[permaculture] Mulch Producers.

Rick Valley bamboogrove at cmug.com
Tue Mar 25 13:20:26 EST 2003



> From: James Erbes <visionary at yahoo.com>

> I am interested in planting some mulch producers. Some
> plants that produce extra mulch that I can use in the
> garden or around fruit trees. I have a lot of branches
> I could chip but chippers are expensive. Any ideas of
> good mulch producers? I am in El Dorado County
> California zone 7 - 9.

What is the whole picture? Are you talking about mulch producers along the
margin of your garden or further out? What's your soil, vegetation and
hydrology?

You can coppice and prune natives like Ceanothus and Cercis (both N-fixers)
and other natives (well, not in your area but in Cali, eh?) like Romneya
produce alot of biomass. Non-natives like Italian alder and various Eleagnus
might be of use in the garden.
Any grasses or sedges you can grow without creating an invasion could be
useful. What are your natives, and/or non-seeding non-natives?

Another way of asking my question might better be: how much water do you
have, and what's your gardening style? What are your weeds? What tools are
you acquainted with?
I personally believe a formal clipped hedge to be a convenient, multi-use
massive producer of mulch, but most permies feel a formal hedge is an
abomination. Most of 'em would rather have a lawn! ;) (not that I turn up my
nose at lawn clippings, au contraire! When you have a cold rainy season, a
lawn is a convenient way of converting and storing your nitrogen output- you
don't picnic on it at that time of year, so pee on it)
If you have a wetland, you've got a massive source of mulch. Trees which
drop leaves and flowers are great mulch sources. (One friend finds her old
chestnut drops its flowers right at the best time for mulching her corn.)
And of course, an office can generate wonderful heaps of shredded documents.

> I have a lot of branches
> I could chip but chippers are expensive

And most unpleasant to slave for and feed.

use chopping tools to reduce the size before putting them in windrows for
garter snakes and trailing brambles. Put the heaviest wood or turfs on top.
Harvest humus 3-5 years down the road.

put the branches on the driveway and harvest the mulch in a month.

put the branches in the chicken coop or horse or cow path and harvest in a
year. 

It's already there, most probably.

-Rick













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