Mulching Your Garden
Seeds of Change


Mulching Your Garden

Mulching means less maintenance. Basically mulch, a soil covering, retards weed growth, retains moisture in the soil, and encourages Nature’s aerator, earth worms. It saves you time and effort weeding and watering, as well as making it easier to mow around trees.

Mulch comes in many forms. For vegetables, where looks are not essential, you can use oat straw (now less the oats) or salt hay. Ordinary grass hay has seeds in it that can sprout into grass. Salt hay is made from grasses harvested from salt marshes. As such, any seeds that are present will not germinate because they require wet, saline soil.

Place the straw or hay s round your plants, or in between your vegetable rows. Tomatoes especially love this, because they do not enjoy having their roots disturbed by weeding. In the photo we have tomatoes mulched in salt hay.

Mulched Cottage

Flower gardens, bushes, and tree bottoms can be mulched with dyed wood mulch of a variety of colors – red, brown, and black – or natural cedar or hemlock. I prefer the latter two. You can get this stuff in bags at Home Depot or Lowes, or you can get it much less expensively in bulk by the cubic yard, from Ferris Mulch either in Bethel or Danbury. They will deliver it for a fee, or you can have them load it into your pick-up truck. You can also get free, but self-serve, wood chips from the Redding Recycling Center.

If you want to be fancy, you can also get coco hulls (but NOT if you have a dog as they are poisonous to canines), pine bark, or even chopped up rubber. I would stay away from the latter as it does not degrade, and is not something you really want to add to your garden soil when you dig around in it to add or replace a plant.

Put down a layer of whatever mulch you choose a couple of inches deep, but place it only thinly around the root crown of bushes and trees. If you “volcano” much by building a mound at their base, you will suffocate the roots and damage the bush or tree. And now stand back and enjoy how neat, tidy, and professional everything looks!

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