Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gardening Mulch

IMG_2790I have been looking for mulch that will not blow away for years and think I finally found what I have been looking for.  A local flower/veg. grower has been selling a mulch that I think will be perfect for the windy conditions we have here in Nebraska and especially here on our farm.  I have tried all kinds of bark and shredded wood and they all blow out of the flower beds and are a mess to clean up.  I don’t want to use rock as it is hard to move, gets hot with our high temperatures in the summer and is not the best choice around plants.

This “new” at least new to me mulch is a soybean mulch.  What is soybean mulch you might ask?  Well the greenhouse owner’s husband is a farmer and he windrows the stocks, leaves and shells from the soybeans that come out of the back of the combine as he harvests his soybean crop.  It normally just falls to the ground to decay where it lays.  Windrowing is getting the this debris gathered together in long rows so it can be baled.  This farmer and his wife take the baled soybean "stuff" and they chop it up and they sell it bagged or by bulk pickup loads.

I had gone to the business with a friend of mine to get some flowers and she was going to get a couple bags of the mulch and told me her daughter had used it last year and they too live where it is not protected and her mulch didn’t blow all last summer and last winter with the blizzards.  I bought a couple of bags to try and put them around a tree in our yard about a month ago and we have had some high windy days and it didn’t move, didn’t get any stems blowing across the lawn so that sold me.
I  bought two pickup loads worth  and brought it back on a dump trailer and so the last few days I have been taking that pile of mulch and getting it spread around our trees and in my flower beds.  Of course this should have been done a couple of months ago while everything is just emerging from the winter as it is more difficult  now to get it around the plants and not on the plants since everything is so tall.
It is tiring scooping it into my wheelbarrow and spreading it out, but Oh…it looks so good.  It is a little fluffy looking now but it does flatten out with time.  It will let moisture through and did I mention…. IT DOES NOT BLOW AROUND!
John and a friend were looking at it and discussing how they could do it next year if we wanted more mulch as we just let it lay in the fields now. The cattle munch on it some but don't eat it too well as it is a little prickly for their tastes even though they relish the actual soybeans left in the field.  The big problem was how to chop it as we don’t have a hay bale chopper but they decided a silage cutter would do the chopping too so I may not have to buy it again. 

Probably the best benefit of putting this mulch around everything is the physical work out I am getting on my ankle and shoulder.  Lifting and reaching is good for my shoulder and all that squatting and bending is making my ankle feel so much better so maybe I have found a new physical therapy exercise I should share with the therapist I went to for months with my ankle.

Still have part of the pile left so the next few days will be filled with more mulching until I use it up.   John helped me a little the first day but he is busy doing farm work so it is up to me to get it spread out.  Besides I am enjoying working in my flower beds this summer since I had to "let" John do it last year since I was in a cast a large part of the summer.  I did take today off to go to a guild workshop and enjoyed the day of sewing.  Will share what we did on another post as soon as I have a chance to size my photos.

PS...just noticed the close up photo I posted is sure not very pretty as the Gerber Daisy's were looking a little peaked for some reason.

1 comment:

Nicky said...

I have always loved the story when Tom Sawyer gets his friends to pay to whitewash his aunts fence - here is your opportunity to sell on your new therapy....Grin!

Mulch is the absolutely the best thing for plants!


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