Posts Tagged ‘mulch’

duckies 008

In the midst of selling loam and mulch, lime and fertilizer, grass seed and crabgrass preventer — our chickens and ducks arrive. We always wait until after Easter so they are not bought as throw-away pets. It’s a bit of a hassle for us as we are busy at this time and the chicks require some tending. Still, it’s a rite of spring here and we though it is probably not worth it to us, it’s a bit of tradition.

And, no, we don’t keep them in a cardboard box.

They are fun to watch grow. If you’re serious about having your own fresh eggs some day, the children and grandchildren will love them! We have all you need to raise your own… everything from feed to waterers to chicken coops.

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Why use straw mulch?

Photo by Sebastian Kasten (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Don’t mess with my straw bale!

Straw  provides a lightweight airy mulch,  which lets rain through, smothers weeds, and adds organic matter to the soil, improving its structure. It is a cheap mulch compared to many commercial mulches.  Hay mulch is cheaper but straw is the proper choice because it has few if any seeds.  Straw also doesn’t use up as much nitrogen in the soil as some wood-based mulches such as wood chips. Straw also works well on steep slopes where erosion might be a problem. You can “crimp it in” to the soil using a shovel.

Straw, with its light color, reflects light to your plants and helps to keep heat from the soil, keeping soil temperature steady… while of course doing the main job of a mulch–conserving moisture.

Straw just “feels good” in a garden. It generally stays clean-looking during the season and feels good under foot. Also — is there a better “natural” garden seat than a straw bale?

Problems using straw mulch

Many people find that various tunneling garden pests like moles, shrews, and voles love a good straw mulch, too.  Some of these critters are vegetarians and may enjoy feasting on your tulip bulbs or other off-limit foods.

Using straw mulch

Best practice involves applying a new layer of straw mulch in the summer for heat protection and moisture retention. Use gloves and pull 3-inch-thick sections off the bale, fluff them up and apply them. Keep the mulch layer “fluffy” for best results. Many people find a thin layer of newspaper added underneath works well.

In the spring the straw will have begun to decompose and can be pulled back to allow the soil to warm. When the soil becomes workable you can work any soft, rotted straw into the soil along with fertilizer.

If bought in the fall (maybe as part of your autumn decoration) it can be applied and left after on vacant beds or where rodent damage is not a threat.  Otherwise let the straw bales begin to rot and they will be fine to apply in late spring.

Hey, if you’re in Massachusetts, come visit us!

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We were taking a local mulch order the other day when the customer noted that she had been buying mulch every year for more than 10 years.  “The price of mulch has gone up so fast the past few years”, she noted.

Don’t we know it. And it just doesn’t seem right when economic conditions have been the worst in 70 years, with high unemployment, smaller consumer budgets–and lower demand for mulch and other landscaping materials.

It was more than higher grinding and transportation costs due to rising fuel prices. Although mulch raw material cost is always affected by higher fuel cost in raw material trucking and processing  (as is delivery to homeowners and middlemen), there was more to it this time. We were no longer riding the wave of higher home prices and home building.

Bark mulches are chiefly made from bark slabs trimmed from logs by mills as a by-product of  lumber production. As the construction industry slowed and the house builders were truly clobbered, mills sharply curtailed production. The result was less bark supply and lumber mills that were eager to raise pricing to make up for reduced lumber sales. Even land clearing operations diminished resulting in fewer wood chips on the market.

All this reduction in wood by-products ocurred just as wood pellet manufacturers, driven by a jump in those installing wood pellet stoves, took huge amounts of wood off the market.

Wood shavings and sawdust

Prices on farm supply products were even more affected by this.  Sawdust and wood shavings bedding for horses or in dairies is more of a necessity than mulch.  Here, too, there was less demand as folks “went a little longer” or maybe substituted hay or straw. But in this market there was a true shortage of wood shavings in the northeast US.  At one point we saw potential new customers for bulk shavings scrambling to find supply, but we were having to ration supply to our own best customers. We scrambled to find new suppliers, too, reaching further up into Canada.  We even set up one of our grinders to produce a new bedding product for us: “wood grindings”.  Sure, it was not ideal, but it was cheaper and usable.  Desperate times, desperate measures.

Two men with beards and hats stand in front of a bark hut.

Folks have made bark slab houses. We like grinding bark to mulch.

Thankfully that crunch seems to be behind us for now, but some pricing pressures remains.

Bridgewater Farm Supply is located in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

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Bridgewater Farm Supply has the best mulch prices per cubic yard in Southeast Massachusetts, including Plymouth County and Bristol County.  As the area’s largest mulch supplier, we are able to pass on discounts on mulch per cubic yard to contractors and homeowners.  Even though we sell quality cheap mulch all year long, we offer some additional discounts on mulch delivery  early in the season.

Buy Mulch Online

This April 2011 we began a new store at http://www.bridgewaterfarm.com accepting C.O.D. and credit card orders for mulch online. The new site has been well received by Brockton area mulch customers and has fit in well with our existing local mulch delivery system. Other landscaping materials sold on bridgewaterfarm.biz include wood chips, topsoil, compost and mulch hay.

Mulch Delivery Area

Our delivery area includes Bridgewater, Abington,  Acushnet,  Assonet,   Attleboro,   Avon,   Barnstable,  Bellingham,   Berkley,   Billerica,  Boston, Bourne, Braintree,  Brockton,  Canton,  Carver,  Chatham,  Dartmouth,  Dedham,   Dighton, Duxbury,  East Bridgewater,  Easton, Everett,   Foxboro,  Freetown,  Halifax,  Hanover, Hanson,  Harwich,  Hingham, Holbrook,  Hull, Kingston,  Lakeville,  Mansfield,   Marion,   Marshfield,  Mashpee,  Medford,   Middleboro, Milton,  New Bedford,  Newton,   Norfolk,  Norton,  Norwell,   Norwood,   Pembroke, Plainville,   Plymouth,  Plympton,  Quincy, Randolph,   Raynham,  Rehoboth, Rochester,  Rockland,  Sandwich,   Scituate ,  Seekonk,  Sharon,  Sherborn,    Somerset,   Stoughton,  Sutton, Taunton, Walpole,   Wareham,   and West Bridgewater. To keep our low mulch prices we have to charge more the longer the trucking distance.

Come visit us online now!

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