Mulch used to irritate me. I found it annoying to see gardens beds that were covered in 'decorative' wood chips. I thought it was unnecessary to add wood chips to garden beds and was the act of very particular, neat and precious people. That was until I found out about the joys and benefits of mulching!
Benefits of Mulching
Mulching is far more beneficial than just looking 'neat and tidy'. Adding much to your soil or borders has multiple benefits:
Mulch suppresses weeds
It helps retain water and moisture in the soil - super helpful in summer
Mulching can add nutrients to the soil
It can encourage worms into your soil
Mulch can insulate your plants from frost
Mulching strawberries with straw, lifts them from the ground to prevent rot
It's a great way to make use of grass clippings
Types of Mulch
Mulch doesn't have to be decorative wood chips from a bag, there are all sorts of substances we can use for mulch. It is essentially a covering for your soil. The most beneficial mulches are the natural, biodegradable options:
Grass Clippings/ Cuttings
Compost is actually a mulch
Leaves/ leaf mould
Manure (well rotted is best)
Seaweed (see our post on the benefits of seaweed here)
To achieve the benefits of mulching, try to add 1-3 inches of mulch around plants and on beds. Organic mulches will eventually rot down into the soil, so they are not a long term solution.
The Cons of Mulching
While mulches can be home to lots of very beneficial insects, they can also attract the less beneficial ones into the garden too. (see our post on controlling pests naturally here).
Over mulching, can harm your plants - try to stick to 1-3 inches of mulch.
Some plants don't like mulching - Lavender and Lamb's Ears (Stachys byzantia) in particular don't like it.
All in all, we feel that the benefits of mulching outweigh any cons. It's a great way to improve soil, reduce weeding and make use of some of the natural byproducts of gardening.
Do you use a mulch in your garden that works well? Do you have any tips for mulching? We would love to hear them and give them a go.
As always, hoping you, your family & friends are safe and happy,
Keelly & Arianne xx