Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mulch! What is it good for? Absolutly Everything!

Milch mooch mulch. Its that time for us to have the mulch talk. Yes, my young gardeners. Let's have some frank talk about mulch.

First of all, what is mulch? Simply put: anything that covers your soil. It can be plastic, wood chips, manure, or compost. Or hazelnut shells or recycled tumbled get the idea. You want a barrier of something between your precious bare garden soil and the ravages of weather and weeds. Mulching your beds means you have to weed and water less often. Organic mulches also improve your soil's tilth and, to a lesser degree, it's fertility. If you spent time last summer cursing your weed population, a thick cover of mulch should improve your situation dramatically.

So, since you're all now planning to refresh or introduce a nice, comfy blanket of mulch into your garden, the most important question to ask yourself is this: What do I want to gain by mulching my garden beds?

If weed prevention and control is your top goal, you want a mulch with a lot of bark: Cedar play chips, arborist chips, or shredded bark. Toss some cardboard or newspaper down first, and you're really getting a jump on the weeds.

If general soil improvement is your goal, mulch with compost or a compost manure blend.

If you're a somewhat desperate Seattle veggie gardener, praying for a week of consecutively warm nights (keep praying, my friend) in order to grow melons, peppers, and tomatoes; you may want to investigate plastic mulches. They come in several colors, and certain colors are supposed to benefit certain plants. We carry them at the City People's Store, or check out Territorial Seed for more info.

Right-o. After deciding what type of mulch to get, you need to decide how you're going to acquire your mulch. Ordering in bulk is usually the best way to go if you need more than 1/4 yard of mulch, and trust me, you do. One yard of mulch is approx ten full wheelbarrows. If you have a lot of open ground, than can go pretty fast.

If all this is sounding good, give us a call. If you want to prevent serious summer weeding, call us now. The long wet spring coupled with current warming temps are creating a perfect storm for weeds. We can give you more info about mulch types, recommend places to order from, or set up a time to deliver and spread it into your beds for you. We're kind of mulching ninjas. I'm just saying.

More on the do's and don'ts of mulching, later.

Ah, the best part of mulching: when it's all off the tarp and in the garden. Satisfaction.

1 comment:

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