Mulch is anything that covers the soil to assist in moisture retention and to discourage weed growth. According to OrganicGardening.com, “The best time-saving measure a gardener can take is applying mulch.”
Yes, prevention is key. A well-mulched flower bed will be drought resistant, have less weeds, and be healthier overall.
Hey, time-saving measures in this world are all the rage. Sure, you have to gather all the materials and spread out the mulch, making sure you do the project right the first time. In the future, however, that mulch will ensure that you have to water less, weed less, and spend less time dealing with pest problems.
Pick whether you want organic or inorganic mulch. What’s the difference? Organic mulch is often made from living things, like straw, wood chips, pine needles or chopped leaves. As it decomposes, it actually enriches the soil.
Inorganic mulch is gravel or stones, or black plastic and landscaping fabric.
Grab some work gloves. If you have a small enough flower bed, you may be able to use your hands to spread the mulch out evenly. If not, grab a rake or shovel to spread the mulch evenly throughout the bed. You’ll need a scissor or utility knife to break a straw bales or to cut any landscaping fabric or plastic.
Where to Buy
Measure your bed or beds, and head to the local home and garden stores. They usually carry straw, wood chips and gravel or stones, along with fabric or black plastic, as do the big guns like Lowes and Home Depot. While they’re seemingly inexpensive per bag, one bag doesn’t cover much. Read the package for the amount of feet one bag will cover.
Newspaper ads and Craigslist may be ways to find farmers that are selling straw or people that are giving away wood chips after they’ve cut up their wood piles for the year.
Oh, and from year from year, some of the chips or stones may blow away or get washed away in the rain, so you may need to buy a bag or two to refresh each flower bed.
Contact your local tree removal companies or land fills as they may be able to sell you either tons or truckloads of chips at a lesser price. They may even be able to deliver them to your property.
Fortunately, mulching doesn’t need to be expensive. Use compost you’ve made in your backyard through discarded egg shells, coffee grounds, leaves, etc. Learn more about composting by reading this Yahoo Voices article, “Composting: Getting Back to Nature,” by Michael J. Kampstra.
According to GardensAlive.com, don’t mulch near your home. Keep all mulch at least 6 inches away. Wood chips, and even gravel, can make the perfect homes for pests, like termites, that can destroy your home’s framing. Some wood chips can even bring forth molds that can permanently stain your home or vehicle.
Make sure mulch layers are thick, like 4 to 6 inches deep. For example, 2 inches of wood chips may not block out enough sunlight so weed growth is actually encouraged.
OrganicGardening.com assures its readers that “Despite what you may have heard, using pine-needle mulch will not make your soil significantly more acid.”
What flowers are you excited about growing this year? What will you mulch them with?