Sunday, June 27, 2010

To Mulch or Not to Mulch?

I am such a big fan of mulching.  I can't quite recall when I learned about this but I'm not sure how I ever managed a big garden without it.  For me, this is BIG information!  I want everyone to know about mulching simply because I think more people will enjoy gardening more if they don't have to deal with as many weeds.  I took some photos a few weeks back when I was mulching my home garden - they aren't great because it was in the evening but they'll give you an idea of how it works in case you haven't seen it before.  (or you could click here to see some better pictures of it at my old garden)

Here are some of the tomato plants.
First step is to put down newspaper, this will eventually break down into the soil but in the meantime it will help keep your weeds down this season.
Then I just put grass clippings on top of the paper - all around the plants.
This helps to keep the soil moist and add organic matter into the soil as well as keeping weeds from sprouting.  I hope you will give this a try, it makes so much sense and you will spend far less time weeding.  Truly, I think you will also wonder how you ever gardened before mulching.

I've even been mulching at the garden I have in town and since it is a large garden I've been trying to get lots of mulch.  It's taken me several weeks but I've got a good layer on most everything now.  We live on a VERY steep property but that hasn't stopped me from mowing it in order to get enough clippings for mulch.  My family just shake their heads at me as I head down steep banks with the mower.
There is my mower down at the bottom.
Then trudge back up with my bag full of clippings to do it again.  And don't even get them started on riding into town with garbage bins full of clippings.  If any one has any tips on other good mulch materials I would love to hear about it.


6512 and growing said...

Nice job! I am a big mulcher too. We use straw and our Colorado soil would dry up terribly without it. (if we had much in the way of grass, I'd use those clippings too. I like the use of newspaper - great idea!)

The Knitty Gritty Homestead said...

That's our job this week...clean out the hen house and duck house and MULCH the garden with the dirty straw! It does wonders for the soil and keeps the weeds at bay.

Anonymous said...

I'm really getting into mulching this year. I have read a fair bit about it and have to agree with you; how did I garden before this?

Because I'm in SW Ontario...and it gets SO hot here in the summer, mulch becomes such a good friend. (Also because we have raised beds.)I actually just mulched my broccoli because it bolted in the heat. Apparently broccoli doesn't bolt from the heat per se...but because their roots get hot. So, lots of mulch and frequent waterings help to keep the roots cool. bolting.
AND I mulched the crap out of my raspberries (with cedar mulch) last month and the weeds haven't come through yet. This won't mean much to you since you haven't seen my raspberry patch. Just imagine canes amidst nothing but weeds. So good. :)

Clong said...

We mulch with grass, manure, old leaves, homemade compost, junk mail, compost bought from the rock and block...everything!!! I am a huge HUGE fan of mulching. I had a lemon verbena that was struggling and had died down to old bare sticks. I put a layer of mulch on it and two weeks later it is AMAZINGLY back to life. Can't get enough of mulching. YAY!!!

Erin said...

I have heard great things about using newspaper from others. I have used grass clippings (before the grass had weed seed in it because I was afraid of perpetuating the very weed germination cycle I was hoping to elude), and would like to try using straw.

After the hay fields are cut and baled, I will get the boys to gather remnants and try this on some beds where I can fit some newspaper down first...the second cut hay has fewer weed seeds in it.

I have used SeaSoil as a( very $paring!) mulch, but still had weeds, so the barrier concept is brilliant!

Sandi said...

Hey Heather,

I have been doing the same for years now, but with a slight difference. I only use newspaper with black ink. Worried about the dyes in colored ink.
Happy gardening!!

sheila said...

My name is Sheila and I am a Mulcher. Big Time.

I use newspaper and dirt where I need to get rid of the grass; plain old straw where I need to keep the weeds away. But I think I might try the newspaper with the straw over where my neighbour's vinca is going mad. Hate that stupid vinca. Why do nurseries sell it?

Caphouta: according to FDPG it means that you are drunk by coffee.

happyalaskan said...

Thanks for the newspaper mulch. Putting grass clippings on top is new to me and I think it will work nicely here. Have a good week!