If you agree with poet Margaret Atwood when she said, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt,” then you’re probably ready to dig your hands into the soil and start planting. With the days getting longer and the sun getting friendlier, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, get out the gardening tools, and … mulch, mulch, mulch! This is a step some beginning gardeners skip, but the truth is that mulching your flower bed can be the difference between a garden filled with beautiful blooms and an unsightly patch of weeds. A good mulch is a protective covering for your flower bed that will help keep the moisture in, minimize weeds, and give your flower bed a polished look. Here’s how to mulch a flower bed to make your garden worthy of all the work you’re putting into it.
1) Choose what type of mulch you’ll use for your flower bed. Mulches are either organic or inorganic. Organic mulches are typically made of natural materials such as wood chips, grass clippings, peat moss, or even dried leaves. Inorganic mulches can be made from materials such as rubber shavings or plastic sheets. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type. One of the big home improvement or lawn and garden stores can help, if you’re not sure which of these to choose.
2) Prepare your flower bed before you start mulching. Be sure to weed thoroughly before you lay down a mulch covering. You may even want to try putting down newspapers or cardboard to prevent weeds and grass. These materials are fine for your garden, and enriched soil can go over them.
3) Attend to your flowers before you mulch. Remove dead leaves and spent blossoms. Before mulching, water your flowers as you normally would.
4) Now it’s time to mulch. Be careful to mulch gently around your flower bed. Fold the mulch lightly around plants in a layer of roughly 2 to 4 inches.You don’t want the mulch to be too thin or thick, as the protection can be inadequate from a mulch that’s too thin, and a covering that’s too thick can keep much-needed moisture away from your precious flowers.
5) Be sure to water your flower bed after mulching. Because there’s a covering over your flower bed now, you need to make sure that the water is penetrating this layer to the roots. You may need to add more water to make sure the water is getting through the mulch. You may even want to place a hose under the mulch. Once you’ve mulched your flower bed, you’ll want to check on it every now and then to make sure the mulch isn’t depleted, especially if you’ve used grass clippings, as these can dry out or decay.