you say that…I was planning on heading to the city mulch site and hauling a pickup load of wood chips back to use as a mulch just as you mentioned. I put it on hold after the straw came available. Still may do it in the future though because of its resistance to being blown away in the higher winds that we sometimes get.

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