Mulch?

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Stone_Family3

New Member
Some of the websites I read said that tomatoes love warm soil so I can mulch to keep heat in and also to keep moisture in.

Do you think that regular straw would be a good mulch? If not what do you recommend?

This will probably be tilled up in the fall in order to plant some other type of crop for the winter and tilled again in the spring before the new tomatoes are planted.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
Staff member
Straw will work, but it often has seeds in it that will cause more work for you. Crabber likes to use newspaper and then hold it down with grass clippings and stuff. The newspaper degrades and just becomes part of the soil. She can tell you better than I can though.
 

Blueaussi

New Member
Mulch is good stuff! You can use wheat straw, pine straw, leaves, grass clippings. newspaper, or store bought stuff. I put down newspapers while I'm planting out, then cover over with weed paper, then wood shavings or leaf mulch, or pine bark mulch. i yank out the weed paper at the end of the season and till in what's left along with some manure. This year I had some rabbit poo to till in, as well.
 

Stone_Family3

New Member
I didn't think about using newspaper. I actually deliver the paper so I could use that. Plus we have lots of grass clippings usually. Maybe I can use a mixture of Paper/Grass and Straw. I don't mind if it seeds on me. I just don't like using wood and straw is pretty cheap....lol. People are always giving it away for free after halloween.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
Staff member
That sounds like a good plan, SF3. You already have the papers and the clippings and both of those are soil enhancers when they degrade.
 

Stone_Family3

New Member
We usually shread the papers and just mix them in the compost. We just let our compost naturally do its thing. I don't do alot of turning and stuff. We also have rabbit poop in our compost which I hear is excellent for plants. Our rabbit poops alot so our plants should do marvelous...lol.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
Staff member
We don't have a rabbit any more. But those droppings can be used without fear of burning the plants. Chicken poop though is too hot to use until it is well rotted.
 

Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
I lay out serveral sheets of papaer making sure to over lap them. I like to make sure the ground has been watered first then I wet the papers , then cover with grass clippings. One thing you want to remember with tomates is that you should not top water. Another words don't use a sprinkler that wets the foilage. This will reduce fungus and disease. Since you are in the planning stages you might want to consider running soaker hoses under your mulch. This way your water will be conserved, you will need a lot less, it will go directly where it is used best and you will not be getting your leaves and fruit wet.;) Just some ideas that have proven to work well.
All manure should be composted prior to placing around plants because as Randy said it is hot. If you want to use it "raw" make sure you go light and use it as a side dressing not a top dressing. Keep it away from the main root system. I have a lot of naturally deposited bunny poop in my garden and I have to spread it out out plants suffer.
 

farmerlon

New Member
Some of the websites I read said that tomatoes love warm soil so I can mulch to keep heat in and also to keep moisture in.
If they are talking about a "mulch" to keep heat in, I suspect that they may be referring to "plastic mulch". {Personally, I don't like to call plastic "mulch", but a lot of folks do.}
A plastic covering will usually heat up the soil considerably, and help retain that warmth.

A lot of organic Mulch materials (straw, grass, compost, etc..) will have an insulating effect... so they may keep the soil (relatively) cooler when the air temp is warm; and they may keep the soil warmer when the air temp is cooler.

Early in the spring, when the ground is cool, you may want to omit the organic mulch, or use it sparingly; to let the ground heat up as the Tomatos are getting started.
Then, as the season progresses, add or increase the mulch to retain moisture and control weeds, etc.. .
 

RonsGarden

Super Moderator
Staff member
Hey Farmerlon!
Welcome to our forum!
Nice to see you digging right in and getting involved!
 

Randy

Super Moderator
Staff member
I have to concur with that about mulching. I was trying to abide by the guidelines in the organic gardening magazine and books, but our nights stay too cool here in northwestern Oregon and the straw mulch kept the soil from heating up well. I have had much better luck through the years without using any.
 

Blueaussi

New Member
Huh. I mulch after I get the veggies in the garden, so the soil has hated up plenty by then. I check, I take the soil temperatures before I plant.

Yes, Curbie, I have a soil thermometer.

Anyway, I'm so obsessive about having the correct temperatures for my precious peppers that I check teh soil before planting out. By then it's really warming up, and getting mulch down really helps with weed control and evening out the moisture.
 

farmerlon

New Member
Hey Farmerlon!
Welcome to our forum!
Nice to see you digging right in and getting involved!
thank you ...
Though I have only been here a short time, this looks like a quality forum and I am enjoying the experience.
I look forward to hanging around.:)
 

Alan in Vermont

New Member
I got hooked up with a local tree service, they are dropping their loads of (free) wood chips on one of my garden sites. I'm hoping to get 100+ cubic yards I will use that in conjunction with my tire ring "hills" for my cucurbit crops. As soon as the frost is out and the ground dried enough to work I will plow and disc the area, then set the rings in place. I will get the mulch spread between the hills but will leave the soil in the hills bare so it will heat up. Some of the hills will get plastic caps to speed up the heating. A few of them will get planted to acorn squash by early May and the tents will stay on until frost danger is past. I'm going to try to get a couple hills in every week until I have plants enough to take 500+ squash off over as long a season as I can squeeze out. The rest of the area, about 1/2 acre, will get other winter squash and pumpkins. The chip mulch will go only between hills for weed suppression. After the plants have four leaves I will mulch inside the rings with chips (if I have enough) or wood shavings to hold weeds down in those areas.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
Staff member
What are you going to do with all those squash? I plant a few but still more than I can use. I have a very willing recipient though at a nursing home I visit. She loves to have the stuff I bring in from my garden.
 

Flower4Yeshua

Super Moderator & vegemm
Staff member
.

A lot of organic Mulch materials (straw, grass, compost, etc..) will have an insulating effect... so they may keep the soil (relatively) cooler when the air temp is warm; and they may keep the soil warmer when the air temp is cooler.

Early in the spring, when the ground is cool, you may want to omit the organic mulch, or use it sparingly; to let the ground heat up as the Tomatos are getting started.
Then, as the season progresses, add or increase the mulch to retain moisture and control weeds, etc.. .
I agree with you here ...I always wait until the weather warms a bit to add the mulch as you say it can tend to keep soil cool...wich is great when it gets so very hot...as to keep the water in
 

Flower4Yeshua

Super Moderator & vegemm
Staff member
Huh. I mulch after I get the veggies in the garden, so the soil has hated up plenty by then. I check, I take the soil temperatures before I plant.

Anyway, I'm so obsessive about having the correct temperatures for my precious peppers that I check teh soil before planting out. By then it's really warming up, and getting mulch down really helps with weed control and evening out the moisture.
yes, but you are in a much warmer zone than we are ...when I was in California did the same....
not obsessive that is...but mulch right as I planted there
 

Randy

Super Moderator
Staff member
That makes sense. I don't raise enough stuff to consider selling it, but I raise more than I can use and I enjoy giving it to people that will use it. I took three 5-gallon buckets full of peppers to the nursing home that I visit and the staff was very happy to see them. Some were hot peppers and most were sweet peppers.
 


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