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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Benefits of MULCH

Personally, I believe that mulching your garden is right up there in importance as washing your face and brushing your hair. When it comes to washing and brushing, you just do it. You do it every day, and if you don't do it, you don't feel right. Right?

That's the same for mulching garden beds. Whether you're growing in containers, raised beds, or straight into the ground, your plants will be very, very happy to have some nice cozy mulch all tucked in around their bases. Sure, they might survive and do OK without it, but they will do SO much better with it. 

When to mulch? Any time. But ideally, in fall or early spring. If its mid-late spring, or summer, and you haven't mulched, you still can. In fact, I highly encourage you to finish reading this, and then immediately go spread some mulch. But if you have time to plan ahead for next year, try to make mulch part of that plan for fall. It's easy, there's usually plenty of material (leaves) available, and it will already be in place to prevent weed growth in the spring. If you're mulching in late winter or spring, let the ground thaw first. 

What to use?

Wood Chips: These can be applied very thickly, several inches even. When you want to plant something, dig a small hole in the wood chips and then dig down to plant the roots of your plant into the actual soil. Then move the woodchips back into place once planted.

Straw: Make sure to find STRAW, not hay. Hay has tons of seed heads in it, you don't want those sprouting up in your garden!

Dry leaves: Some gardeners say you should mulch them with a mowing mulcher first, personally, I don't think it matters a whole lot. Just be sure they are completely dry before using

Lawn clippings: Not the world's most recommended, but, its free! (If you have a lawn, or access to lawn clippings, that is) Just be careful and make sure there are no chemical pesticides. In the photo above I have a thin layer of dry lawn clippings for mulch. You can see all the little white elm seed pods that came down during the last wind storm. Typically, these seed pods are very invasive, will germinate and root down anywhere they land on dirt. Thankfully, my lawn clipping mulch blocked their landing, and a vast majority of the seed pods just landed right on top, with no way to germinate or take root in the soil before. Much less weed pulling for me!
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