366 Days of Gardening!
Episode 3 – Week 4
A Strulching We Shall Go!
Well, finally the rains stopped briefly yesterday and today and according to the weather centre – this coming week is going to be quite dry, which if true will be a blessing as the garden really needs to be able to wring out a bit.
Today my two jobs were – finish off Turn 7 – the next Turn in the compost is obviously 8, but it is a Sieve Turn and so l need all the Turns before that achieved for maximum break down of the content and the second job was to lay out the Strulch mulch in the ornamental ‘flower’ beds.
If the weather does hold and the sun is here for most of this next week if not all, then l can finally get all the little bite sized jobs completed and that will be awesome saucesome!
The compost is really looking good, each week l have been turning the three bins alternating from left to right and vice versa and each week the content has been breaking down really beautifully. Each turn adding new liquid feed and shredded paper and of course my potent weed/compost tea and additionally some of the compost tea content as well.
A great looking tea – but NOT a drop to drink!
Regulars to the series will know that a few months ago l established this new weed bin to break down the fronds from the palm trees and the awkward weeds – then topping it up weekly with rainwater and urine and mixing it – this is the end result. The soiled content from this bin is then added to the compost in its declining and degrading state to break down for good and add further nutrients to the compost itself.
Yesterday l had a small window of opportunity and some sun before it started raining hard again, but it was long enough to get the two beds emptied out and resited into the new location ready for a soil refill. The soil content from the beds was transferred into the compost bins to sit for a week or so to renutritionalise it ready for the beds refill next week sometime.
So that’s a job out of the way. I need to order a few new bags of soils just to top these beds up a bit, with the amount of rain we have had this winter, the soils have leeched out of the beds and drained into the pebbles – this is soil that can never be reclaimed, so new content must be purchased to support the compost. Both raised beds prior to being filled initially were awarded matted protection, and considering that these beds were made up in 2017 that matting lasted well. I removed the matting from one of the beds as we only needed the bottom of a double to not be exposed to the pebbles.
Little Wooden boxes new rhubarb growers.
However, now l have all three of the 48″ x 36″ x16″ in the same sunny catchment area. The space l have created in the shaded area will have plants there that do not need a minimum of 8 hours sun a day and l think what Suze has plans for is to resite our rhubarb plant [split root] into the new smaller wooden boxes and resited there.
The Strulch mulch arrived Friday – all 25 bags of it and Suze and l moved it from the front of the house to the back on the patio – got to laugh at the wonders of shrink wrap! Once you have unwrapped it, you can never get it quite the same size ever again! But we moved it, despite me having a stomach problem and it raining heavily to boot!
But we started the ‘Strulching at 11am this morning’, just after l finished Turn 7, and we were finished by just before 1pm, so not a bad job l say.
To those who wonder do l ‘only’ just take photos of Suze gardening …. no of course not ha ha, but Suze mostly forgets to bring her phone with her. But l promised Suze this time that l would not take photos of her bottom and display to the world, so this time l opted for an arty shot of her ‘handballing’ the mulch.
However we have managed to get all the ornamental beds covered completely – the centre mound, out back, the prime soil bed, the shed bed – all of them are now mulched by and with Strulch. Of the 25 bags l bought, 17 have been used in this first stretch. Once a few days has passed and the first mulching settled – l will slice open a couple of bags and fill in the gaps, then move the remainder out back ready for use later in the year.
There are a lot of benefits to organically mulching a garden …
- Mulch helps to retain mositure to a garden and therefore reduces watering times.
- Mulch helps to control, prevent new growth and suppress weeds.
- Mulch can help with the adding and slow release of nutients to the soil.
- Mulch can assist in increasing surface activity and help earthworm cultures, which in turn motivates microbiolological activity.
- Mulch can help keep the soils cool in the summer months and warmer and protected in the coller winter months, therefore acting as a fabulous regulator of temperatures.
- Mulch can help enrich the soil as the content decomposes.
- Mulch can add and aid the aesthetics to a garden.
- Mulch can protect seedlings and encourage plant and root growth.
- Mulch saves you time as well. [No weeding and over watering]
- Mulch layers prevent further leeching of nutrients from the soils during rain.
- Mulch during the winter/cooler months can protect plants against frost damage.
- Mulch encourages a more controlled drainage for soils and plants alike.
- Mulch can enrich the wildlife activity in your garden.
So all in all, mulching the garden is an investment for gardeners and in the long run will aid them and their plants enormously.
The reason l opted for Strulch over wood chips was because of the additional benefits …
- Occasionally with wood chips even organic chips, you can inherit ‘mites’ to your grounds – this and these l didn’t need.
- It was l think a friendlier and more gentle organic approach to mulching.
- It had an additional slug and snail deterrent in the content itself which is mineral based and with the snail problem especially l encounter here, anything that can help to reduce that is worth investigating.
- It can be used effectively on all plants – fruits, vegetables, shrubs, herbs and flowers.
- It will leech slowly into the soil as it decomposes and nuture the fertility levels of the beds here which have suffered for a few years, [long before we arrived].
- Strulch is extremely lightweight and versatile.
- The reviews from top gardeners was impressive.
Finally, we got the job done … not many bags left now, but enough for the rest of the season as well as inclusion on the beds and in the containers. Have you mulched your gardens or vegetable beds yet? What mulch have you found the best luck with?
Looking forwards to the ‘promised’ sun by the weather centre ….
… that’s not a flying pig, is it?
Anyway, thanks for reading – catch you next episode….