Garden and Nature in Words

Mulch on a Vegetable Garden

There was a time when I thought adding lots of mulch to poor quality soil would make for good quality soil.

But it didn’t work out that way…

What happened was that the 2 inch layer of mulch was cooking in the Summer sun, below which a thick layer of poor quality soil remained, impervious to my good efforts. But what did make a difference (the following year) was putting down 1-2 foot of mulch over that sandy loam.

Well at least the first few inches of soil improved – enough that the mulch decomposed under the right conditions to be properly assimilated into the substrate. The real improvements only came when I re-mineralized the soil the following year (the outcomes of which I am almost ready to share with you fine people).

Mulch, Lots of Mulch!

I’m lucky enough to live in a Melbourne city council that provides a free mulching service, which means I can turn up with a trailer and just take as much as I can carry. Now that is pretty awesome.

Preferred Tree Species – Melbourne City of Glen Eira

As curious as always, I needed to know what kind of trees this mulch was comprised of. You see, the council make all this themselves, from every tree and shrub they maintain throughout the year, and there are plenty of them.

Glen Eira is a progressive council and have a priority list for the most appropriate tress for the area (complete catalog can be downloaded here). You might notice that the plants are either Australian natives or exotics, although perhaps not endemic to the local environment.

  • Acer negundo (Box Elder)
  • Acer platanoides (Norway Maple)
  • Acer platanoides ‘Crimson Sentry’ (Crimson Sentry Norway Maple)
  • Acer platanoides ‘Pond’ (Emerald Lustre® Maple)
  • Acer platanoides ‘Emerald Queen’ (Emerald Queen Norway Maple)
  • Acer x freemanii ‘Jeffersred’ (Autumn Blaze Maple)
  • Angophora costata (Smooth Bark Apple)
  • Brachychiton populneus (Kurrajong)
  • Corymbia ficifolia (Red Flowering Gum)
  • Eucalyptus leucoxylon ‘Euky Dwarf’ (Pink Flowering Gum)
  • Eucalyptus ovata (Swamp Gum)
  • Eucalyptus pauciflora ‘Frosty (Edna Walling Little Snowman)
  • Ficus hillii (Hill’s Weeping Fig)
  • Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Red Ash)
  • Gleditsia triacanthos (Golden Locust)
  • Jacaranda mimosifolia (Jacaranda)
  • Lagerstroemia indica (Crepe Myrtle)
  • Lophostemon confertus (Queensland Box Brush)
  • Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia)
  • Melia azedarach (White Cedar)
  • Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island Date Palm)
  • Platanus orientalis var. digitata (Cut-Leaf Oriental Plane Tree)
  • Platanus x acerifolia (London Plane Tree)
  • Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’ (Bradford Pear)
  • Pyrus calleryana ‘Capital’ (Ornamental Pear)
  • Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’ (Chanticleer Callery Pear)
  • Pyrus ussuriensis (Manchurian Pear)
  • Quercus canariensis (Algerian Oak)
  • Quercus coccinea (Scarlet Oak)
  • Quercus palustris ‘Pringreen’ (Green Pillar Pin Oak)
  • Quercus palustrus (Pin Oak)
  • Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’ (Fastigiate English Oak)
  • Quercus robur (English Oak)
  • Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ (Golden Robinia)
  • Tristaniopsis laurina (Water Gum)
  • Ulmus parvifolia (Chinese Elm)
  • Ulmus procera (English Elm)
  • Waterhousea floribunda (Weeping Lilly Pilly)

Most Recent Tree Audit – City of Glen Eira

So this is what we have growing in the city now, and the rough percentage of what is in that mulch – Claret Ash is my favorite.

tree audit Glen Eira city council

How much mulch do you use on the garden, and what’s it made of?

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One thought on “Mulch on a Vegetable Garden

  1. What a fantastic post! I’m a mulch-a-holic. Love the stuff! Yes I agree, ideally you should grow the soil, re-mineralise it with a host of amendments and then cover it I a thick layer of mulch. We make our own for our veg garden .. Using (wait for this) .. Phoenix Palm fronds (dried), olive and fruit tree pruning’s and basically any carbon that can go through our chipper! Think sunflowers, corn stalks … Really enjoyed all your info. I used to live in Melb and think it is brilliant that they are supplying mulch.

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