Jim Carrey once said, “Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.” But gardeners know that a flower garden can use a little help to make the blooms thrive. Mulching is one of the most beneficial things you can do to a garden. Mulch provides protection from weather damage, helps regulate soil temperature and keeps weeds from growing. In addition, many types of mulch add a decorative touch to help beautify a garden.
Types of Mulch
According to the experts at Organic Gardening, there are two major types of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic mulch consists of formerly living material, such as bark, leaves or compost. Inorganic mulches include gravel, rocks, and plastic. My preference is organic, because as an extra benefit organic mulch can add nutrients to the soil. You can use your own compost or leaf and grass clippings, or you can buy both organic and inorganic mulch at any home improvement or gardening store.
How Much Mulch?
Once you decide what type to use, the next step is to determine how much mulch you will need. You will want to cover your garden with 2 to 4 inches of mulch. Better Homes and Gardens provides a handy calculator to determine the amount of mulch you will need.
How to Mulch
“Gardeners learn by trowel and error” is an old gardening saying; however, you can avoid errors in mulching by following these simple steps:
- In most climates it is best to apply mulch in the late part of spring. In semi-tropical and tropical climates, mulch can be applied any time of the year.
- Before applying mulch to your garden, do an extra good job at weeding. Remove all weeds including the roots.
- Once the weeds are gone, lay down a thick layer of newspaper. This will prevent new weeds from sprouting.
- Spread a generous layer of mulch throughout the garden – at least 2-4″ deep. Do not cover the flowers themselves. Leave a few inches around the base of the flowers mulch free.
- Re-apply organic mulch every year or so. Re-apply inorganic mulch whenever needed.
Mulching is a simple way to improve your garden, and cut down on the time you will spend weeding. Your flowers will thank you for it by providing you with the unmatched beauty of nature’s wonderful colors and designs.