Wednesday, July 1, 2009

mulchy dilemma

In preparation for a wedding shower to be hosted here this Saturday, we've been working on the garden. It has just occurred to me that I should have taken before-and-after shots; maybe I'll do that for the front yard, despite the embarrassment of the before shots. Guys, our garden is big. It's really big. And when you get lackadaisical about mulching, like we have been for the past two years, the weeding is... challenging. Daunting, even.

We've done the first pass on everything in the back yard, and a couple of the beds (the one around the oak tree, the middle bed, the small bed at the entrance to the yard) are shower-ready. The rest needs another go-over. This is most of it, by the way. Luckily, I have cousins coming to help tomorrow morning, for which they will be both paid in cash and paid in strawberry shortcake. Because it will be a huge help.

My problem with mulching is that I have to get the mulch. I have to either purchase it, which can get very expensive for the number of beds we have, or I have to get it from the landfill, which gives mulch away for free, but you have to shovel it. Also, there's not much left at this time of year. And I would need containers for it -- and two years ago we had containers. I had five large Rubbermaid containers full, and that still wasn't enough to cover the gardens, and that is two trips in the car to the landfill, besides. Thus you can also see the problem with producing enough compost ourselves to mulch, although fishy's gone a long way to helping that with the creation of a 4'x4'x4' yardwaste cage in the back yard, which is currently full to the top of weeds (and likely weed seed, sigh.)

And I know that mulching is better for the garden. I know the plants could use the nutrients provided by a good compost mulch. We did purchase mushroom compost for the garlic bed, which I'll be putting out tomorrow with the small helpers. But what's a girl to do? Every garden magazine and book talks about the benefits of mulch to the plants, for weed suppression, for wildlife; but I just can't get enough. I guess we'll either have to suck it up and purchase, or make several trips to the landfill, or be more serious about composting, or something. Or maybe just fill in parts of the beds with big stones, which is a hell of a mulch. Or someone could tell me how to make proper leaf mold, which I haven't yet been able to do.

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