Now is the time to prepare your garden for the upcoming hot weather – it is the right time to spread mulch over all your garden beds. Mulching is an essential step with any new planting but it is also important to do this on established gardens too.
Mulch will help retain the moisture in the soil, slow down weed growth, moderate soil temperature in the heat and the cold. This is important in cooler climates when there is a heavy frost and it is especially important at the moment due to the onset of drought.
Step 1 – Always water your plants well before mulching.
Step 2 – Lay a layer of newspaper over the open soil areas in between your plants and then water this. This is an extra layer that acts as a physical barrier to help smother any weed growth. It will break down over time.
Step 3 – Spread your chosen mulch over all open areas but be careful not to bury any plants in the mulch.
Step 4 – Water the mulch thoroughly.
Types of Mulch
Straw is a great mulch for vegetable gardens. It decomposes quickly and improves the soil as it decays.
Sugar cane mulch is made from dried sugar cane leaves. It encourages helpful soil organisms.
Lucerne mulch has the added advantage of giving your soil extra nitrogen as it breaks down.
Wood mulches – these will last a long time on the surface of the garden beds however as they breakdown they do take the nitrogen out of the soil – you may need to supplement the level of nitrogen in the soil for the plants.
Fallen autumn leaves can be gathered up and used as mulch. You should shred them first because whole leaves often blow away or you can also compost those down.
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