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Midges in the Mulch

 
Karen Walk
Posts: 122
Location: VT, USA Zone 4/5
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I think that midges are taking cover in my mulch. I'm using old hay and grass cuttings. I have guinea fowl and muscovy ducks, but am looking for additional recommendations for reducing the midge population. Right now, every time I bring vegetables in from the garden I bring a host of midges with me. Washing veggies outside helps, but I feel like I created a paradise for them with the hay/grass mulch. Does wood chip mulch do the same thing?

Thanks!
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Are the grass cuttings pretty green when you put them down? If so, it might help to let them dry before using them.

Where are you located? I suggest to everyone on permies that filling out the location info on your profile page will help you get good answers
 
Karen Walk
Posts: 122
Location: VT, USA Zone 4/5
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I'm located in VT, USA

Most of the mulch is old hay mixed with goat manure. I've only recently started using fresh cuttings, but have had the midges for a while. The garden is a big hugel bed in it's first year, if that makes any difference.
 
John Elliott
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The midges are too small to be a decent meal for the ducks and guineas. But small toads and lizards, they could put a significant dent in that midge population. Do you have a water feature in your garden that you can raise some tadpoles in? Check out my thread on 'Toads and their care'.
 
Karen Walk
Posts: 122
Location: VT, USA Zone 4/5
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Toads - fascinating. We have many frogs in a pond about 150' away, but I've never seen them in the garden. All I seem to have to do to get frogs is dig a hole and wait for rain. I usually get so many frogs that I feel terrible when I close the hole back up. I did see a newt in there this morning, so maybe I just need to be a little patient and wait for them to fill their bellies.

Does anyone have experience with different kinds of mulch and midges? Would coarse wood chips create a less friendly environment?
 
John Elliott
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Karen Walk wrote: All I seem to have to do to get frogs is dig a hole and wait for rain.


There's your solution -- you need a permanent hole that stays waterlogged. I'd hesitate recommending something ceramic, because the expansion of ice in the winter will break it, but maybe something plastic that has some give....
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3717
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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It may be a bad year for midges in Vermont & New England. Someone posted a question about them on a mushroom listserve I subscribe to.

The question was:
What's the best way to remove all the little midges that crawl around in the gills of shiitake?


and the answer:
Those 'midges' are thrips - I just tap the cap a few times and out they hop (95% anyway). A very gentle puff or two will chase off the more stubborn ones. They are rather heavy this season in my laying yard - and I am seeing quite a few 'pleasing beetles' as well - who do more damage.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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