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Regarding moss as a mulch  RSS feed

 
Magnus Fundal
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Short version: Did any of you try moss as a mulch? Did you get slugs? What about woodlice?

I read this very excited article (In Danish) about using moss as a mulch to inhibit slugs. Slugs have been quite a problem in my experimental amateur garden, and ironically, so has drought, so it seemed a nice solution, or at least a nice try.

The original article killed the moss in a grass lawn with iron vitriol, then added it in a generous amount to a garden bed. I try not to use chemical poisons, so I have just been ripping it from the grass, then adding it on a newly loosened bed with compost. I have some good 10 cm of moss, maybe more.

So far it has been a mixed success. It keeps the moisture nicely, but it also keeps the cold, so I think I was a bit too fast putting it on the beds; I could have waited until it warmed a bit. I have seen no hint of the fava beans I sowed, underneath it, and I would have expected them to show up by now.
On a more serious note, several of the pole beans I planted the other day have been gnawed over, seemingly by woodlice (isopods). No slugs (so far), but still something eating my plants. 😠

Has any of you had problems with woodlice?
My soil is notably poor, so the earthworm population is fairly low in most of the beds. I have seen woodlice in my father's greenhouse and in a kitchen "worm" compost, so it seems like they and worms fill out a similar niche.
 
Sally Munoz
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I found this post while researching using moss as mulch.
As to your question about woodlice: I've certainly had my issues with them eating garden plants.  My sweet peppers were filled with them but I wasn't sure if they did the original damage or were in cahoots with the slugs.
I never did any control measures other than not tucking veggie scraps under my mulch since I thought that might be encouraging the woodlice in the garden. I've also been letting the ducks in more often and while they tear up the mulch, they don't eat on mature plants and they eat all the bugs and slugs. 
Anyhow, I'm wondering how the moss turned out working as mulch for you.  We salvaged some massive oak logs that were covered in moss and while we were cutting and stacking, I was peeling the moss off and chucking it into the raspberry patch.  It created quite a nice looking mulch but then I got to thinking and wondering about the ph properties of moss and wondering if I made a good choice. How did it work out for you?
 
Magnus Fundal
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Sally Munoz wrote:I found this post while researching using moss as mulch.
How did it work out for you?

Not well, unfortunately. Based on my own experience, it doesn't deter slugs at all, and I had a lot of those in that garden. The result, of course, was that the soil was protected and kept moist, but the plants growing there were eaten. I made a blog post about it here.
The garden was in the middle of a wilderness patch that I borrowed off my university. It had dry and sandy soil, so it really needed mulch. It had lots of slugs, so I couldn't really use mulch. A very annoying paradox.
I've moved back to my old garden, which is much more satisfying.

If you don't have any problems with slugs, I imagine moss is great. It was still alive (albeit dying out) at the time, so I think it will keep longer than most mulches. But it won't keep slugs away.
 
Sally Munoz
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Thank you Magnus, I enjoyed reading your blog post.
 
Sarah Houlihan
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Could you add the moss to a compost bin? I am starting a hot composting bin and lack green matter.  Would moss work? I have tons of moss.
 
Su Ba
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As a slug deterrent, I didn't find that moss helped at all. Neither did coffee grounds, wood ash, ground egg shells, or sharp sand. I guess everybody's garden situation is just different.
 
Sally Munoz
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Su Ba wrote:As a slug deterrent, I didn't find that moss helped at all. Neither did coffee grounds, wood ash, ground egg shells, or sharp sand. I guess everybody's garden situation is just different.


Same here and beer/yeast traps are just a silly waste of time and resources. The only thing that has ever helped are ducks. They tear up my wood chip pathways and mulch but are so easy to keep out of newly seeded areas with a few judiciously placed sticks or rocks and they don't eat my established plants at all. Then there are the eggs, meat, manure and pure entertainment value of them. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of ducks.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Slugs and woodlice seek out dark, moist places to hide. Moss provides both of these requirements.

As mentioned, ducks are the ideal predator for slug control in gardens.

One way to help keep slugs and woodlice away from a garden is to have a moss bed and other sacrificial plants far from your garden, they will be drawn to that space.

Redhawk
 
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