There are many reasons to use mulch in your vegetable or flower garden. If you have never used mulch before, you might not realize the benefits. Mulch is utilized to conserve water, keep weeds under control and contribute to the nutrients in the soil.
If you don’t have access to the elements that create this protective covering, you might wonder if adding mulch is essential for your garden. The answer is that if you have garbage, you basically have mulch. Although organic mulch is better, which includes grass clippings, leaves, cardboard, and newspaper, any mulch can help promote water retention and growth.
If you aren’t sure how to manage the mulch for your plants, the following post gives some great tips:
Choosing the Right Mulch for Vegetable Gardens: Gardener’s Supply
- Keep mulch at least an inch away from plant stems to avoid rot and fungus problems.
- Leave at least half your grass clippings on the lawn. They are an important source of nutrients.
- Clippings used as garden mulch should be sun-dried for a day or so. Do not use clippings from lawns treated with herbicides or toxic pest controls.
- Use only leaves that have been aged at least nine months. This allows the growth-inhibiting phenols to be leached out.
- Secure plastic mulch with Earth Staples. Cover the entire row before planting, and then cut planting holes as needed. You can also cut the plastic in half lengthwise, and snuggle it up near the plants from each side.
- Beneath the mulch, apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Organic mulch, especially leaves and wheat straw, can rob the soil of nitrogen as it is decomposing.
In the following video, Steve offers some compelling reasons to use mulch around all plants. He feels that it helps regulate the temperature of the soil along with the other benefits already mentioned. Even though his climate is potentially different from yours, the points he makes are adaptable for any garden area:
Rather than digging through your trash, you can purchase mulch. If cost isn’t a factor, then most DIY stores offer a variety of organic and inorganic mulches. However, if you are on a budget and want to go to the local home improvement center armed with specifics, the following post from Angie’s List should give you a good idea:
How Much Mulch Do I Need? | Angies List
Mulch price comparison
The following breakdown shows the price comparison for buying two yards of economy mulch at $22 per yard, or $2.50 per bag.
By the bag: 27 bags x $2.50 = $67.50
Bulk: 2 cubic yards x $22 = $44
Bulk + delivery: 2 x $22 + $50 = $94
Read the original post here: How Much Mulch Do I Need? | Angies List
If you have the inclination to make your own compost and live in an area along the Front Range where you have the space to do so, many of the above mentioned organic materials are part of the process.
Inorganic mulches such as plastic or old carpet aren’t part of the recipe for a compost pile, but mixing together organic elements and letting Mother Nature and time do their work, you can greatly improve the nutrients in your soil.