Share it! Science : Glimpse of the Garden: Week 15, Much Ado About Mulch

Friday, July 10, 2015

Glimpse of the Garden: Week 15, Much Ado About Mulch

Weeds. Something any gardener has to contend with. How do you keep your weeds down? This year I am combining some grass mulch and cardboard to help keep the weeds from sprouting. Mulching your plants can have many benefits. It keeps light from getting places you do not want plants to grow, it helps to hold moisture in and insulates the soil which can lead to increased growth in plants that prefer warmer soil. 

Depending on what you use to mulch, it can also improve the quality of the soil. Grass clippings are a great idea in the vegetable garden. They are free, plentiful and have the added benefit of adding nitrogen to your soil. When you mulch with grass, it is important to lay it down over the soil in thin layers. Otherwise you might heat up the ground too much and scorch your roots, or find a thick, moldy mess when it begins to break down. Please note, if you use any insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc. on your lawn, I do not recommend mulching anything you plan on eating with grass clippings as those chemicals may make their way into your food.
Some spicy nasturtiums, mulched with grass clippings. ©SBF 2015

Eggplant, peas, scallions, zucchini and corn, avoiding the weeds and enjoying some warmth with the help of grass mulch. ©SBF 2015

Onions ©SBF 2015

I have also found that cardboard, as long as it is free from dyes and stickers also works well as mulch. It keeps the moisture in, breaks down slowly over time and is not harmful to plants. Both of these ideas are fine for those of us looking for an organic alternative to combating weeds. If you are going for aesthetics there are other organic choices that may look nicer, but I am just growing for healthy food, so I don't mind! What do you like to mulch with? 

Tomato and basil sprouts with some cardboard mulch. ©SBF 2015

This week some of my favorite flowers opened. (Do I say that just about every week??) The bee balm, like a firework, and the fascinating purple balloon flower. What have you got blooming? 


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