Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mulching by instalments


Our extremely soggy August provided some of the best conditions for weeds to grow in living memory, and trust my luck that at the same time I have been on what might be called 'light duties' lately – forced to rest up while my arthritic old ribcage tries to mend itself. And as a compulsive gardener, I sometimes forget that I am on light duties, I see something "out there" that I just have to attend to … and I hurt myself again. Back to square one ...

And so it has come to this. When in my prime I could mulch whole acres in a day (OK, slight fib) right now I am doing it one square metre at a time - per day. Talk about slow progress.

When I talk "mulching", that really is gardening code for "lots of weeding for 90% of the time taken (to get rid of the onion weed, oxalis, chickweed and other uninvited greenery) followed by a short, triumphant spreading of the mulch as a grande finale". 

I use three different mulches here in our garden. All the food
plants are mulched with sugar cane mulch. The purists, who must
also be quite rich, insist on lucerne hay, but the poor, ordinary
folk-on-a-budget of this world use sugar cane mulch in Sydney.
The ornamental flowering beds are mulched
with some kind of composted bark, such as
this freshly laid pine bark around this gardenia.
Here it is in close-up around our newest acquisition, a
Grevillea 'Pink Lady' ground cover.
The third type of mulch in use here is the
off-white pebbles in the succulent patch, and
it has proved to be a hopeless mulch. All
weeds love it. Here's some onion weed brushing
the pebbles aside.
The oxalis skips across the top of the pebbles like Ginger Rogers
and Fred Astaire. Oxalis just adores pebble mulches.
My favourite mulch by far, the sugar cane mulch, is full of fresh,
farmyard handsomeness for the first two weeks after it is
spread. Thereafter it goes grey and lifeless, and as it breaks
down quite rapidly it needs regular replenishment. But I do
love the look of a freshly mulched vegie patch!
And so today I weeded and mulched the spot where I planted the perpetual spinach and Serrano chilli (pictured above). Next chance I get, it's the strawberry patch (another square metre owned by Emperor Oxalis). After that, maybe next weekend, another square metre around the clivias and frangipani. I think I am slowly catching up to the August explosion of weeds, but please Huey, no month-long downpours this spring? Please, my ribcage couldn't stand it!


2 comments:

Jem @ Lost in Utensils said...

I'm also a fan of sugar cane mulch! Does the trick for my garden. You're so right about the majority of time being taken up with weeding...fun times! Now with the warmer weather the weed wars are starting up again unfortunately. Garden looking great but rest up!

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