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Emma Olson
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With the season slowly coming to an end, I found a note  on the whiteboard at the River Road Community Garden asking growers to leave their plots prepped for the next year. It got me thinking about mulch...

Mulching is a number one thing you can do to keep the soil around you safe. Mulch protects the soil from wind blowing soils onto the street and keeps the sun from evaporating the water out. Raindrops drip slowly into the soil, so the soil pores have time to open and receive the water.
  Mulch is made from detritus, which is leaf litter and woody debris forming and organic layer on top of the soil. The soil is the skin of the earth, and mulch is skin of the soil.
    Mulch also provides habitat for soil biota and food for earthworms and decomposers like fungi, sometimes fruiting into edible mushrooms.

Does anyone have anything interesting or unusual they use for mulch?
 
Robert Sunset
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My favorite, when I have a yard anyway, is banana peels mixed with the leaves and other organic leftovers like potato skins.  It's more of a prep for next year thing but gives very good results.
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Mulching now helps to keep the soil a bit warmer for next spring.

Here in missoula, people think our growing season is too short for a lot of stuff, but one advantage that we get from all of that cold is that the soil microbials become dormant in the winter.  So when we improve our soil, our soil will reflect that improvement about five times longer than the seattle area, and about 30 times longer than a tropical area.

A mulch that is not often used in gardens is sticks and twigs.  If you use loppers, you can get all of your waste branches to lie perfectly flat and be an excellent mulch.  I wouldn't want to use cedar or black locust for this.  And cottonwood, poplar or alder would be superb for this.

 
Anna Birkas
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Here in Ukiah, an old Italian farmer friend lived next door with a half acre in grapes for personal use. He used dried out grape seeds to mulch that he wanted to look nice and be walked upon (like an alternative for pavement or grass). The vineyard was planted such that its foliage spreads overhead to form a shade layer (much needed here in the summer). The grapeseeds below look like little black stones and kept back weeds. A table and chairs were set underneath.
 
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