We had some Big Excitement in our driveway on Saturday morning!
Yes! It was Mulch Delivery Day!
You may remember that last year . . . I thought maybe I could get away without mulching. Ha! That was a laugh. I regretted not mulching pretty much every single day.
It was a good reminder for me: Mulch. Every. Year.
That pile? It’s about half gone at this point. Tom makes quick work of it! (And I am so grateful.) Tom says he likes mulching . . . because it “smells like spring!”
Why do I mulch my garden beds? Three reasons:
- Mulch helps develop and improve my garden soil. (But only the right kind of mulch. See tips below.)
- It slows the loss of moisture in my beds. (Allegedly, I don’t have to water as often.)
- It suppresses weeds. (Sadly, it does not prevent them altogether.) (Sigh.)
It might be mulch season for you, too, so I thought I would share some Mulch Tips for the Average Gardener (as opposed to being for the gardeners who really geek out about things like mulch).
- The type of mulch you use absolutely MATTERS. The best mulch for flower/perennial beds = material that used to be plant matter, AGED and already broken down, in a fine-to-medium shred. (I use aged bark fines.) (Straw is great mulch for vegetable gardens – not hay, though – because too many seeds.) (Big wood chips? Not good mulch anywhere — although they’re fine to line a path.)
- It’s preferable to buy mulch in bulk from a local source. (Bagged mulch is always a bit iffy, because you don’t really know where it’s coming from or how it’s been processed.) (It’s generally cheaper to buy it in bulk, too.)
- Mulch in flower beds should look like soil, color-wise. (Say no to dyed mulch; whatever it’s dyed with . . . will work its way into your garden bed. And you don’t want that.)
- The best time to mulch is in the spring — as you’re planting.
- Mulch should be 1 – 3″ deep. (Deeper isn’t better.)
- Your mulch should break down over the season — which is why you need to do it every year. (That’s what you want it to do — break down and enhance the soil.)
- Avoid letting mulch touch the stems of your plants (as much as possible), and always, always avoid Volcano Mulching around tree trunks!!!! (Seriously, Volcano Mulching is the worst thing you can do to your trees. Keep that mulch away from the trunks.)
- If you hire someone to do your mulch, watch them carefully. Not everyone knows what they’re doing with mulch. (I’ve seen many “mulch professionals” create those volcanoes . . .)
And there you go! Let the mulching begin!
Let me know if you have any questions about mulching. I’ll try to answer your questions — or direct you to a resource. (I DO happen to be one of those gardeners who geeks out about things like mulch.)