Now, I follow Reformation Acres.  She is actually one of my favorite bloggers, and if you are into homesteading at any level, I would really recommend you read some of her stuff. I really like a lot of her ideas. She has talked  a lot about the culture in the dirt, and encouraging the best soil food web for what you are growing in that spot. Orchards prefer wood chip mulch, gardens prefer straw mulch, because that is what would fall naturally in the area. I think this makes a lot of sense.

However, I have a problem. I live in a super duper horribly windy area. Winds strong enough to blow my neighbors all wood playhouse (like this) over three times last year, until they replaced it with a metal one. Someone gave them a trampoline, and they quadruple tethered it to the ground which worked beautifully, until their dog chewed through one of the straps, and then the trampoline blew over our henhouse, and nearly blew over the 15 foot tall sound wall between us and the highway. When we got it down, the circle part was bent like a pringles chip. So, yeah, we have bad winds.

In 2012 I mulched with wood chips. Now, my yields weren’t great, but I made a lot of mistakes, like not watering regularly, and planting late, and crowding my plants. But once I started watering, I only had to water once or twice a week. Even with the heat and wind, with the mulch my beds retained water beautifully. And there were almost no weeds. Yay!

This year I decided to try mulching with hay, as it was easier to get than wood chips. I laid down a nice thick layer of straw. . . and it all blew away within 3 days. Not to mention that the straw, which was supposed to be weed free brought tons of weeds to my bed.

So even though I think that the soil biology would be better with different mulches on the garden then the orchard, I think I’m going to go with wood chips all around next year, because the straw won’t stay. If any one has a better idea, let me know in the comments.