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i mulch as much as i can with whatever i can. i learned early on that in a large garden, i start out ahead of the weeds, but if i dont keep ahead of em they soon get ahead of me! in earlier gardening years ive been so busy pulling weeds that i didnt have time to get to mulching: a vicious cycle! nowadays i try to have at least some mulching material ahead of time so i dont get behind in the first place.

i'm gardening in a completely new situation this year tho. (i was in high plains of new mexico before) now i am in the ozarks with little or no water to supplement rainfall. my guess is that here i'll want to lay off the mulch until the soil dries decently--mulch could keep it sopping wet. in cold new mexico i would hold off mulching till the soil warmed. ive not had problems with vermin due to mulch.
 

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no kidding! between the rocks and the roots it's taking me a couple of hours of actual working time to open, say, 50 square feet of usable bed. after that tho the soil looks like its got a nice texture. just crumbles nicely when tapped with the back of a shovel. at least mostly. i didnt think id be able to dig this time of year at all. thought that if the soil weren't frozen it'd be too sticky to work. so im opening a bed at a time and getting some lime working on 'em right away.
 
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