Gardening Mulch

Mulch is a protective layer placed on top of the soil . It is better to use a variety of organic materials for garden mulching, alternatively today you can purchase plastic film, they are a important tool for the organic gardener.

Applying Mulch is well worth the time and effort it takes as it both helps keep the moisture in your soil by slowing evaporation and also helps prevent weed seed from germinating. It will additionally protect the soil surface from the damaging effects of heavy rain and compaction . Another benefit of using organic mulch is that it will encourage worms to populate and will generally help improve and maintain a good soil structure.

A variety of materials can be used as mulch , however the texture is very crucial , they need to be fairly compact but also allow air and moisture to filter through to the soil surface . Home made compost , wood chippings, bark, leaf mould, dried lawn mowing , well rotted manure and straw will all make suitable garden mulch. They will give you a choice of finishing’s bark mulch and wood mulch giving a more pleasing effect and they will also last longest .

Mulch can be lay-ed up to four inches deep provided it does not completely swamp your plants. It should not be piled up around the base of any plants because as it decomposes it will also rot the plant to. Depending on the type and depth of mulch used it will last from two months to three years and as it breaks up and rots it will improve your soil too.

How to apply garden mulch, the best time is when the soil has warmed up from the winter cold, yet is still moist . You should never mulch when the soil is dry, very wet or very cold as it will simply remain in that condition, affecting the growing conditions of your plants. The best time to mulch is either after planting or for plants sown in situ when they are a few inches high . Make sure the soil is well watered in advance but do not completely saturate it and remove any existing weeds that may be already growing.

You can also purchase plastic mulches which can be useful in the short term , although best for summer crops, like tomatoes and cucumbers. You can either lay the firm over the area you intend to plant and cut cross slits and plant in between, or plant first and then carefully roll the film over, making slits and pulling the plants through. Secure the edges of the flim in a verticle trench and filling with soil . Plants can be watered, when required, through the gap between the stem ot the plant and the foil .

Black films are better at preventing weed germination , clear or transparent and white films will help the soil to warm up , esential for early planting and the latter will also reflect light up onto your crop .  Which ever mulch you choose it will help you to make your organic garden that much more rewarding.           

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