Pine shavings mulch

slowpoke_gardenerJuly 2, 2014

I am going to attempt to show my pine shavings mulch. Until Sat. I thought I was using oak shaving. I had heard that pine can make your soil to acidic and turpentine would leach into your soil, which could be true.

I started using shavings about 3 years ago as mulch, and then after a year or two I would till them into the soil.

When I went to get a load of shavings Saturday I notice the pile was split into two piles. When I ask the owner if anyone had spoken for the shavings, he told "no, I was the only one that used the pine because turpentine would leach into the soil".

I try to get all the free organic matter I can. I also try to watch for nitrogen deficiency and have a soil test from time to time.

Because I have shallow soil the last 5 beds I have made were like a donut. The hole in the center is for watering purposes. The hole is lined with a then layer of compost and then shavings, leaves or hay is placed in the hole to keep it from filling in. In some cases I have taken post hole diggers and dug holes in the center area which were filled some type of organic matter also.

This first picture is a bed I started last year for Seminole Pumpkins, it had the reservoir and post holes both in the center and mulched with pine shavings.

If you notice behind the pumpkins is my south garden. The empty spot is where onions and potatoes were harvested, and it also is partly mulched with pine shavings.

This next picture shows where I tilled in the shavings for this years Sugar Baby melons. The surface of the soil is about 3 inches higher after tilling in the shavings. Also note the compost I am adding to help with nitrogen deficiency.

I will try to show a picture of my melons next to show that pine shaving must not have hurt my plants too bad because I have melons that are 5 or 6 inches in Dia.

Note how high the plants look because of growing up over the pine mulch.

I also have pictures where I am trying to work with VERY sorry soil. That bed was started yesterday. I think it is the sorriest soil I have, but I wanted to see what I could do with it. If anyone is interested I will continue on with those pictures.

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Larry, I don't see how anyone can argue with your results. I doubt that turpentine will leach into the soil. The only danger I've heard of is that the shavings might draw usable nitrogen from the soil. But I have never let that stop me from using that kind of mulch. Since it's mulch, it can break down gradually, on the surface. Once it's broken down, it returns the nitrogen. Building soil like you are doing is wonderful. I've worked a couple of years, turning an old blue stone driveway into a garden. Will have to post a picture. It's coming along. My main ingredient, to start with, was several feet of wood chips from the utilities company.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:17AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Your garden is beautiful and it looks like you are getting a lot of exercise. That garden took lots of work.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:36AM
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Helen, thanks. I have worked on that garden a little over 4 years. The mulch makes it much easier.

George I am looking forward to those pictures.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:52AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Larry, I agree with George and your garden always looks wonderful. That makes me think that the pine shavings you're using are not leaching turpentine into your soil, or at least not in an amount that is harmful.

It is hard to argue with success, and you're having great success with the pine shavings.

I'd just say to myself "goody, more pine shavings for me" and collect all you can get from the mill every time you go there. Don't tell anyone else at that place how well the pine shavings are working for you or they may start wanting to collect/use the pine shavings too.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 7:10PM
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