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plants to grow for mulch

 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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This is something I am still trying to learn about.  I know comfrey, and arrow root can be used as mulch plants, but what else is out there?  I honestly don't know of many plants for the Pacific NW's climate to use for mulch plants. ((Zone 9))

Anyone have any suggestions?
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1350
Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I've started using fava beans in areas that I am planning on using in the future and chop and drop them at the end of the season. I also have them as part of the understory of my fruit trees. The deer don't seem to like them and they seem to do well in my central Oregon area. The beans and greens are a bonus. It's a nitrogen fixer and produces enough seeds for me to continue to plant as well as harvest for consumption.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9421
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Seems like just about any that are recommended in various lists would grow in Zone 9!  What about artichoke or cardoon?  Sunflowers?

You might try a succulent for instance "Red Apple"  Aptenia cordifolia  which grew terrifically for me in California.
 
Paula Edwards
Posts: 411
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Can't every plant residue be used as mulch plant? Comfrey is good because it draws minerals up but never heard that Arrowroot has the same virtues, but it grows fast.
If you live in suburbia, the most abundant mulch source are grass clippings. Neighbours give it to you and lawn mowing services are happy to dump their clippings at your garden gate, you will have more than enough!
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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ediblecities wrote:
Can't every plant residue be used as mulch plant? Comfrey is good because it draws minerals up but never heard that Arrowroot has the same virtues, but it grows fast.
If you live in suburbia, the most abundant mulch source are grass clippings. Neighbours give it to you and lawn mowing services are happy to dump their clippings at your garden gate, you will have more than enough!


Yes I would love to have some clippings but here is where I was going with things.  I recently acquired the book "Smart Permaculture Design" by Jenny Allen.  Good easy on the eyes to read book.  One of the few things that really struck a cord with me reading this book was to design the garden with mulch plants in mind.  Since I am in the happy creative anything is possible in this world time of design I figured I would ask. 

I do not live in Suburbia, I live pretty far from town, and in fact we don't go to town anymore for groceries.  We go into town for "provisions" 
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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my favorite mulch plants are simply weeds that have not had the chance to go to seed or flower. the good ones grow back and give you a few cuttings of mulch.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Rumex acetosa... has a tap root and cranks out leaves... Dock is supposedly a dynamic accumulator... this brings in native-ish docks (R. obtusa, R. crispus (yea yea I know).  I would save these for relatively moist ground (I am on 4 feet of silt loam that floods in winter).  They divide very easily for propagation, smother well, and can be cut 3 times a year.

I am testing 4 lupines this year... Lupinus arboreus grows like mad, but is a little woody, and is also an honorary native with a bad rep in some circles.

I have had been recommended lovage as well and will grow it from seed this year.
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1350
Location: Cascades of Oregon
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Lupines grow wild here so I have them everywhere. Wild ones are quite small 12 inches usually.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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use every weed that comes up that isn't edible as a mulch plant, just make sure they haven't got bits of seed or root going along for the ride..also I use a lot of things with large leaves like rhubarb and horseradish as well as the comfrey, etc..look for the largest leaves possible..

another thing that I'm going to try to do more often is to take the leaves and twigs of the trees we cut for firewood or coppice or other uses and either put them right down on the soil with good ground contact or run then through our chipper...i did that with som alders last year ..they also make good mushroom environment
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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Thanks everyone for the advice, I don't know where my brain was at.   

Brenda, great idea about the chipper.  I look forward to the day I can get one.  Until then, I cut them up with the chainsaw, then lopers, and then hand pruners.  Then stack into swales as close to wear it was cut down as possible.  It slowly becomes a mound filled with all sorts of wild flora dropped by birds and small animals. (Zones 2 through 4)

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