29 October 22, 2008
I would guess that most areas have had a frost. It is sad to see the gardens come to an end for this year.
As the weather cools, we have to begin to think about getting our perennial beds and other plants mulched for the winter. There are all kinds of mulches you can use, but let me take a few moments to tell you about a mulch you may not have heard of before. The product is called Mainely Mulch.
Mainely Mulch is produced in Aroostook County Maine. This area of Maine is known for its potatoes but it is also an area that grows a lot of hay. Mainely Mulch is hay that is cut and then it is exposed to extremely high temperatures just short of combustion. This heating process kills virtually all of the seed, mold, mildew and fungal spores that you would find in conventional hay. The product is then chopped into small pieces. The smaller pieces make it easy to spread and 1 bale will mulch about 100 square feet of garden bed. One of the really nice things is that in the spring you can spread the product out over your gardens and the chopped particles will quickly decay into the soil. This will add organic matter back into your soil. The drying process has another advantage. Once you have the mulch in place, an application of water will cause the mulch to absorb the water and help to keep the mulch in place. Once in place, the mulch will trap air in its layers making for a very effective soil insulator. This will cut down or eliminate the freeze thaw cycle that can eventually kill the roots of the plants.
Now that the leaves have falling, you should be thinking about applying superphosphate around your perennials and your trees, shrubs and rose bushes. Phosphorous is an important component of plant growth. Soils in New England tend to be low in phosphorous. By applying phosphorous now, you will be giving plants a nutrient that stimulates root growth. The phosphorous that will remain in the soil will help with flower production next year. Applying superphosphate in the fall can go a long way towards making your plants healthier next year. If you wish to add an organic source of phosphorous to the soil you can use bone meal.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.