Mulching is an organic gardener’s best friend. Appropriate for trees, flowers, shrubs, plants and foliage, mulching can produce astonishing results.
It enriches the soil with organic materials which are responsible for the proper growth of plants.
Mulching is mandatory for newly planted plants; it helps their tender roots to expand and support new growth, as it provides a protective layer.
Reasons to mulch:
- If you live in an equator region, mulching is especially essential. Mulching will prevent the hot sun from exhausting water supply in the soil and prevent the soil from drying. Mulching locks the moisture in the soil and acts as a sunscreen for plant roots.
- It also prevents the growth of weeds, which stop sunlight from reaching the plant.
- As mulch retains moisture, there is no need for regular watering and helps reduce consumption of water.
- It supports the growth of earthworms which are friendly organisms that promote proper growth of the plants.
- Mulch is made up of organic material which improves the texture and quality of soil.
- Mulch is a covering on the soil which can control soil erosion. When it rains, only the first layer is washed away.
- It is an excellent insect repellent and can prevent diseases which are transmitted by insects. This method can also reduce disease attacks.
- When sunlight falls on the mulch, it reflects the sunlight to the leaves and provides light from the bottom too. This improves the growing conditions of plants.
- Early transplantation is easy as mulching provides optimum conditions for effective growth. The mulching process can also promote vigorous growth of seeds.
There are mainly two types of mulches: organic mulch and inorganic mulch. Organic mulch can be made easily and this does not cost much to make. Inorganic mulch is expensive when compared to organic mulch, but is not as effective.
Organic mulch is the most preferable medium for organic gardens. The ingredients in organic mulch are:
- Waste wood
- Wood products
- Wood chips, wood shavings or wood leftovers
- Animal manure
- Composted municipal sludge
- Muck peat/ peat moss
- Cobs, Shells and hulls
- Pine needles
Tips on creating mulch:
- Mulch should be at least two inches deep.
- Always see that mulch is kept away from the bark or stem of the plant, shrub or tree.
- The best time to administer mulch is just after you have watered or just after rain.
- When placing the mulch in the garden, ensure that you have covered the possible area and removed the weeds between the plants.