If you grow organic vegetables, you shouldn’t use anything other than organic on your flowers, because pesticides can seep into the ground and your water supply. I garden everyday and use only organic methods. To organically mulch a flower bed or garden, you can use mulch you’ve created or buy it.
Why Mulch? You should mulch your flower beds to prevent weeds from growing, provide needed nutrients to your flowers, encourage earthworms, and create a more drought resistant environment for plants in the summer months.
Organic versus Inorganic: The benefits of using organic mulch versus inorganic mulch are immense. First, you’re using a safer product for you family and your plants. Second, the cost is much less to use organic mulch. Organic mulch will actually improve your soil over time which no inorganic mulch can truly claim.
What You’ll Need: Organic mulch is made from matter that was once living. You can use leaves, straw, wood chips, bark, grass, compost, hay or straw, and even pine needles. Most anyone can simple go outside and find what they need to make their own organic mulch. If you need to buy organic mulch, I recommend using a product with pine because it breaks down slowly. After you decide what type of organic mulch to use, you’ll also need basic gardening tools like gloves, a rake, and a hand trowel.
Prepare for Mulching: Before you start spreading your mulch, you need to weed your flower garden. Taking the time to do this will prevent the weeds from returning after you mulch. Also, consider choosing or making an organic mulch that will offset or make the color of your flowers pop. Obviously, you care about beauty or you wouldn’t have a flower garden, so take the time to consider how your mulch will look.
Also, consider the type of organic mulch you are using because some organic matter is low in nitrogen or somewhat acidic. If you have plants that prefer alkaline rich soil, you will need to mix in some lime. If you use a low nitrogen mulch, you will want to mix in blood or fish meal before you mulch.
Lastly, make sure you aren’t using straw or grass clippings that are full of seeds themselves which can create more weeds.
Your Flowers: If you are a beginner when it comes to organic mulching, always keep in mind that mulch holds moisture which is great for drought, but bad for rot. Never pile the mulch up around the stems of your flowers or they will most likely rot, which is the last thing you want. If you live in a fairly damp climate, you need to choose plants that are slug resistant because your mulch will attract them.
How Deep? How deep you mulch will vary. A good three inches should prevent most weeds from growing and provide moisture in the summer, If you know that you have a big weed issue or are using mulch full of seeds because that’s all you have, you can double up on your mulch and prevent weeds from growing. I usually start with two inches in shady areas, three or four in full sun, and any problem beds I double up on.
The Best Mulch Mix: This really depends on you and your flowers. My favorite mulch mix consists of using my compost pile which I’ve thrown everything from juicing pulp to egg shells in. You should put this directly onto the ground and add your mulch over it. It’s best to shred leaves and straw as much as you can to help it break down faster. I like to use a mix of ingredients because I feel like it is the easiest way to provide the most nutrient dense soil. I also like the way wood chips look, but not everyone has their own wood chipper. You can buy wood chips at your local organic store.
There are some plants that prefer a certain kind of mulch to another, but most flowers will do well with any nutrient rich mulch. Roses, orchids, and other rare flowers may need to be researched a bit to choose the best mulch and/or nutrients.
Using organic mulch for your flower beds is a healthy and earth-friendly choice.
For more articles on sustainable living, visit Carrie Williams homepage