According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, mulch’s definition is “a protective covering (as of sawdust, compost, or paper) spread or left on the ground to reduce evaporation, maintain even soil temperature, prevent erosion, control weeds, enrich the soil, or keep fruit (such as strawberries) clean”.  In other words, mulch is a really good thing to use in your garden and it provides many benefits. Mulch is any material that shields the soil surface while also allowing air and water through it. Spreading mulch out in your garden after planting is a great way to finish off your garden. Using mulch will help you spend less time watering, weeding, and fighting pests.

Mulch does 3 things:

Retains Soil Moisture – mulch prevents the soil from drying out.

Suppresses Weeds – mulch prevents sunlight from reaching the soil and therefore new weeds can’t grow.

Provides A Protective Blanket – mulch shields the soil from varying weather conditions during the summer and winter.

Oher benefits mulch provides:

  • Slowing down of soil erosion, especially on inclines.
  • If your mulch is organic (such as chopped leaves, grass clippings, or pine needles) it will break down and feed the soil.
  • Prevents soil compaction
  • Keeps soil from splattering up on flowers and vegetables.
  • It improves the nutrient content since it boosts earthworm activity.

How to Use Mulch In The Garden

Spread a 3-4 inch layer of mulch over your soil.  We recommend using an organic mulch material and spread it out evenly into a nice thick layer.  Make sure the mulch does not make contact with the plant roots or tree trunks because the mulch can retain moisture and cause plants and trees to rot.

There are two kinds of mulch:

Organic Mulch

This type of much includes items that were previously living material.  This would include previously mentioned elements and also straw, compost, wood chips, or shredded bark.

Inorganic Mulch

This type of mulch consists of such items as gravel, stones, and black plastic.

There are reasons to use inorganic mulches, such as one with black plastic, which keeps the soil warm and emits heat in the evening. This type of mulch is used for heat-loving vegetables such as tomatoes and eggplants.

When gardening with mulch we suggest you wear gloves as wood chips and bark might give you splinters.

While mulch is beneficial in the garden, people do make mistakes in its use.  Check out this article on avoiding making mulch mistakes when mulching in your yard.  

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