Carbon-rich mulch as a soil amendment (for organic matter)?
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Author:  beachstone [ Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Carbon-rich mulch as a soil amendment (for organic matter)?

So I bought the book, Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening, and it's exactly what I was looking for. Simple, clear, straight to the point. A real how-to. Very practical and very specific. Love it. Other books are filled with theory and deep scientific matters that go completely over my head. I mean I just want to grow some tomatoes, not earn a PHD in Chemistry, you know what I mean?

Now I was wondering, I saw that native tree trimmings was marked as a very good mulch. I think I recall Malcolm Beck talking about them in his book Lessons on Nature, something about animals eating the ends of branches and that were was some sort of good protein or something in there for them, and this in turn is good for the soil as well. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, my wonderful city I found out, on their website, will drop off 15 yards of this free mulch. That seems like a bit much, and more than I need. So it got me thinking and I had just read this article here: http://smallfarmersjournal.com/follow-up-on-phosphorus/

I'm in Central Florida, and the soil is basically pure beach sand. I feel like I'm on the beach here, and even got my little Ford Ranger stuck in the soil/sand here, heh.

Could I use all of that mulch as a source of Organic Matter (OM) to add to the beach I've got going on (pure sand), as a good soil amendment? As opposed or in addition to manure/compost/cover crops?

Author:  northwesterner [ Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Carbon-rich mulch as a soil amendment (for organic matter)?

Mulch will be part of that soil next year if you use it as a top dressing this year. The term "mulch" is a noun and a verb - the material is mulch, and what you do with it to mulch is to top off around plantings to keep the moisture in so you don't have to water so much, and to keep weeds down. I would suggest getting compost and other suitable amendments to mix into the soil before putting mulch on top.

Author:  beachstone [ Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Carbon-rich mulch as a soil amendment (for organic matter)?

I guess my question really as, can I use mulch as a cheap soil filler/to add organic matter to the soil. As in tilling the mulch into the soil as if it were rich compost, instead of just using it as a mulch on top.

Like adding sawdust to flour in making bread in times of famine. Makes the stomach feel full, even through you're nutritionally starving and wasting away.

I guess the question more is, what percentage would be alright. 90% compost, 10% cheap filler, or 50% cheap mulch filler maybe. For instance in hydroponics and well, heh, chemical farming, they grow in completely neutral, empty growing compounds, and all of the nutrients are added chemically and in liquid form. I guess a lot of if not the majority of chemical farmers have very little organic matter in their soil, which calls for the use of so much more irrigation and chemical fertilizer.

Author:  northwesterner [ Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Carbon-rich mulch as a soil amendment (for organic matter)?

I know what you're saying, but I'd still use it on top. You can experiment in part of the garden, try a couple of different mixtures in areas you keep track of and see what happens, but it will make it into the soil when it's ready if you use it for mulch now and let it break down on top naturally.

Author:  beachstone [ Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Carbon-rich mulch as a soil amendment (for organic matter)?

And experiment I will! Only reason I ask is that my wonderful city drops off free 15 yard loads of native tree trimming mulch and I don't know what I'd do with it all. Maybe I should ask them if I could only have a little. Man that's a lot of free mulch! And in Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening, shredded native tree trimmings is rated an A in terms of mulch! And it's free!

Author:  northwesterner [ Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Carbon-rich mulch as a soil amendment (for organic matter)?

If you have space to compost it then you can use it in the soil next year.

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