How to Mulch a Garden – Useful Nuggets of Tips

You can think of mulch as a worthwhile upfront investment. When you do it right, you can cut big chunks of time off of weeding, watering, and clearing pests. However, the secret lies in your pick of what mulch feels and looks like your garden or bed. That is, understand firsthand what types of plants do well in the climatic conditions of your area and yard.

What Types of Mulch Are Best for Garden?

There are a various types of Artificial and natural types mulch exist. Natural mulch comes from decayed matter of leaf, grass, straw, pine, bark, compost, or wood. Polyethylene plastics and geotextiles are artificial mulches. On one hand, decayed organic matter improve soil. On the other hand, artificial mulches aren’t biodegradable, and so they don’t enrich soil. But you don’t have to write them off on this basis. 

If you keep in your bed or garden warmth-seeking plants such as tomatoes and eggplant, artificial mulches are viable options because they excel at retaining heat in soil when temperatures fall below what plants consider comfortable. On the other hand, biodegradables excel at deflecting summer heat. Let’s expound on this topic further.

Natural Mulches

Compost

Doubles as a manure and a mulch. Ensure to keep them wet to maintain the vibrancy of your plants. Be sure their distribution around the plants doesn’t form a thick layer. It’s easy to maintain the wetness and biodegradability of a thin layer of mulch than not. Both properties improve soil.

Wood or Bark Chippings

You can make or purchase them. Pine trees offer the best source of chips. If you keep trees, instead of disposing leaves that have fallen off of the trees, you can shred them. A lawn mower has blades and a collector that can accomplish this task. Then, you can spread the shreds everywhere in your bed or garden.

Straw

It works well in a garden of vegetables. Straw isn’t just pristine and biodegradable, but also fosters healthy and vibrant plants with mature roots that push weeds out of your garden. Be sure as you spread the mulch around the plant, the thickness of the layer doesn’t cover the stem.

Grass Clippings

They excel as fertilizers because they fix nitrogen in the soil. 

Artificial

Polythene plastics

While non-biodegradable, plastics are good absorbers and retainers of sunlight heat. And this property makes them ideal for gardens of heat-seeking vegetables. Vines, including melon, strawberry, and cucumber can keep warm and dry, and, as a result, happy and productive folks. When you go out to shop, your top pick should be a plastic that transfers infrared radiations. However, plastic is moisture- and oxygen-proof. And so, before you lay plastic under the plants, make sure you lay drip or soak irrigators to keep them hydrated.

Geotextiles

Unlike plastics, moisture and oxygen permeate into the soil beneath the geotextile layer. They layer also prevents the weed from sprouting. However, geotextiles break down under light, although such degradation occurs gradually. Laying a layer of a different type of mulch over the geotextile layer is a temporary fix to this problem. And while vines do well with plastics, shrubs don’t. 

Preparing Your Landscape for Garden Mulch?

The foremost thing to keep in mind is to know soil and weather conditions and what types of plants, including weed types, thrive under those conditions. If you keep, vines such as melons, tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant, laying plastic mulch cover underneath them makes lots of sense. Vines are love heat, and plastic mulches qualify as their best companions. However, you will need to create an underground irrigation network to keep your plants hydrated and oxygenated. 

Alternatively, you can replace the plastic with a porous mulch during warmer seasons. If you use plastic mulches in warm weathers or summers, you risk dehydrating and destroying organic matter content. A better alternative is a mulch other than plastic mulch.

On the other hand, if you keep plants that thrive well in cool conditions, such as broccoli, you don’t need plastic mulch. In fact, biodegradable mulches provide excellent companionship to these cool types during the summers because they reduce temperatures. These soil coolers excel in a dry and sandy soil.

Mulches work well in yards with established weeds. The thing is, you need to lay a layer of whatever pick of mulch over the weeds. The idea is to starve weeds of air and moisture. As thick a layer of mulch as two- or four-inches suffices to effective, depending on shadiness. If you are aware your garden is weed-infested, lay two layers of mulch, one on top of the other.

Biodegradable mulches are poor heat retainers. And so, it’s necessary to strip the layer of mulch off of perennials as spring kicks in to prevent rodent infestation and plant decay.

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Verdict:

We hope that by reading this article you have gained some nuggets of useful tips regarding mulch. The bottom line is this: your choice of mulch depends on the type of soil, weather condition, and type of plants you keep. Plastic mulches work well in cool weather conditions when it’s necessary to keep the plants warm. On the other hand, organic mulches lower soil temperature in hot or summer conditions.

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