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Mulching the garden, my positive and really negative experiences

My beautiful niece and nephew came over to assist with some farm chores for cash. I picked a terrible one for them. I tend to pick pay tasks by how little I actually want to do them. I have a 5 year old hay bale in the lean-to I’ve been picking away at over the years. I finally want it out of there and moved to the garden areas for mulching.

I love mulch for it’s ability to suppress weeds (as I’m a lazy gardener) and it’s ability to hold in moisture. I’m terrible at watering too. My tomatoes and peppers are valuable to me. There is nothing like home canned spaghetti sauce and salsa. I need these things to really take off. So mulching them is worth paying for, and not hauling hay, more so.

I am nervous about this though. I mulched our largest garden last fall in the hopes of suppressing a lot of weeds. What we got instead was an infestation of ground squirrels. When dead babies started showing up we actually worried about the plague. That garden has been completely abandoned at this point. It did have a high point though. One snowy day we looked out the window to find this:

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Isn’t it the most glorious stoat you’ve ever seen! That little stoat spent a week murdering every ground squirrel it could find. We haven’t seen one in that garden since. Hasn’t stopped me from abandoning the garden though. The ground squirrels will repopulate the tunnels, it’s just a matter of time. Still, we have some anti-squirrel around and that feels pretty darn amazing.

So you can see why I would be rather nervous about mulching the new gardens. It is done though, or at least part of it is. The tomato and pepper part at least.

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Nice in progress picture. It’s a tire surround and makes the entire thing a raised bed. Tomatoes in the middle and peppers in the tires. Nice soaker hose running through the entire thing.

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I made sure to leave plenty of room around my tiny plants. They would be larger but I prune off most of the leaves and plant them as far up the stem as possible. I had amazing results with it last year and I’m not messing with success!

Stay tuned for a story about the sleep over hysteria that followed this mulching chore!

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