What’s Good About Mulch?

What’s Good About Mulch?

And what a strange word, do you agree with me? Say “mulch” fast ten times-I could only do it four before laughing. It just doesn’t sound right after the first few.

Mulch is simply a 3-8 inch covering over your plants. And yet something that simple can be hugely beneficial to both you and your plants. It keeps the soil warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, retains moisture-reducing need for water, almost eliminates weeds and can protect from soil erosion.

If you use organic types of mulch, your plants will love you more. They will use those nutrients to strengthen and grow bigger and better. Our earth benefits as well.

In our area, you should wait to mulch until the soil has warmed a little and the moisture is mostly out (I know, hard in the Northwest) but I usually get the best results mulching in late March or April, after a couple days of sunny skies.

According to Rodale’s Successful Organic Gardening Herbs, here are some organic mulches to consider:

  • Straw-Need about 6-8 inches worth and don’t touch the plants with it. Note: keep an eye on nitrogen levels if using straw and don’t use it for veggies.
  • Leaves– Best chopped up. Need 2-5 inches.
  • Pine Needles– Recommend 2-4 inches but don’t use them around non-acid-loving plants.
  • Bark Chips (Shredded) – Need a 2-4 inch layer but can tie up nitrogen so don’t use for veggies.
  • Grass Clippings– Why not? Beats driving it to a dump place. Use 1-4 inches around plantings and make sure clippings do not have herbicides applied. Use caution with tender seedlings.
  • Compost– 1 or more inches around plants.

Ready? Mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch… (Did I trip you up?)

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