DON'T have room for a vegetable garden, so I'm growing lettuces,
strawberries and herbs in pots. When it rains, it splashes potting
mix all over the deck. Can I use white limestone chip as a mulch
or will it affect my plants? If I can't, would plain gravel be ok?
theory, limestone chip could raise soil pH, but decorative white
limestone chip is unlikely to have much effect as it's harder and
far less soluble than garden liming products. I would have no hesitation
in using it as mulch around most plants, including your strawberries,
vegetables and herbs, in pots or in the garden. You
could wash it first to remove any lime dust and, to be on the safe
side, avoid using it around acid-loving plants such as azaleas,
ericas, kalmias and gardenias.
You can also safely achieve
the same effect with other materials such as river pebbles or coarse
pumice. All will not only keep your plants clean but deter weeds,
conserve moisture and give your pots an attractive finish.
To maintain a fresh new
look and remove unsightly algae, you could occasionally soak your
pebbles or chip in a weak bleach solution (one part bleach to 20
parts water) for 20-30 minutes then rinse before putting back on
Gardener, Issue 132, 2003, Page 28
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.