[Market-farming] speaking of mulch

Steve Diver steved at ncat.org
Tue May 24 12:45:53 EDT 2005


MeLani -

Oak leaves make an excellent mulch. 

Practically any leaf-based mulch works well
to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and
provide habitat for worms and microbes
with an end result in soil improvements.

The leaf corral is a great way to gather leaves
for mulch and to make leaf mould.   

You can also turn leaves into leaf-based
compost by following a recipe that matches
carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, C:N.  

Don Boekelheide, home compost coordinator
for Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, figured
out that you need one 50-lb. bag of alfalfa pellets
(rabbit pellets) per 3'x3'x3' leaf bin to arrive at a
proper C:N ratio.

Either way, you can speed decomposition of tree
leaves into various stages of leaf mould or compost
by shredding, adding nitrogen, and maintaining
moisture.  

A pile of leaves will tend to dry out in the middle.
When moisture is absent, decomposition and
biological transformation slows down to a crawl. 

Since you are raising 1/2- to 3/4-acre of herb
beds, I suggest that you also look into quantities
of straw bale mulch to quickly cover all those herb
beds to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

Steve Diver


 >Thanks for the response.  Yes, my herb garden area that I need to mulch
 >is only about 1/2 to 3/4 acre in size.
 >You mention leaves. For future planning ...  most are oak leaves (pin,
 >burr) with some maple. (The rest of the trees are
 >evergreens/coniferous.)  I had thought the oak leaves might be too
 >'strong', for lack of a better term, to use as mulch.  Do you think they
 >can be used after being in a bin for a year, or two, or ?  They don't
 >seem to break down much in that period of time.
 >thanks again,
 >MeLani







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