It’s a new year in the garden, boys and girls, and you know what that means?
*cue rising hysterical laughter here*
That’s right, it’s mulchin’ time! I had successfully finished off Mt. Mulch II by putting down a layer on the sideyard that will hopefully cook down until fall. (The permaculture workshop I attended last year suggested that if you’ve got an area where you know you want to plant, but aren’t going to get to it right away, put down mulch over it to help get the soil wetter and more pliable and wormy. This is particularly vital on our deathly clay soil.) It’ll be a mostly-shady bed, and I hold out hope for some solid fern-on-fern action, but the soil is currently hard packed clay. So, mulch!
I ordered a mere 5 cubic yards. This is great restraint by my standards. However, I’m kinda running out of new space for flowerbeds. There’s one big one left to put in the back, when I finish laying the patio, and then everything has been bed-ified.
Welll….I mean, I could expand the vegetable bed a smidge…no! Need to leave that project for fall! Otherwise fall will see me twitchy and restless and starting in on the wooded areas, which could totally be woodland garden space, and…well…I was kinda saving that for the bit where I go stark raving mad NEXT year.
Mt. Mulch III arrived today, accompanied by a smaller load of mushroom compost. I had noticed that they were selling it last year, and as we have moved waaaaay beyond “get a few bags of cow manure from the farmer who does our meat CSA” I’ve been looking for a bulk soil amendment. I went to the internet to do research into the world of mushroom compost.
After about an hour, I thought, as many have before me, that the internet would be really awesome if it wasn’t for all the damn people on it, and left the internet. The discussion seemed split between “This is the best thing ever created by human hands” and “This is useless and probably bad,” plus the obligatory “This will kill you and everything you love,” which I dismissed out of hand, since, y’know, internet.
I did what we all do in times of dismay—I called my mother.
“Oh, that stuff is awesome,” she said. “We got some one year and the garden was incredible.”
Good enough for me. As my mother has not, to my knowledge, mutated, exploded, or turned into a large Kafka-esque insect, I’ll give it a try and see how well it works. About the worst that happens is that I add some more organic matter to my poor wretched soil, really—even if it doesn’t get BETTER, the soil can’t get any worse unless I sink spent uranium fuel rods into it. We live in such a wet climate that the build-up of salts is unlikely to be an issue. So I’ll top-dress most of the beds with an inch of the stuff and see what happens. (The prairie planting is exempt, as we do not fertilize those, lest they become floppy and sad.)
For science! And mulch!