Mulches For Gardens



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There are many types of mulches for gardens with various purposes, some of those purposes are to prevent moisture loss, erosion, weed germination and improve the soil. 

 

Mulch is a very important component to growing a healthy garden; it also helps to provide a food source for micro-organisms in the soil, breaking down into humus, the vital ingredient that all fertile soils contain.

 

Benefits of mulch for the soil

 

- Retains soil moisture.

- Reduces weeds if applied at a 20-30cm thickness throughout the garden

(don’t apply at this level until plants are established).

-Provides a food source for micro-organisms.

-Keeps soil temperature consistent.

-Reduces soil born fungal diseases reaching plants.

-Makes it easier to pull weeds out as the soil is softer.

-Keeps vegetable gardens neat and tidy looking.

 

Key points on mulching

 

Thoroughly weed area first.

Don't mulch too close to tree trunks or plant stems, or they may rot.

Don't mulch heavily where you have just planted seeds or tiny seedlings for the same reason.

 

Types of organic garden mulches

Compost

Compost is like food for the soil! Your soil will really come alive after adding good quality compost to your vegetable garden. Making your own compost is a great way to recycle your food scraps. Compost is best dug into the garden, or if it’s to be used as mulches for gardens, you’ll need to cover with a straw mulch to protect the micro-organisms that live in the compost, directly exposing compost to the sun will kill those all important micro-organisms.

 

Lucerne straw

 

Lucerne straw stimulates root growth as natural hormones live within the Lucerne mulch which suppresses root disease in the soil.

 

The nitrogen content of Lucerne foliage is amongst the highest in the plant kingdom, and this nitrogen is in a slow release protein form – perfecto!

 

Lucerne is a great worm food as well and will stimulate worm activity.

“Why dig when the worms will do it for you.”

Straw-Pea Straw

Straw and pea straw is a great mulch for gardens that have good nutrient levels, as it decomposes quickly.

 

 

Manure

 

Only add manure to the garden after it has decomposed a bit, raw manure can burn roots. It’s best to apply and then cover with straw mulch or dig manure into the soil.

 

Manure is an excellent ingredient in compost because of its high nitrogen levels and when mixed with mulch will really get the compost going.

 

Lawn clippings

 

These can be added to the compost making process, or used as is. Lawn clippings are high in nitrogen, so is great as mulch for gardens.

 

Allow clippings to dry first before applying, as grass seeds can only be killed out in the compost process (temperatures above 55 degrees). Watch out for any runners in the clippings as these will just take root and spread over the garden.

 

Leaves

 

Once again, these can be pre-composted, or used as is. Decomposed or crumpled leaves are best, as they don't blow away as easily or mat.

 

Sawdust

Older sawdust is best for garden mulch. If plants show signs of lacking in nitrogen, add a nitrogen rich fertilizer



Wood chips

 

Wood chips are very attractive mulch. Once again, aged chips are better, to safeguard from toxins and fungal contamination.

 

Bark

 

Is an attractive mulch and long lasting. Eucalyptus and pine bark are commonly used.

 

Topsoil

 

Good topsoil sold at garden centres etc can be an excellent addition as mulches for gardens, as it contains lots of organic matter which helps insulate, retain moisture, and provide nutrients as it decomposes- everything you want in mulch. However, make sure that you are buying good quality topsoil!

 

Newspaper

 

Sheets or shredded newspaper (uncoloured ink), which is of course made from wood, can be very useful in the garden, especially under other more attractive mulch. Great for cutting down weed growth and an ideal inclusion as part of your mulches for gardens.

 

 



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