Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Benefits of Mulch in the Garden

Learn how mulch benefits the health of your plants by retaining moisture and enriching the soil.  Mulch is an organic substance that is laid on top of the soil and around the plant tree or shrub. The mulch may be derived from leaves, pine needles hardwood  chips or bark. I have also used ground pine cones, corn cobs and coconut husks. 

Many people use grass clippings as it is a nutritious from of mulch.  The grass must be dried before it is applied to the garden and a thin layer will benefit your garden.  Heavy grass will prevent the water from getting to your plants roots.  I use dried grass in my tomato garden.  It really is good for the soil.
Whenever I plant I always apply mulch directly after watering.  The best way to apply mulch is to layer it around the plant but not cover the stem region, leave that area mulch-free so the air and water can get to the plant.

Gardens Benefit from Mulch
Mulch is a protective layer that helps the soil to retain moisture.  It also will keep the roots of the plant cool and the mulch will deter weed growth.

When you apply two inches of mulch to you gardens then you will not have to water as often.
Another benefit for using mulch is that the natural substance will break down over time and the nutrients will enrich the soil.

Mulch should not be heavy during the growing season as it will prevent the water from getting to the roots of the plants.  

Normally I will add one to two inches of mulch to my garden beds in June to keep my plants cooler in the summer and to help retain moisture.  

 In late fall when I am getting my gardens ready for winter I will apply up to three inches of mulch.  The winter application of mulch will protect the plants with roots that are close to the soil surface from being damaged from wind, ice or snow.  

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