mind expanding nonsense

March Mulching Madness

mulch madness 007

Well March is almost over, Spring is here, at least in my part of Southern California, and it’s time to turn the garden up to full blast.  See, my other passion, besides drawing pseudo-psychedelic mammary laden, bathroom humor (never gets old) pen n ink drawings is: organic gardening.  I’m a firm believer in growing your own…everything.  And when you’re fortunate enough to live on some of the best agricultural land in the world (the Oxnard plain), which is situated in a Mediterranean climate, where it never snows and rarely if ever gets a frost, well, the growing gods are with ya year round.

There’s nothing better than eating your own food, fresh from the garden, that’s pesticide free and not genetically altered.  In my opinion, Ya gotta watch what you put in your body, and know where it comes from, if you want to enjoy healthy living.  Plus, being in tune with the seasons, helps one stay grounded (no pun intended), and in harmony with the cosmos.

mulch madness 008

This year I’m trying something new.  Well, it’s not actually new,  I’ve known about it since the early 70’s.  It’s the ” No Dig”, no cultivation method, popularized by Ruth Stout.  Simply put, her method follows nature, where fallen debris such as leaves, flowers and other organic materials lay on the ground through winter, decompose, and provide a rich, humus soil from which seedlings emerge in the Spring.  She claimed God invented it, and come to think of she may be right; I’ve never seen God out in my backyard turning over dirt with a shovel.  Keeping a permanent layer of mulch (straw, leaves or other organic material) in ones garden was her method in a nutshell (which also makes an excellent mulch).

mulch madness 011

So, here we go.  I’m giving the No Work method a try this year…Sure hope It works, and not me.  But I’m also doing this out of necessity.  See, even though I might live in gardeners paradise here by the coast, the major downside is we’ve had very little rain this year, and last year too [Global warming???  Hell no couldn’t be].  And I need to conserve water.  Mulching with straw  is hopefully the answer, and it’s cheap @ $7.50 a bale.  A good mulch, while not only breaking down and turning into compost, also prevents water evaporation, keeping one’s soil moist, and plants happy.  Sure wanna keep my  plants happy, especially my Happy Plants.

mulch madness 006

Here’s what I’m growing:  Top photo is Red Sails leaf lettuce mulched with straw, with a row of carrots.  Carrots and lettuce are ‘companion plants” and grow well together.

Photo #2:  Early Girl tomato.  Loves it right next to the house with and intense eastern exposure.

Photo #3: Close-up of  #1

Photo #4: Raised bed, mulched with straw with (from right to left) garlic, beets and more Red Sails lettuce.

Photo # 5:  (below) Cherry Tomato, Swiss Chard and more garlic.

Photo #6: (below #5) Sugar peas, edible pods.

mulch madness 003

mulch madness 004


Comments on: "March Mulching Madness" (30)

  1. Good luck Hans. I have been prepping my soils and will be transplanting carrot and tomato seedlings next week now that (hopefully) our last freeze is past us.

  2. Grrrrr….I’m so jealous of your stupid “springness” in your Southern Cali parts.
    Your garden beds look awesome. I can’t wait for MY time to come.

  3. Holy crap… your patch puts my veggie/herb garden to shame. Nice work, Sir!

    • Thanks…I’ve been into it for a while, and gradually expanded what’s under cultivation…or should I now say _ Mulch.


  4. well I’ve got my herbs in and next week we will plant veggies. I should have planted seeds but didn’t think to. We are sure looking forward to it! Your stuff looks very good already.

    • The lettuce is doing very well with our damn cool coastal climate…good luck on the herbs and veggies.


    • We’re doomed if I’m the future…thanks for the link, I’m gonna check it out.


  5. Hansi…I feel the same…I have carrot, radish, chard, spinach, okra and squash growing…..my grapes, limes, tangerine and orange are looking good too…..cannot wait!

    • Groovy….You must live in a moderate climate to have citrus growing. It’s always best to grow your own 🙂


  6. Well, I’m impressed:)

    • Thanks, but you need not be impressed. Simple gardening is not rocket science.


  7. Very impressive hansi!

  8. Condo living now. Wish I had a small plot to do something like this.

  9. Raised beds,,.yes! Only way to go! I’ve been putting them in gradually and will eventually (hopefully this year) have a total of 5 fairly large ones. Since I live on a wooded property I chip a lot of fallen branches for mulch. It’s a never-ending supply. Soil is horrible (mostly sand) so I put a lot of compost in the raised beds and fortunately, since they are raised beds, the compost stays put. And now that I have a 5-foot high and 2-foot deep fence around the whole shebang, I’m expecting the critters to stay on their side of the fence. Which is the outside.

    • Wow…that’s great. I don’t have critters and varmints to worry about, but all the neighborhood cats seem to think that my raised beds are just on big litter box. Evil shitting cats.


      • That’s because the soil is so nice and soft and well worked. They don’t have to dig very hard! The cats at the barn where I keep my horse use the indoor riding ring for the same reason. Definitely a big litter box!

  10. I am so interested in this method. I’m going to do a little more reading so I’m sure I’ve got the idea down, but I think you’re onto something. I have always had a good vegetable garden, but this year I wasn’t sure what to do! Last year’s just didn’t do what I thought it should for all the time and attention–and money–that I threw at it. I was just about to say I’d take a year off and now you’ve got me wondering. I do have herbs that have managed to survive winter and are coming back beautifully. I’m very intrigued. 🙂

    • Check out Ruth Stout’s method, it’s pretty simple. Only problem is: where do ya get a bale of hay in L A?


  11. Snoring Dog Studio said:

    Not ready to put in veggies yet here, but the plots are ready and waiting. I’m not going overboard this year with veggies – I say that now, but we’ll see if I can hold to it. My work now involves raising my paved path so that it doesn’t sit under water and ice in the winter. That is one ghastly, exhausting job.

    • That does seem like a big job. Can ya get some teenagers to work for ya cheap via a Youth Employment service or something like that in your state?


  12. You’ve nailed it Hansi – given the mild climate this is the way to go. Vancouver is awash with new growth right now – a mild winter and a gorgeous spring has covered gardens and trees with a multitude of flowers and bursting buds. Veggies are up everywhere and looking good. This city is funding and promoting communal gardens with raised beds and edibles and folks are totally into it…You are lucky indeed to have your own garden – go for it…

    • Sounds like Vancouver is a pretty progressive, hip place, It’s always best to grow your own 🙂


  13. You really make it seem really easy along with your presentation however I to find this topic to be really something which I feel I’d never understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very broad for me. I’m taking a look ahead for your subsequent post, I will try to get the hold of it!

    • Putting a seed in the ground, watering it, and watching it grow is indeed a complex process, mastered only by the few. I’d stay with renting cars. Problem is ya can’t eat em.

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