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Blueberries bring a unique combination of delicious summer fruit along with striking, ornamental beauty to the fall garden. They are relatively easy to grow in the home garden and, with minimal care will thrive for many decades and provide you with abundant fruit every year. Blueberries are considered to be a long-term crop as it takes between 8 and 12 years for them to reach maturity. With proper care, they can live for 20 to 40 years. All cultivars are self-fertile but will produce better crops if more than one variety is planted.
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: Top 3 Mistakes Made When Mulching TreesContent:
- Mulching for a Healthy Garden
- Organic Mulching Materials for Weed Management
- Mulching Blueberries
- The Orchard Ecosystem: Haphazard Mulching
- What can you do with SAWDUST?
- Woody waste: using as a mulch
- Mulching Your Tree
Mulching for a Healthy Garden
Sawdust, otherwise referred to as wood shavings , is a beneficial by-product of working with wood that has many applications on both urban and countryside homesteads. The further you get from the city, the more likely you are to find it — or to produce it yourself. Woodworkers produce mass amounts of the stuff from planing, milling and sawing wood for furniture and creating building material, whereas someone simply cutting firewood, will produce no more than a few large sacks a year.
What you end up doing with your sawdust depends greatly on how much you start with. Though it may be possible to buy it locally, in larger amounts, if you have a grander project in mind.
A word of caution: not all sawdust is suitable for using in the home or garden. In fact, some of it can be downright toxic! This includes woods that contain natural yet harmful substances, such as from yews, Taxus spp. You do not want to be spreading wood chips or shavings from processed or fungicide-treated wood around your yard.
Neither should you dispose of it in forests or waysides. Contaminated sawdust and wood chips should be disposed of safely and legally. Avoid using sawdust from black walnuts, unless, of course, your intention is to use it as a weed killer. More on that below.
As you read about gardening and practice it in your backyard, you will find that some plants actually like acidic soil, though most of them prefer neutral to basic soils. In the landscape: hydrangeas, rhododendrons, azaleas and daffodils will appreciate a sprinkling of sawdust as well, to enrich the soil.
To prevent nitrogen loss sawdust requires nitrogen to decompose you may consider adding some other type of fertilizer along with your sawdust mulch. That being said, if you are mulching a sensitive area, it may be worthwhile to first try wood chips instead. Sawdust also makes an effective mulch to spread around strawberries to protect the fruit from getting dirty and rotting against the bare soil.
Composting always comes with questions — and common composting mistakes. What foods can you toss on the pile? Is there anything you should avoid mixing in? Does it need to be turned? When is it ready? And so forth. Every year we set aside a sack or two of sawdust from cutting our firewood. Call us old-fashioned, but we still do this by hand, using a two-person crosscut saw. Our sawdust typically comes from locally grown wood consisting of alder and beech shavings, with some fruit trees for good measure.
Winters here tend to be all over the place, though between the rain, ice and snow, it can get pretty slippery, especially on our stone steps.Not only are we not bringing salt in the house which can damage our wood floors, it is far more beneficial for the environment to opt out of the salt-spreading craze. One more word of caution: chainsaws leave behind a kind of sawdust that is contaminated with synthetic lubricant, so it is not recommended to use such shavings in any applications mentioned here, except cleaning up spills from non-sensitive floors, such as concrete.
Always dispose of such combination of hazardous materials properly. Have you ever wondered how people kept food cold before the refrigerator?
Or how to store food without a fridge or freezer? In the past, people used what were known as ice houses. Blocks of ice were cut in winter time from rivers and freshwater lakes.
They were then transported to cellars or underground rooms and insulated with sawdust. The ice could remain for 6 months or longer. Then along came the fridge which has forever shaped our lives. Everything from potatoes to carrots, parsnips and other root vegetables can be stored in sawdust or wood shavings.
Using a cardboard or wooden box, place shavings on the bottom, topped by a single layer of vegetables, making sure they are not touching one another. Then add more sawdust and another layer of veggies.
Keep doing this until the box is full or not too heavy to move. Store the box in a cool place in the basement, or the garage. Then enjoy your harvest all winter long. You know how some foods contain sawdust?! Do a quick internet search and look for cellulose on the ingredients list, if you are curious. Otherwise, know that food can be grown in sawdust. That seems like a better, healthier way to grow.
Growing mushrooms is a bit more involved than just using any kind of sawdust that falls beneath the saw blade. It may be sawdust pellets that you need to truly get started with propagating the best oyster mushrooms you have ever tasted.Interested in growing mushrooms at home? Get started with one of these easy mushroom growing kits. Wood chips, grass clippings, shredded leaves, bark, cocoa bean hulls, straw — these natural materials can all be used for mulching different areas of your landscape.
If you are thinking of using sawdust, keep in mind that larger size pieces will break down decompose much slower. It will also need to be replaced every two or three years. Sawdust and wood shavings can be utilized as a temporary solution for maintaining paths around your home and across your property in an effort to eliminate muddy areas. If you create a lot of sawdust, you may be wondering if burning it would be a good way to get rid of it.
There are plenty of safe ways to use up sawdust, try something else and save yourself a potentially explosive experience. My dad and my grandpa were always happy to be out in the garage, working on cars, tractors and other equipment. One thing they both kept in their garages, besides a ton of tools, was a bucket of fine sawdust for cleaning up spills.
If you have an oil spill, simply sprinkle a generous amount of sawdust on the mess and let it sit for minutes. Then sweep it up and toss it in a garbage bag.
Be sure to tie it shut. Sawdust is wonderful at absorbing other liquid spills as well, which makes it a darn good floor cleaner in non-carpeted spaces. Sprinkle, wait for it to clump and pick it up. That is all there is to it. In general, sawdust will be too fine for dog bedding, though pine and cedar wood chips are suitable for most of your furry friends.
It has the advantage of also repelling fleas and bedbugs. Sawdust, however, can be used to replace your conventional cat litter. It is cheaper, biodegradable and compostable. Chickens will enjoy a nice dust bath in wood shavings that are added to dirt and wood ash.
If you are considering using sawdust, or wood shavings for horses, you will find your answers here.You will have noticed by now that different grades of sawdust are better than others for different purposes. If you are attempting to do a bit of woodworking yourself, repairing floors, furniture or window frames, knowing how to make your own wood filler can save you lots of time and money.
Woodwork Junkie. If you have weeds popping up in the driveway, for example, and want to get rid of them without bending over and pulling them up one by one, you may want to try spreading sawdust from walnut wood. Black walnut, being a natural weed killer, is not for using in your garden.
But sidewalks, stairs, driveways are definitely fair game. Sprinkle some sawdust here and there, wherever necessary, and let it do its silent work of keeping your walkways weed-free. If you are keen on purchasing sawdust for your home and garden projects, search for a local mill or landscape company that deals with raw, untreated wood.
Be leery of what comes from a workshop and ask plenty of questions as to what kind of wood it is processed from. Cheryl Magyar is a sustainable lifesyle designer and environmental freelance writer with more than twenty years experience of living a simple life close to nature. It all started at a young age with a love for the outdoors, followed by a keen interest in goats, which turned into a love for raising ducks and mangalica pigs on the Plains of Hungary. Currently she is homesteading in Breb, Romania, amidst charming haystacks, with her husband and homeschooled daughter.
Follow on Instagram and sign up for their newsletter for more inspirations on living a sustainable life. Cheryl Magyar.
Organic Mulching Materials for Weed Management
Adapting this plan for building garden soil by using a wood mulch — such as wood chips, sawdust or other woody residues — is a strategy that promises huge, long-term returns.Field studies dating back to the s — and as recent as this year — suggest that a high-fiber diet of woody materials is exactly what many soils need. But wait: Woody materials are high in carbon and cellulose, so they need nitrogen and time in order to decompose. The outcome changes, however, if you add nitrogen or time. For example, when researchers planted a new organic apple orchard in northern Maine in , fresh wood chips combined with blood meal a very high-nitrogen organic material with a typical analysis of and tilled into the top layer of the soil — plus a surface mulch of wood chips — proved better than three other treatments at promoting rapid tree growth.
There are dozens of techniques for mulching your vegetable garden. My fruit trees and shrubs get mulched with bark or wood chips.
Contact your local county Extension office through our County Office List. Print this fact sheet. Mulch is left on the soil surface while a soil amendment is incorporated into the soil. There are two types of mulches, organic and inorganic. Organic mulches include woodchips, bark, straw, grass clippings, seed hulls, etc. Inorganic mulches include gravel and rock. The ideal mulch does not compact readily. It does not hinder water and air movement into the soil, it is not a fire hazard, and it breaks down slowly. In addition, the ideal mulch is weed-free, attractive, and does not blow away.
The Orchard Ecosystem: Haphazard Mulching
In fact, I think I will. Have a look at the structure of the wood-chip mulch under this cauliflower plant. See that pill bug? All of those caves and crevices created in a wood-chip mulch provide a perfect habitat for some garden pests, especially pill bugs, sow bugs, earwigs, snails, and slugs.
I live in a neighborhood of neatniks. Walking down my street, I always admire the beautifully tidy garden beds, replete with ornamental gravel or earthy bark, healthy plants springing forth and flourishing year after year.
What can you do with SAWDUST?
And there are so many different mulches available with different appearances, prices and characteristics. It also lessens the chance of the soil surface drying out and cracking. A trial conducted by Yates a number of years ago explored the effects of particle size and highlighted a couple of important differences between chunky and fine mulches. To test this, a layer of each mulch was added to soil to a depth of 25mm. Both soil and mulch were irrigated and the relative evaporation rate was measured over the next 13 days.
Woody waste: using as a mulch
Mulching is an easy way to cut down on water loss by plants and soil , as well as to slowly add nutrients back into the soil. Mulches come in organic and non-organic forms ; and they affect soil acidity, water retention ability, and nutrient levels—all things that are important to good plant health. Healthy plants are best equipped to survive the drought conditions that we often have. Read on to learn how to mulch around fruit trees! When considering whether or not to mulch around your plants or trees , some factors to consider are the following:. Cost: What is the least expensive mulch available in your area? You might live next to a dairy, stable, or chicken farm, which could provide very cost-effective manure. In certain parts of the country, straw is an easily obtainable mulch.
Wood chips are most often used under trees and shrubs. When used around soft stemmed plants, an unmulched zone is left around the plant stems to prevent stem.
Mulching Your Tree
Here is an article about different mulching materials and what they are suited for in the garden. I hope some of you will be able to use it. Thank you for being part of our garden group. If you are no longer interested in receiving these garden reports please let me know and I will remove your name from the list.RELATED VIDEO: Mulching Around Fruit Trees
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. We use it in the garden to slow down moisture loss, to inhibit weed growth and to alter the microclimate around our plants, but we need to select the best possible material to do the job we want the mulch to do. Crushed terracotta or scoria - a volcanic material, make a great decorative mulch whilst allowing moisture to go right through to the soil. These and other inorganic materials are particularly great for bushfire prone areas because they don't burn. Crushed rock, like quartz is great for really hot climates because the light colour means it reflects the maximum amount of heat away from the plants roots.
Mulching Oklahoma garden soils may be one of the most valuable cultural practices of gardening. The use of organic materials for mulches can provide many beneficial effects.
Mulch has so many benefits in an organic vegetable garden. We are huge fans of lasagna gardening which includes wood chip gardening , but even before we switched to no-dig gardening, we were big fans of using natural materials as mulch. Mulch does a fantastic job of preventing weeds from sprouting, and reduces the need to spend a lot of time weeding. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Tender seedlings and newly sown seeds need a lot of water. Most importantly, organic mulch encourages soil organisms like earthworms, and feeds the soil as it decomposes. If you want to grow healthy, nutrient-dense produce, building soil is the way to go.
Mulching with organic mulch like wood chip mulch is one of the best ways to grow and maintain a lush, healthy garden. Done well, mulching your landscape with an organic mulch helps improve the nutrients in your soil and encourages growth. Our guide shows you how to mulch your garden, explores the types of mulching materials available, and offers mulching tips and tricks to enhance your landscape.