Saturday, June 4, 2011

real gardeners mulch


After all that preparation and hard work, I was a little worried about the weeds getting from the pathway into the garden beds and the excessive rain turning my work into a big, soupy mess of mud. Mulching the pathways with straw seemed like a good, inexpensive idea.

I scoured freecycle (if you aren't a member, you should really join right this minute and start freecycling with all the cool kids!) and craigslist for seed-free straw. I'd read about being cautious that your straw had no seeds. I found bales for $5 each from someone who'd had a few too many delivered for their garden. I liked the chance to peek at someone else's garden. I bought two bales. 

I felt like I really knew what I was doing. I've had lots of stuff in the back of my car but never straw. I even wore braids in my hair specifically for the occasion! I'm determined to be a successful urban farmer... but, that makes me really want chickens. I'll save that for another post.

Back to the mulching... it took an hour and the help of Lauren to spread it around the beds. Supposedly, one is to lay 5-6 layers of newspaper down, wet it with the hose, THEN spread the straw. But, I was determined to do it right the very minute we got home with the straw. I scrounged up 3 Willamette Week Papers from the recycle bin.

And, this is now the confession that I don't read the real newspaper. I read WW often but mostly to find out what music is coming to town. Newspapers are tedious and depressing. I get my news online via twitter. Don't laugh. 

Anyway, I didn't have enough to layer with all the straw. So, I used the WWs for the most important areas in between the first couple of beds. Then, when I ran out of papers, I kept on spreading sans papers. And, today, I was SO wishing I'd done it the right way. Trial and Error learning seems to be my particular way.

Now, I am not sure if I should move all the straw, pull up the weeds, layer papers, then replace the straw. OR Just add a layer of papers on top of the straw already there, then find more straw and layer it on top. To be continued...

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