04 Jun 2024

June Gardening

Now that summer has arrived, it is a good time to add mulch to the garden beds. Mulching is an important landscaping step that is often overlooked despite the fact that it provides many benefits to the existing landscape such as:

  • Improving soil structure and increasing water infiltration.
  • Preventing soil erosion and compaction.
  • Temperature moderation through insulation and moisture retention.
  • Weed control as the barrier that bark products create prevents many weed seeds from germinating, effectively reducing the need for chemical pesticides.

 

Raised Garden Beds

Highway Fuel Co. carries a wide variety of bark and compost products for use in the landscape. Our Bark Products are byproducts of the timber industry and are made locally in the Pacific Northwest using bark from cedar, fir, or hemlock trees. Our base compost is USCC Certified and is produced on-site from local recycled yard debris.

Cedar

The benefits of using Cedar include:
  • It breaks down very slowly and won’t need to be replaced as often.
  • It naturally releases an oil that smells pleasant and repels some insects like mosquitos, ants, flies, fleas, and ticks.
  • When used as mulch it retains water, suppresses weeds, and provides insulation.
cedar-chips
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Cedar Chips and Hog Fuel are nice, natural golden-colored bark products that are a great option to use as ground cover, paths, dog runs, and under play structures. 

Hemlock

Hemlock is known for its naturally beautiful long-lasting color. We carry both Red and Dark Hemlock. Red Hemlock is fresh and has a rich red/brown color whereas Dark Hemlock is aged, giving it a warm brown color. It can be used in soil mixes, as mulch, and on trails.  Hemlock Bark is a favorite for gardeners as it has the following benefits:

  • The fibers are soft fibers and therefore have fewer slivers than other bark products which makes it more child and pet friendly.
  • Beautiful, natural, long-lasting color.
  • When used as a mulch it retains water, suppresses weeds, and provides insulation.
  • Can help acidify the soil around acid-loving plants like azaleas, blueberries, rhododendrons, and trees.
Red Hemlock
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Fir

Fir bark is a favorite among landscapers and offers the following benefits:

  • Used as a soil amendment, it can help break up clay in compacted soils or provide erosion prevention on sloped areas, pathways, and running trails.
  • Can help acidify the soil around acid-loving plants like azaleas, blueberries, and rhododendrons.
  • Makes a nice mulch in flower beds and vegetable garden beds as it helps retain moisture, reduces weeds, and stabilizes the temperature.
  • Can be dyed either Red or Brown color, which will last 2 to 3 times as long and contain fewer slivers than the undyed product.
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Fir is the most popular bark product that we sell as it is an efficient and economical choice that creates a natural appearance. It comes in a variety of sizes and colors including Medium Fir, Dark Fir, Dark Fine Fir, Chips, Nugget, Hog Fuel. We also stock our dyed in-house fir products: Mocha Bark and Coastal Red. Fir bark is versatile and can be used as a soil amendment, in soil mixes, as mulch, and on trails. 

Compost

Fir bark is a favorite among landscapers and offers the following benefits:

  • Used as a soil amendment it can help break up clay in compacted soils or provide erosion prevention on sloped areas, pathways, and running trails.
  • Makes a nice mulch in flower beds and vegetable garden beds as it helps retain moisture, promotes healthy plant growth, and improves soil health to plants in an organic form.
  • Rich, dark brown color.
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For those in the need of mulch with a higher nutritional value, Compost is a great option. Our Base Compost is a popular and economical choice, though we also have additional options such as Fine Dairy Compost and Compost Mix, which is a mix of the two different types. Ask us about our USCC certified Compost!

Us Composting Council
10 May 2024

May Gardening

Plant a Flower Garden for Mother’s Day
Fresh cut flowers are one of the most popular Mother’s Day gifts, with Americans spending billions of dollars on them annually. Bouquets make for a beautiful gift, but they aren’t the only option. Mother’s Day is one of the biggest planting times for warm-season flowers, so it is a great time to plant your garden in time for it to be enjoyed all season long. The following flowers can be planted outdoors on or around Mother’s Day: Marigolds, Geraniums, Bee Balm, Calendula, Cosmos, Nasturtium, Strawflower, Sunflower, Begonia, Dahlias, and Zinnias. Next time you are at our retail office, take a walk around our retail area and look at the flower garden we planted in the decorative rock area.
Plant a Warm-Season Annual Garden
This time of year is ideal for planting a warm-season annual garden as the weather turns warm. Most plants used in warm-season gardens are annuals that must be replanted each year. Mother’s Day is also typically the right time to plant temperature-sensitive varieties, such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, and corn, now that the danger of frost has passed. We are in the process of planting our own pumpkin patch comprised of giant and regular-sized pumpkins with our USCC certified compost that we now make onsite. Stay tuned for updates!

Garden Soil Preparation
One of the most common gardening mistakes is not feeding the soil before planting. A healthy, living, nutrient-rich soil is key to having a successful garden. Healthy soil is made up of both living and nonliving elements that together provide the basis for maintaining plant life. Plants, like us, require a well-balanced diet of nutrients which should be provided by the soil, rather than synthetic fertilizers. One of the best ways to feed the soil is to amend it with organic matter, such as compost, which will break down slowly over time. Currently, we carry two types of compost made from either yard debris or dairy cow manure, or you can purchase them together as Compost Mix.

New Product Alert – Worm Castings
Stay tuned! In the near future we will begin carrying a new and exciting soil amendment: worm castings! This is the result of composting worms, such as Red Wigglers, consuming organic matter and producing a waste product that is beneficial and safe for all plants. When used as a soil amendment, its diverse microbial populations and nutrient content act as a natural fertilizer to provide the following benefits to both the soil and the plants:
• Improve soil structure
• Conserve water and increase drought tolerance
• Provide micro and macro nutrients that are in a plant-available form