[Market-farming] Mulch

TxBeeFarmer TxBeeFarmer at HotPop.com
Mon Dec 3 10:45:26 EST 2007

I'd like to try putting down mulch over my garden to reduce weeds and help 
the soil.  It's about 3 acres, but I'm really not sure how to get it done. 
Also not sure how to plant a garden on it.

Let me explain a little about my location, the soil, and how the garden is 
taken care of now.  It's in west Texas with a rainfall of approx. 17 
inches/yr. with very little or no irrigation because the water must be 
hauled in.  The soil is a sandy loam that tends to develop "hard pan" if not 
plowed.  So, each Winter the stalk residue is shred down and disked lightly 
to turn everything under.  In the spring, it's deep disked, then plowed to 
create 36 inches rows.  Planting is done with a 4 row buster planter on the 
bed.  Weeds are either hoed or plowed using knives or sweeps.

The only mulches available are large round bales of oats, hay grazer, red 
top cane, alfalfa, or similar.  It's not practical for me to get mulch from 
town.  I don't have a dump truck and they don't deliver.

So it looks like hay is my only choice.
But, how can it be put down and how do you avoid growing a field of whatever 
kind of hay is put down?  And how do you get it down?  Should I disk before 
putting the mulch down?  Should the mulch go down in the Fall or in the 
Spring?  How deep should it be? How can I make rows and plant without 
covering up the mulch?  Should I row it up, put the mulch down, then plant? 
As you can see, I'm having trouble understanding how this is done?  Seems 
the devil is in the details.

Perhaps I'm looking at this all wrong.  Need some help here folks.

Thanks for your help.

TxBeeFarmer (Mark)
West Texas Zone 7b 

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