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What to mulch hugelkultur and other beds with?

 
Beth Tacular
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So this year I'm starting my first permaculture inspired garden. I made an herb spiral that I mulched thinly with mulch made from yard waste, which seems to be working well so far, and since it's almost all perennials, I don't have to dig around a lot in it.

I am really torn though regarding what to use as mulch on my big hugel beds, and the raised beds and mini hugel mandala garden. The hugel beds will be almost all annual veggies this year, and then I'm doing all sorts of other veggies and some fruit bushes. Will be planting fruit trees in the fall.

But I just finished building the beds, and it really seems like the soil will just migrate downward from the hugel beds if I don't use some sort of heavy mulch like shredded hardwood bark or something. Will straw work? I'm starting this garden super late because of stuff that came up the last two months that halted my progress, so starring just with summer veggies, but I want to get the mulch on asap because it's been in the 80s and 90s this week. I'm currently watering with rainwater and a bucket, so keeping water in the beds is crucial. I don't have a hose. Will have in about a month.

I'm mostly off grid.

I live in central North Carolina. Using imported soil because mine is hard packed worn out red clay from 100 years as a farm and then a field to park in for hunters.

Should I use wheat straw? Wood chips? Newspaper with shredded hardwood bark mulch? Something else? I'm going to try to plant the beds thickly, but right now there's a lot of bare soil just waiting to run off in the next rainstorm, or crack from the heat and evaporation.

Sorry for the long post. And thanks in advance for any help!
 
Roy Hinkley
Posts: 200
Location: S. Ontario Canada
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More important to have something there rather than the best thing.
I use whatever I have, usually leaves. Anything to get the soil covered. Get a cover crop seeded to hold the soil and mulch so it stays moist. In this heat little will germinate without mulch.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
Posts: 446
Location: North-Central Idaho
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Mulch those beds with whatever you have that is plentiful and cheap....it will all work out overtime. I would caution against newspaper without shredding it first (same with cardboard). It can inhibit water infiltration, plant growth, and if not done correctly can take forever to break down!
 
Beth Tacular
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Thanks, y'all. I'm using a thin layer of wet cardboard underneath the beds, on top of the grass, and then soil with compost or jugular beds and then some triple shredded hardwood mulch in a thin layer on top. And trying straw on another area and composted cow manure on another. We will see how it goes.

Thanks for this helpful advice.
 
Erin Blegen
Posts: 21
Location: Minnesota, United States
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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I use mostly straw on my hugel beds- dried out bedding from my ducks. It breaks down nicely and I always have a lot of it! And I like to put my beds to rest in the fall with a good blanket of leaves
 
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