Mulching is another essential requirement for maintaining a healthy, easy to maintain garden. Mulch helps to keep moisture in the soil and keep heat, drought and pests at bay. A little effort will produce BIG results. Mulching is the process of spreading material around plants and trees, which protect roots and delicate stems from high temperatures. Mulching also suppresses weed growth (saves you time later). As the material breaks down, it assists in amending the soil. The soil will LIKE THAT and grow better, healthier, happier plants.
How to Mulch Properly
Mulching is one of the easier chores in the garden. Natural mulching materials will decompose, which will improve the soil. You can use materials such as newspapers, straw, leaves, grass clippings, bark, wood chips and of course, composted matter. Here is an organic gardening tip for you: when making your own mulch layers, may I suggest laying down the less attractive materials first, then top those with the more attractive materials. If you would like to use mulch that has been prepared commercially, please scroll to the bottom of the page. There I have listed some effective, organic mulches for you to choose from.
There is one item that needs to be stressed regarding applying mulch: Do not allow the mulch material to touch the stem of any of the plants. Why? You might ask? Piling mulch against the base of plants may cause moisture to build up and can contribute to root rot and crown rot. Additionally, some insects might use mulch cover to hide in while they munch on the stems of your precious plants. So, let’s not make it too easy for them. We just won’t provide that cover for them to hide in. Don’t allow the mulch any closer than three inches to any of your plants.
Benefits of Mulching
In addition to reducing soil moisture loss, mulch also reduces crusting and soil compaction, (which makes it more difficult for plants to use that soil). Finally, mulch prevents soil erosion. Please don’t consider gardening without deciding to mulch.