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Why Mulching Your Garden Is A Good Thing

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Why Mulching Your Garden Is A Good Thing

By Scott Shaw | May 9th, 2017

It’s good to understand why mulching your garden is one of the best things you can do for your garden AND your pocket.

It can be made up of a variety of decomposing organic materials including bark or wood chips (from various tree species), straw, or non-decomposing, non-organic materials such as pebbles and river rock.

Through the use of mulch you can limit the amount of weeds that spring up in the garden. The mulch acts as a barrier, limiting the amount of sunlight that can find its way to the weeds and keeping the soil at an even temperature.

Organic mulches absorb water. Organic and non-organic varieties both cover the soil and limit evaporation. Retaining moisture, especially during hot, dry seasons can not only help plants, but it can also save water.

Mulching not only keeps existing water trapped in the soil, it also keeps rain water from washing away your soil. It does this by breaking the fall of the water and therefore lessening the force when the water impacts the ground. Not only does mulch keep soil nutrients from being washed away with the rain, but it also can release nutrients into the soil if you are using an organic material. This happens as the organic material slowly decomposes on top of the soil.

Using certain types of mulch, such as hardwood chip, can deter certain pests due to the fact that it has natural oils that act as insect repellent.

Using organic material for mulching can encourage earthworms to occupy the garden soil and earthworms help improve soil structure and nutrient cycling.

Mulch gives garden beds a more finished look by filling in the empty spaces while being easy to maintain.

Mulching Procedure:

  1. Pull all weeds out of the garden bed.
  2. Cultivate the soil using a hoe.
  3. Add the appropriate type and amount of fertiliser to the soil.
  4. Add a generous thickness of mulch. The depth of mulch is really important if you want to retain moisture and prevent weed growth. Aim for at least 75-100mm.
  5. Spread the mulch with a mulch fork or rake to ensure an even layer.
  6. You want to ensure that you don’t mulch right up against plant stems and tree trunks. Leave a small margin (approx. 50mm) for the plant to breathe and to help prevent moisture-depletion or water-logging problems.

We recommend that you top up all gardens with leaf mulch once a year. The best time to mulch beds is in late-winter or early spring. This will trap in moisture from wet weather and ensure beds don’t dry out quickly in the heat of summer.

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