Reducing sticks to the perfect mulch

sticksybystablesFrom sticks in the forest to a thick garden mulch in just one day.

All that hauling was worth it.  I had a happy afternoon working away at the pile of sticks and the chipper down by the stables.

It was chilly (darn cold in fact) but the machine powered into life without fuss, and I moved the huge pile and turned them into a mix of fresh sticks and dead branches and created this mulch.

It looks patchy now as the fresh sticks are decidedly green and pale. But the mix is the trick.

I follow the BRF system of mulch – developed in Canadian forestry – where you cut up branches of fresh wood, some dead wood, and never using more than 20 per cent pine branches which are slow to break down. You mix them all together and put them onto the soil in winter. No need for them to pile up and rot down elsewhere.

It encourages the spread of good fungii in the soil, conditions it, and also suppresses weeds.walnutpathwinter

The hardest part is covering it thickly enough to do the trick.

I never seem to pile it on to the most optimal depth of about three inches as I have such large areas to cover.

But I’m pleased with this work. And it was marvellous exercise plodding up from the stables with heavy sacks of mulch to spread them onto the furthest garden bed.