In the garden: Happy tomatos but weird mold
It's not as bad as it sounds, I hope:
As you can see, those are happy tomatoes; nice thick hairy stems, no blight on the leaves, flowers coming. What's even more interesting is that I planted them in a shady patch; they only get late afternoon sun. I had some volunteers there last year, one of which grew right out of a rose bush (!), so I thought I'd make the spot an official patch this year, especially as I'm rotating everything.
Now, about that mold: It's growing on top of some sea-food mulch I got from a vendor who's been very reliable in past years. Last year, he didn't have any, and explained that his supplier had been shut down by the Feds; he'd been getting the makings from coastal restaurants. This year, the mulch is back again, but I'm wondering if it's from a different vendor, specially, evil Casella, the landfill owner. I'm wondering that because this year's mulch smells different from the last mulch: The odor is really lingering, and somehow a little chemical. It's really strong stuff that gave my cucurbits transplant shock, again unlike this last batch. And now this mold.
Then again, last night it rained heavily, so I suppose the mold could have come from the straw, through the newspaper, and then found a happy home in the mulch. Readers, do you think I need to worry about this?
Used for centuries in Eastern Europe and Germany, hugelkultur (in German hugelkultur translates roughly as “mound culture”) is a gardening and farming technique whereby woody debris (fallen branches and/or logs) are used as a resource.
Often employed in permaculture systems, hugelkultur allows gardeners and farmers to mimic the nutrient cycling found in a natural woodland to realize several benefits. Woody debris (and other detritus) that falls to the forest floor can readily become sponge like, soaking up rainfall and releasing it slowly into the surrounding soil, thus making this moisture available to nearby plants.
I have plenty of woodscraps, because I've heated with wood, and so I thought I'd experiment with hugelculture. I piled the scraps up last fall, then added some sand and stone dust this year, and planted the tomatoes in it. As you can see, they like it, so I might do that some more. Maybe a better way than the seafood mulch, if it turns out I should stop using the stuff.