Mulching Systems: Our Story


There are so many mulching systems out there and we've tried a whole lot of them at House in the Woods Farm in Maryland. We've hoed the bare ground, rolled out round hay bales, we've put down newspaper and we've applied disposable black plastic. We couldn't keep up with the hoeing by a long shot.

The huge round hay bales were too heavy for even Phil to keep unrolling for years to come. Laying down newspaper was funny; I wish I had a picture of Phil pulling stacks of newspaper from the recycling dumpster to bring home for mulch. It was no fun to spread out; the material would fly in the wind even if you watered it down and still required hay on top. I didn't enjoy planting into it. sweet potatoes

Hay adds weed seed each year so straw is a better choice in that system, but pricey. Any of these would work fine on a small garden scale. On year five, we went big style and bought a Rain-Flo plastic mulch layer for our tractor. In one season we were done with black plastic, another system rejected. It doesn't breathe, and a living soil is important to us. It goes down beautifully, but takes another expensive implement to pull up, or sweat and tears to rip it from the ground by hand. Most of it goes to the landfill. The shreds of plastic left behind stay in the garden for eternity.

We sold the machine and bought rolls of durable woven landscape fabric, the kind that is used under trees. For seven years, Phil made raised beds with his plow and laid down the landscape fabric by hand, reusing the pieces each year. We were onto something. This stuff is reusable, permeable for rain water, breathable and tough as nails. Phil uses a flame weeder to burn holes to plant into. After the first year, the plant spacing is already set with the pre-burned holes. I would recommend this system to any home gardener. I have set up home gardeners in my community with landscape fabric systems with positive feedback. It can be hand-laid over a flat soil bed or a raised bed. This system worked for seven years, but these past couple years we expanded business just past what was reasonable for one man to set up. Phil was racing volunteer planters and me to set up rows for us, and he was exhausted. We were at a standstill. We needed a new system or we needed a smaller farm plot.

7/17/2013 12:26:27 PM

now a day oraganic farming is became most poppular.. vecause people became aware about their helth.. and its really necessary because pestiside was really harm our health and its iffect on our immunity.. such a great article..

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