Horticultural fleece for use as soil stabilizer
Hi I am looking for a fleece to use as a stable soil base. I live in the eastern US and my area of the US are not very frosty but some of the summers are very humid. I would like something like pea-chips but for soil. Is it easy to install and do I need to cover it for any length of time? Thanks, Paul
You can use pea straw as a substitute for pea-chips.
While the straw may not have much of a stabilizing effect on your soil, it will keep the soil from getting wet and/or turning to mush in the summer.
Install it in small bales of a few cubic feet or larger, or scatter them over your garden.
You may need to do it during the dormant season, since your soil won't be as dry as it will be in the spring and fall.
Also, if you are looking for fertilizer, you should consider pea straw.
You may be able to apply a thin layer of straw to the ground when the temperatures are cool, even during the winter. You can also use it in combination with some well-aged manure to provide nitrogen. Just be sure to use the dry type, so you don't get straw-mold.
You can apply pea straw to the soil in fall and spring. Don't apply too early, or you'll have moldy pea straw. It should just be a thin layer of straw - don't worry about trying to mulch it.
Pea straw is a great insulator, which will keep the soil cooler in the summer and keep the ground drier and warmer in winter.
It is said to be the most effective mulch available to organic growers
as well as being one of the few effective weeds killers available
to organic growers. (source)
If you have a heavy seedbed (such as clay), try adding a small amount of shredded leaf mulch, such as shredded paper or shredded corn husks to help increase drainage and provide water absorption for the soil.
I've found it is always a good idea to apply some straw when fertilizing with manure, since you're going to add nitrogen anyway. This not only protects the soil from being destroyed by the manure, but will also help control the soil fungus (black mold), which tends to flourish in manure, too.
For a thin layer, I usually use just a layer of the straw on top of the manure, followed by a layer of wood chips on top of the straw, and then composted manure. I just make sure that the wood chips are very well saturated with manure, so they won't rot before the manure is even applied.
It is a very good mulch, being light, dry and insulating. I use it between the first and second season and it keeps the soil cool and it saves a lot of watering. It doesn't do much to the root growth but it does protect the soil from moisture loss. My biggest problem with it is how fast it blows away! I have to cover it up at the end of the season because the birds will not leave it alone.