mulchmulchmulch

Phx, Az, USA - Zone 10
Thanx to a Google group gardener's suggestion, I've begun to add really deep - two foot deep - layers of mulch to my beds. I've asked my neighbors, and they've been very graciosly leaving the bags of their grass clippings out for me. So I cheerfully go door-to-door on Mondays and drag home these huge bags. I never thought other people's yard trash would make me so happy!
Wow, what a difference! Soil stays moist longer, plants are holding up to the hotter days, I don't have to water as much. I also don't have to weed as much, and I have a nice soft place to walk when I'm weeding or tending.
I've buried my soaker hoses under the mulch, instead of irrigating in hill-n-valley tradition, and that's a huge water saver.
If anyone has any tips for saving water while maintaining a big garden, please let me know. For the first time, I'm actually counting and measuring gallons, and it adds up REALLY fast.
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Grass clippings are a bit green, but they certainly hold water in. If you can find a tree company willing to dump some wood chips on your driveway, you will be all set. The chips last much longer, and have better P content, too. The only way to save more water is to limit sun exposure. You can do it by having beds on the east side of the house, so they are shaded in the afternoon. Or you can grow some veggies under beans or tomatoes, whatever will give them dappled light. Even in Michigan brassica like to be in partial shade in the summer.
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too easy hey tenacity chuckle?
go for it. i'm a great lover of mulch mulch then even more mulch
-- With peace and brightest of blessings,
len
-- "Be Content With What You Have And May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In A World That You May Not Understand."
http://mywebsite.bigpond.com/gardenlen2 /

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[snip]
In the absence of enough mulching materials, such as grass clippings and leaf mold, you can always create a dust mulch with your hoe to conserve soil moisture.
Scuffling the top inch or so of soil breaks the capillary / wicking action and helps to slow the rate of evaporation. It/s not as good as real mulch, but it/s better than doing nothing.
Drawing little soil up against the plant stem will also slow the rate of moisture loss and help keep the weeds down, too.
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