Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mulch, Part II

So last week I wrote a bit about using grass clippings for mulch in the garden, which I believe is going swimmingly.  My plants seem pretty happy, and the weeds are more or less under control.

One mulch project that has definitely worked is using pine needles around the blueberry bushes, something I've been doing for about three years with good results.

Blueberries are tough to grow in these parts, because the soil is not acidic enough for robust growth.  Pine needles, on the other hand, increase the acidity of the soil if you apply them at pretty great depths -- everything I've read suggests you have to pile them thicker than 3 inches in order to get any change to soil pH.  I mulch my blueberries to about 5-6 inches, spring and fall.  Sometimes, I put an additional layer on in the summer if I'm getting too many weeds popping through.

Since I've started doing this, our blueberry bushes are growing nicely.  Even better, they all survive the winter, which wasn't true before I started mulching.  And since I get my pine needles for free from under our pine trees, it is an easy project!

The Analysis:
Fast:  I have a small blueberry patch, so mulching doesn't take much time.

Cheap:  Free mulch from the pine trees means better blueberry growth.

Good:  I'm still buying blueberries to supplement our tiny harvest, but maybe one day I'll have enough bushes to give us all the berries we want!
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