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 Post subject: Mulch for garden
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:25 pm 
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I seem to have quite a few weeds coming up in my garden, especially the asparagus bed. What would be a good mulch to help prevent these weeds from returning? I have on hand: compost (decomposed wood chips), wood chips and shredded leaves. Would any of these be good? Also have some unfinished compost but think that would have too many active seeds...

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Mulch for garden
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:09 pm
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Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
Weeds are a part of gardening. And since the garden has exposed soil and adequate watering, the weeds will always compete with the garden plants. I spend time each week pulling weeds, I hit the edge and broader open areas in the garden (and paths) with the weed-whacker, and use a strong 10-20% vinegar to hit just weeds (don't let it splash or drift onto crops or it will harm that foliage also - a heavy piece of cardboard in one hand and the sprayer in the other will help you direct herbicidal vinegar).

That said, there are places where I've kept out weeds for a while with a layered approach - pull out or trim down the weeds in a given area, spray it with vinegar (and I've been testing Avenger, a mix of orange oil and vinegar - the jury is still out), then put down a layer of newspaper pages (a section of 6-8 pages minimum) topped with a couple of inches of compost. I've also heard Howard describe putting down compost, then newspaper, then more compost. The goal is to smother/remove light from weeds and build your garden soil at the same time.

Every year I put compost around the base of my asparagus plants (I cut them all down last week so I'll add some compost to add nutrients for the next crop that is probably already coming up). I tend to hand-weed around the asparagus because I don't want to disturb the root system with garden tools. Once the asparagus has a full top, it should shade out most weeds, that has been my experience.

I hope this helps!

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 Post subject: Re: Mulch for garden
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:50 pm 
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Unfortunately the deer discovered the asparagus this year. I thought some sort of bug might be eating it but actually saw the deer nibbling on them. The tops are gone but still have some fern like foliage left since I put several rows of string around my small asparagus plot (about 4' x 10'). I have since put out deer repellent. Do you think the asparagus will have enough energy to produce next year? Did not get much this year even though the plants are at least 7 years old. The year before I had a really good crop - enough for the two of us about every other day for weeks.

I have put compost, green sand and lava sand around the bases of the asparagus and the few other plants. (Working on making much more compost for next spring.) Should I put anything else on there like shredded native wood or shredded leaves?

Thanks from SW Arkansas.


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 Post subject: Re: Mulch for garden
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:05 am 
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Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
Sounds like you're headed in the right direction. If you can keep the deer out, you should get more fronds this year (though you might want to let them grow, not pick the young stalks, to give energy back to the root system). They would grow back if you'd cut them down, but if the deer kept nibbling away the stalks it might mean the roots are out of energy to keep regrowing.

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 Post subject: Re: Mulch for garden
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:26 am 
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Sorry, I have not looked at this forum in awhile.
I have started 6 asparagus beds at 6 different homes in the last 35 years! I always apply a heavy layer of anything available after I finish picking spears and allow them to grow at least 1 foot tall.
I have used grass clippings, leaves, bark mulch, compost, all worked well. Keep it thick to discourage weeds. Once the ferns get thick, they help reduce the weeds too due to shading.


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 Post subject: Re: Mulch for garden
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:43 pm 
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Location: Dallas, TEXAS
How much mulch are you using? It also depends upon whether or not it is fine or bigger pieces. For weed block, I would suggest no less than 3-4 inches of fairly fine mulch. You will need to keep adding it as the fine mulch will break down faster. This is great for the soil! If you wish to not replace it/add to it so often, get a larger cut mulch or use hardwood mulch. www.soilbuildingsystems.com is a great website and they have recommendations for various needs.


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