Monday, September 16, 2013

Benefits of Mulching a Garden

Welcome to my second year of gardening this plot. After doing some winter reading on gardening - particularly weed control, I decided to try mulching this year. It looks pretty great, no? 

I read that grass clipping mulch has a few benefits: 

  • Mulch retains the soil's moisture (and protects soil from blazing sun)
  • Mulch helps control weeds
  • Mulch becomes compost, adding nutrients to the soil
I also noticed that, during our cool June, my tomato plants turned purple. Apparently this happens when tomatoes are too cold - they become unable to absorb potassium from the soil and become purple. Right around that time I began to mulch and noticed that the tomatoes regained their green color and grew again. So mulch also acts as an insulation against cool temps. Aha. 

This photo compares the mulched area to the unmulched area. (I couldn't get to the whole garden at once). All of the garden had been weeded at the same time. See the difference? Mulched area has no weeds, and the black part has 8 inch weeds. After seeing this, I immediately fell in love with mulch. I may just mulch forever now. 

At first, I didn't believe the advice to 'pile on the mulch'. 
'Two feet deep!' they said. 
'Go for it!' they said.  
Really? I didn't want to bury my plants for crying out loud...

But now I see that the 4-5 inch layer I poured in quickly became pancake-thin. We're harvesting now, and there is hardly any mulch left. Amazing.

Next year I definitely plan to continue with the mulching, even ramping it up a bit.  ... alot. I'll 'go for it''. 


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