Tuesday, June 4, 2019

County Mulch

Many people have asked me what I use for mulch. There are many options, and I have my favorites.

#1 ..... Grass clippings. These are readily available as long as I'm willing to put out the effort. I look at  grass mowing as a form of daily exercise. I don't belong to a gym, but I do own a lawnmower. There's lots of walking involved, plus bending, lifting, etc. it's a good work out with the benefit of ending up with several trash cans full of clippings.  
    Grass clippings are easy to apply, I can regulate the depth desired. They breakdown to provide nutrients to the soil and plants. And they stay put even when the tradewibds blow. That can't be said for newspapers and cardboard! 
   The only problem with grass clippings is that I often don't have the time to gather all that I need. 

#2 ..... County mulch. Our county takes green waste and grinds it up, creating a mixed mulch. A good portion of it is coconut tree trimmings. But of course there is just about a little of everything else in there too. It's whatever homeowners bring to the recycle center. 
    When the county grinds up the green waste, it gets piled up in huge windrows. Being fresh, it quickly heats up like a giant compost pile. Anything living, such as coqui frogs or weed seeds, are soon cooked to death. I've been using county mulch now for years and have never had any weeds germinate from it, nor have I seen any form of animal or insect life in the hot mulch. And believe me, it can be really hot, too hot to handle with bare hands when it's first loaded into the pickup truck. 
   I like the county mulch for not only mulching the gardens, but also to help fill the pallet grow boxes. The mulch is coarse but with lots of fines in it. So it's a good mix. Because it is mostly woody, I add manure when filling the boxes, and layer it with green stuff, like weeds or grass clippings....plus a bit of garden soil to add minerals and microbes. 

One pickup truck worth of mulch. It's a nice sized pile. 

Some coarse stuff, lots of medium and fines. 
I have only one problem with county mulch -- it's too far away. It's a 3 hour round trip to pick up 2 cubic yards of mulch. That's what fits into the truck if the side panels are on. A pickup typically carries one cubic yard, but with bed sides, I can get 2 in there. 
    I seldom have the opportunity to get the mulch myself. But David often goes to Kona and returns deadhead (nothing in the cargo bed). So once he found out that I desire county mulch, he makes a point of swinging past the mulch yard and getting 2 yards of the stuff for me. It's a win-win situation because I pay him for it, enough to cover his gas and time, basically making his trip to Kona free. 

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