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What to use for vegetable garden mulch in the middle of evergreen forest?  RSS feed

 
Anna Tennis
Posts: 52
Location: western slope of Oregon Cascades/Portland, OR
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I was all excited about putting down wood chips as mulch in my two small vegetable plots this spring till I realized there aren't any wood chips up here 10 miles from the nearest tiny (probably chipper-free) town. Then I thought, "straw!" until I realized there really isn't any straw either. There's a lot of dead grass but I'm pretty certain it has seeds in it. There are a few deciduous leaves on the ground, but it would take a *lot* of work to gather them together. There are cedar/Doug fir needles and cones, there are branches and twigs... What am I missing, here? Or should I just break down and bring in some chips or straw the next time I'm in the city? Oh, and last year I felt like all summer I was battling the white clover someone else had planted, chopping and dropping over and over, and it still seemed like my starts and seeds did poorly with the competition. So I don't think I want to go that route.

Thanks.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Sounds acidic. Have you considered fruits instead of veggies? Plenty of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, et cetera) seem to do fine in conifer forest or soon to be ex conifer forest. I've read the same for Hazelnut but have no personal experience.

For mulch; I use pretty much anything I can get my hands one. Leaves rock if you can find them close. Nettle stems, the dried one from last year, same with tall grasses, I'll chop down things like salmonberry and elderberry and leave them to dry a few months and then stomp and jump on them so they crack into manageable pieces and work with that. it all depends what you have access too and what you are looking to accomplish.
 
Anna Tennis
Posts: 52
Location: western slope of Oregon Cascades/Portland, OR
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Thanks! I do have a couple blueberries planted. The beds themselves are in a community garden area that's been cleared and used for vegetables for a long time, and they seem to be pretty prolific. I really just got savvy to mulching last fall, just in time to pile a bunch of (mostly cottonwood, some maple and alder) leaves on the beds. This fall maybe I'll make myself a killer leaf pile to have on hand for spring as well.

Also there'll be Scotch Broom aplenty in summer. No one around here's going to cry if I cut a bunch of it and dry it and stomp on it.
 
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