Our business model has changed
With a training center, tool center, and thousands of stones on display, you would think that AJT Supplies was all about providing you with the tools to transform your home. As the years have gone on, we still provide homeowners with materials, but our approach to masonry and hardscape has changed. Now, we strongly encourage homeowners to not only purchase their supplies from us, but to also have us do the work that you want done.
We have had the privilege of selling materials to thousands of customers every year, but we can no longer sit back and watch homeowners build walls with stones that are not spread an equal distance apart, stairs that crack within a year, or patios that lack the attractiveness provided by a professional touch.
Over the years, we have had too many customers call AJT Projects to repair or redo their self-made work. Therefore, what seemed to have cost you less in the short term actually ended up costing you more. While we are more than happy to help such customers, we do not want you to go through this suffering.
The AJT Crew has been providing Massachusetts residents with affordable pricing, outstanding craftsmanship, and legendary customer service spanning seventy years and three generations. Thus, our greatest asset is our experience, as the next job is always easier than the previous one. Whatever you want done, we are willing to bet that we have done it or something similar in the recent past. Repetition leads to mastery and precision, two significant qualities that the average homeowner lacks. Learn from the mistakes of others and let AJT get you the material and then install it too. Not only will that save you money, but your yard will shine like never before.
The biggest benefit we can tell you is that mulching saves you time and money. No matter whether you are thinking of flower or vegetable gardens, mulch makes gardens healthier, reduces weeds and is more resistant to drought during dry periods, so it saves you time in watering, weeding and dealing with pest problems.
There are two kinds of mulch – organic and and inorganic. Organic mulches consist of previously living material like grass, leaves, wood chips, bark, sawdust, pine needles, paper and compost. Inorganic would be stones, gravel, black plastic and landscape fabrics.
While both mulches work against weeds, the organic kind also decomposes into the soil and makes the soil rich and healthy.
In using mulch to fight weeds, you need to prepare the garden first by clearing it of weeds already there and laying a somewhat thick layer of mulch (4 to 6 inches) to discourage any weeds from growing through. In particularly “weedy” areas, you can place your plants in the soil, water well, and spread newspaper around them BEFORE applying the thick layer of mulch.
Be aware that thick organic mulch may also cause some problems since it retains moisture which means there is a risk of roots rotting, so with plants clear about 1” around the roots and in trees and shrubs clear about 6 to 12 inches.
With regard to compost, it is fine to use it as a mulch to enrich soil BUT it is recommended that you spread it thinly and then cover over with an organic mulch to ensure moisture retention.
For those of you with larger properties, here are a few tips for saving some money…
- For shredded leaves, you could clear the fallen leaves around trees, shred them and work them into the soil in the Fall.
- For wood chips, there may be tree maintenance companies or utilities that will sell what they have to you for a minimum price OR community yard waste collection companies offering chipped yard debris or composted grass clippings and fall leaves to residents for free or for a small fee.
If you had mulch like stone, plastic, etc., this is not biodegradable material. We are only speaking of materials such as bark, leaves, straw, etc.
The answer depends on whether last year’s mulch is still in good condition to be used again or whether it is no longer useable and becomes waste.
How do I tell if the mulch is still good?
You can determine that by scooping up some in your hands. If it breaks down into fine particles and is hard to distinguish from the earth in the garden, it is time to replace it. If it has retained the look and feel of when you bought it, you can most likely reuse it, UNLESS you had disease problems in your plants, flowers and/or bushes last year.
How do I re-use Mulch? Do I have to buy new as well?
First gather up the old mulch and set it aside in order to prepare the area you are going to do planting. Then if you have compost you want to add to the soil, do so and work the compost into the soil and then plant your seeds or transplant the plants, flowers and shrubs you have recently bought for this year – then and only then re-apply the mulch you have over the top.
What if I am still not sure if the mulch is still useable?
You spend a lot of time preparing and then growing your garden in order to get the results you want. If you are unsure, be aware that you can still use the older mulch. BUT, you would work it into the existing soil as organic matter so it can work along with the compost. And buy new mulch to apply over the new seeds and transplanting you are doing for this season.
What about “Living Mulches”?
This kind of mulch is used to cover your vegetable garden or flowerbeds to protect them from winter’s harsh elements. You can reuse it the same way you would use questionable mulch from last year. Sow it into the earth below as it contributes nutrients to the soil.
How do I dispose of old mulch?
You can check with your city or community to see what guidelines you must follow to dispose of mulch.
You may be wondering why you need to be safe when gardening or landscaping. What could be dangerous in a garden?
Here are a few tips on how to be safe. Plan ahead to have everything you need at hand….
- Depending on what you want to do to create your garden and property, it is always advisable to check “under” your property – i.e. gas lines, wiring, water pipes, etc. You may not have considered what you will find when you dig down far enough and not only can it be dangerous, it could create a very expensive repairs.
- Gardening gloves are a must for protection from sharp objects in the soil, insect bites, allergic reactions, toxic ingredients in fertilizers, gardeners tools like trowels, etc. and the list goes on. Fully read directions on all the materials you will be in contact with. You might even need to get a mask, if some ingredients are toxic.
- Are you going to move heavy objects – stone or quantities of earth, larger plants or shrubs or young trees or patio stones, bags of gardening materials like fertilizer, grass seed, etc? You are going to need a wheelbarrow to move them
- Gardening can be hard work. If you are a new gardener, be mindful of the stress to unused muscles and joints. And even if you don’t have back issues, you may develop some new aches and pains you didn’t anticipate. There are cushioned pads to kneel on and small portable stools you can use to sit on to ease strains.
- Last but not least, be prepared with sunscreen and sunglasses and possibly a hat. Hours in the sun can do harm.
Now that you are ready, go create that beautiful garden or backyard you’ve dreamed of! There is nothing so rewarding as working to provide a beautiful outside space you and your friends and family can enjoy!