Mulch/ sugarcane mulch

A Forum for discussion of ideas and techniques for gardening practices that encourage biodiversity and minimise the adverse impact on the environment through such things as reduced water use, organic pest control and wildlife friendly practices.
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Postby The Estate » Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:02 pm

LOL at Kalex, yes I saw a few birds at work the other week picking up some nylon thread. :P
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Postby bubba louie » Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:42 pm

I don't really mind if it doesn't last long because then you know it's decomposing and building soil. :)
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Postby RedPhin » Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:52 pm

Here's what I've experienced over the last year:

Pea Straw
> Coverage:
Great - stays where it's put and the plants thrive beneath it.
> By Crop:
about one sprout per square metre. Found most of mine to be pink sweet peas or green peas. Pretty and good for the soil, so I just let them go. My wife liked a few flowers in the vegies, so a bit of a hit there too.
>Longetivity:
Pretty bad - tended to mulch down after about 3 or 4 months and then hello weeds (which were loving all that nitrogen)
>Cost:
Horrendous - I was paying $20 plus a bale and that was covering about 3 square M. Great for a small garden, but not worth it for me.


Lucerne
>Coverage:
The cut chaff covered about 4.5 metres a bag, so not bad. My pick for this season, but am going to buy bales from a local farm.
>By Crop:
average. Got a big ol' lucerne weed about 2 per square metre. Easy to pull out though
>Longetivity:
Brilliant. Bottom layer mulched well and the top stayed solid. Dug in well this spring and the soil looked great and healthy for it's addition. Moisture retention fantastic.
>Cost:
Pretty good - got a guy to deliver bags of cut lucerne chaff at 18 bucks a pop. Bales sold locally from farm gates at $6 or $7 each


Sugar Cane
>Coverage:
Excellent. 3x20 litre bales did my new orchard.
>By Crop:
Zero
>Longetivity:
Really, really bad for anything exposed. At the first sign of wind, the whole lot on higher ground ended up over the other side of the garden. Would only recommend at absolute ground level.
>Cost:
Cheapest for it's size at B*****gs, Pretty good.

Coconut

Haven't tried it yet - saw it in the nursery the other day - the kind you mix up with water in the wheelie bin and get 30 litres out of a little package. Anyone got anything bad/good to say about it?
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Postby The Estate » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:01 pm

I know Im changing the subject, :oops: I 've got my 2 cubis metres of mulch delivered tomorrow, half mushy and hald eucy. arriving tomorrow, in a skip bin from work, empty and fill with rubbish :P
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Postby Bertha » Sun Sep 17, 2006 7:59 am

I prefer hay which i can get for $3:50 a bale


:cry: "sob" :cry:
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Postby Sam » Sun Sep 17, 2006 5:24 pm

We have used the compressed 'peat/coir' blocks - adding one 'uncompressed' to a bag of potting mix. Works quite well for potting and makes the mix go a little further.

Have also tried the large blocks as mulch for the rose garden. At the time, lucerne was very expensive so they looked like a good alternative. They have worked well, but were very expensive. The area that is suggested for coverage is not nearly as much as stated - a small garden (9 roses plus bulbs) took about 7 blocks.

Just asked Brian how big the area is, he has taken out the tape measure so I can say for sure! Isn't he wonderful (see previous threads about wonderful husband!

[Drum roll, please] Area is approx 8 - 9 sq metres.
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Postby aquarium » Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:03 am

you can get coir in bulk at bulk prices btw. it's now being used extensively to dress playing fields etc. also used to slow erosion on slopes.
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Postby Comeilotei » Fri Oct 20, 2006 11:11 pm

Been reading with great interest all this useful info on mulch. I normally use lucern mulch. I ordered a few bales today but the supplier said that they are finding it difficult to source lucern at the moment b'coz of the drought. They had pea straw, so I got them. Would be interesting to compare pea straw and lucern.

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Postby gardenaholic » Sat Oct 21, 2006 12:36 am

I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned my two favorite mulches which are free, pine needles and seaweed. I put the collected pine needles into my duck yard for bedding and then use on my garden beds especially around all my brambles and raspberries. The seaweed is collected from the local beach with permission and it goes on all my fruit trees unwashed and have never had a problem with either. The strawberries also get a mulching with pine needles. Both of these do take about a year to break down. On my veggie beds I use shredded straw. Natives are mulched with shredded bark and prunnings
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Postby Comeilotei » Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:16 am

Seaweed I understand is excellent soil conditioner as well as for mulching. You are very lucky Gardenholic, to be able to access fresh seaweed with ease. You must also have plenty of pine trees in your yard? Very lucky!

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Postby Paddles » Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:56 am

I had my boss turn round and say " got a towbar on your car?" To which I replyed yes "Come round, I'll lend you a trailer and help you fill it with old had, so I can get rid of it!" cost Petrol, weeds undoubtly, but hey, if its free, and I lay it thick enough, I'ts gonna do some good!
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Postby Comeilotei » Sun Oct 22, 2006 4:01 pm

What a score Paddles!

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Postby Pam » Sun Oct 22, 2006 4:33 pm

Since moving to Bundaberg, I've noticed that the tip mulch at $12 a cubic metre (and you get a VERY big metre) is probably 80 to 90 per cent made up of chopped palm which I am guessing will have very similar mulching qualities to coir. I have been silently grumbling to myself about its probable lack of nutritional value, but on thinking about it now, I guess it's a bargain?!

An added bonus is that it isn't as likely to become termite food.
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Postby Comeilotei » Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:13 pm

Pam wrote:Since moving to Bundaberg, I've noticed that the tip mulch at $12 a cubic metre (and you get a VERY big metre) is probably 80 to 90 per cent made up of chopped palm which I am guessing will have very similar mulching qualities to coir. I have been silently grumbling to myself about its probable lack of nutritional value, but on thinking about it now, I guess it's a bargain?!

An added bonus is that it isn't as likely to become termite food.


That's good value for money Pam. I suppose to aid the nutritional value you may sprinkle B&B and cow/ sheep poo?

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Postby cordelia » Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:48 am

Could be good :D . It must be made of something....mainly lignin, I suppose, so might be highish in potassium when it breaks down? But I like mulch that doesn't break down....you can always put peastraw or lucerne or manure or something underneath for food.
Glad you have found a good thing in your new region :D
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Postby midgin » Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:50 pm

I have only recently started using sugarcane mulch (having seen the excellent results at Tilly's place :wink: ) and I cannot believe the difference in the s/c mulched areas.
Whereas I was using free leaf mulch before ... I now find sugarcane mulch 100% better... breaks down beautifully.....and the plants seem to have a new boost.
I am totally sold!
I should add I believe the water penetrates much more efficiently through s/c mulch than it it does through leaf mulch.
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Postby Pam » Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:32 pm

midgin wrote:I should add I believe the water penetrates much more efficiently through s/c mulch than it it does through leaf mulch.


I'd have to agree there Midgin. I'd hate to have to pay for it what you poor people down south must do though!
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Postby midgin » Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:53 pm

Worth every cent, Pam..... I cannot believe the improvement of the soil. :shock: :shock:
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Postby gardenlen » Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:17 pm

yeh pam,

7 bucks a bail down here now 'least where i am, and less biscuits in the bale though they are thicker biscuits and looser so overall a price rise and less coverage great when you manipulate the market like that hey, me mate up glenwood way can get it for 2.50 i think he said.

anyhow we can only use what we can only buy hey?

reckon can farmers will soon only produce for the garden market down here gotta be better money in it than cutting for sugar.

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Postby abwal » Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:24 pm

I find a good layer of animal manure covered by cane mulch is excellent. The last lot I bought cost $1.50 a bale delivered, but then, we are surrounded by sugar cane
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