Stockpiling and Mulching Question?

I have written entries before how my brother gets pallets of damaged bags of potting soil, garden soil, soil conditioner, manure, bark mulch, river rocks, etc… but I don’t think I ever showed photos, so I took some today to show you how much we have!!!

Stockpile 1

Stockpile 3

Stockpile 2

Stockpile 4

Stockpile 5

Now for my question:

We have a lot of ground cover bark… and I’m thinking of using this instead of the newspaper in my veggie beds.
What are the pros and cons of using ground cover bark in a veggie bed?

Does it change the pH? Should I add something to the soil if it does?

We have lot of pill bugs and earwigs. Does this deter or encourage pests?

Thanks in advance for all your comments :)

( Also posted in Gardening )

  • It would be more attractive if the newspaper shows. Bark would last longer. It might use more nitrogen as it breaks down. It might be more (or less) effective at weed and water modulation…depending on how deep you make both things.

    I’ve also seen newspaper used under bark mulch.

    • I’m using it mainly for water retention, and it has work well so far… I haven’t had to water as much, even in the hot weather…

  • Hmm, some good questions. I would guess it may also depend on what kind of bark. For example, I would expect pine bark to increase acidity, thus impacting the pH.

    Ah, here’s a link that may be useful:
    http://landscaping.about.com/cs/compostandmulch/a/mulches.htm

    BTW, very impressive what your brother has been able to acquire for so little.

    • Thanks for the link… Interesting article… I’ll had to research ways to counteract the lowered pH…

  • When I use bark type mulch I have to add things like nitrogen food, but it is better then newspapers, which are ugly, and get soggy and mildew is encouraged. You can buy them for just 5.99 new or 7.99, it depends, you have to price shop around. I make my own compost. If the bark was not too big in pieces and would add free starbucks coffee, and make a superior compost to any you can buy.

    • What do you add for nitrogen? Wouldn’t the coffee make the soil even more acid?

      • Not once you have completely composted it. See the soil and mulch forum on the Garden Web and read the FAQ there, and also look up composing with coffee, and you can find all the information there. I do not add the coffee directly to the soil, because it is too acid. Any type of plant food for nitrogen, blood meal is organic.

  • wow that’s a whole lot of loot!!

    • Yeah… I guess his years of being a packrat, has it’s benefits :)

  • i have never used coverbark in the veggie beds, but if i had it, i probably would
    just for the helluva it.

    your brother is my new hero.

    • hehe… He does find a lot of stuff… and I’m glad, because I wouldn’t even have thought of buying mulch for the vegetable beds…