ecalyptus mulch in a vegie patch in hot dry Perth

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ecalyptus mulch in a vegie patch in hot dry Perth

Postby milt » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:31 pm

Probably a silly question :-) but i have a few cubic metres of excess ecalyptus mulch and was wondering if its worth digging it into the veggie patch as the soil is quite sandy here in perth? Ill be compsting grass clippings leaves and food all this year to also add more organic matter so as to get a better yield. Its seems as though the hot dry weather is cooking my tomatoes on the vine over here and i might also consider some shade cloth?
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Re: ecalyptus mulch in a vegie patch in hot dry Perth

Postby gardenlen » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:43 am

g'day milt,

yes shade for the tomatoes for sure.

with the euc' mulch dig it in so long as you don't plan on planting immediately might have to fallow the bed for 2 to 4 weeks.

do you do lots of mulching with spoilt hay and maybe sugar cane mulch?

we mulch 6"-8" thick, buy whatever is cheapest and more readily available,

mulching retains moisture and keeps root runs cooler/warmer (season)

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Re: ecalyptus mulch in a vegie patch in hot dry Perth

Postby lucylu » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:37 am

Hi Milt

I wouldn't dig in euc mulch under any circumstances. It takes a long time (years) for the nutrients locked in the plant matter to be broken down into a form that is accessible to your veggies and in the mean time, the microbes which break it down will require nitrogen, so adding stuff like that can actually deplete the soil of available nitrogen - an element essential for plant growth. This is called nitrogen drawdown - a quick google found this from GA http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2485140.htm
Actually,

If you want to bulk up the soil (well, let's face it - sand :roll: ), add composted manure or compost.

And yes, mulch needs to be really thick (6") in this weather. I find pea hay the best. Lucerne is apparently better, but I find it can compact and form a bit of a water proof matt.

I am also experimenting with seamungus at the moment - can't tell you if it's any good, but have read a few positive reviews.

The sun is so intense here, I find things that are meant to grow in full sun here are fine in part shade, and many actually grow better in a bit of shade. Shadecloth would help a lot, but long term, creating a microclimate with trees will increase the humidity around your vegies as well as provide shade - just make sure the roots are not invasive.
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Re: ecalyptus mulch in a vegie patch in hot dry Perth

Postby milt » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:05 pm

Thanks for the informative information guys especially about timber mulches taking a long time to break down and drawin.g nutrients away from plants. I will put some shade cloth over next season as this seasons tomatoes are not loking too flash at the moment. The cucumbers have had it too :-) i added some sugar cane mulch this year and will add manure then mulch on top of that next year. Might even plant a few more trees :-)
Lucylu, what type of tomatoes andcucumbers do well over here with the intense heat? Let me know if you have some spare seed after this seasons crop. I used to grow a variety an uncle bought over form Greece a few hears back anditproduced amazing fruit, but the seed i have is quite old and im not sure if will germinate now?
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Re: ecalyptus mulch in a vegie patch in hot dry Perth

Postby Pam » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:17 am

milt wrote: but the seed i have is quite old and im not sure if will germinate now?


You have nothing to lose by trying, Milt, and even if you get just one plant from twenty seeds, you'll have plenty of fresh seed laid on for next year.
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Re: ecalyptus mulch in a vegie patch in hot dry Perth

Postby milt » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:41 pm

Good point Pam, the seed is 5 years old and is pretty dry and frail looking see how we go?

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