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All mulch created equal? (rice straw and bamboo leaves)

 
Posts: 19
Location: Mae Hong Son, Thailand
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Are all carbon material for use as mulch and in the compost created equal?

I have access to dry rice straw and lots of dry teak leaves but some people say neither of them are good for mulch and compost? Is that true? That there is some kind of chemical in the teak leaves that prevent growth?

Are dry rice straw ok to put in the compost as the brown/carbon part? They break down pretty slow..

I have started to use dry bamboo leaves in my vegetable beds - they are easier to handle than the rice straw.

Any recommendations to what to grow to produce material for compost? I am in North Thailand and everything breaks down and dry out really fast so I feel I have to add compost all the time.

Thanks, M

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My view is that any mulch is better than no mulch, so use what you have readily available. Observe results and adapt accordingly; you might find some is easier to work with If shredded first, for example. Or that it breaks down very fast and you need to use more of it (not a bad thing, as it feeds soil life as it breaks down).

You might also look into using it as a feedstock for biochar, if mulch doesn’t work out.
 
Michael Cox
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‘Is it ok to put in the compost pile’

Actually, I would use it directly to mulch around the area you are planting.
 
Mark Hansen
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Michael Cox wrote:‘Is it ok to put in the compost pile’

Actually, I would use it directly to mulch around the area you are planting.



Thanks Michael!

I will use the bamboo leaves to mulch in the gardens - they are nice and easy. I heard somebody talk about that it was not good to use teak leaves or rice straw in the compost pile - so wanted to check up on that. I will still use the rice straw to mulch bigger areas and then put the rest along with the teak leaves in compost 👍
 
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Location: Southwestern Ohio
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I think the reason behind them saying that is that they are very carbon-heavy so break down slowly without enough nitrogen in the compost. That makes them good for mulch, since if they broke down fast you would have to constantly add more.
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