If you are unfamiliar with the process of mulching, you are in for an information treat. Vegetable and flower gardeners alike have been using mulch on their gardens to lock in moisture, regulate sun and air filtration and to smother any pesky weeds that may decide to invade for longer than most can remember. There are several different types of mulch, and you should be sure to do careful research on your area and what you grow before selecting a mulch.
THE PROS OF MULCHING
– Soil remains cool, keeping the roots of your plants from stressing due to excessive heat
– Mulch retains moisture, which allows for fewer waterings and the conservation of resources, money and your time
– Mulch forms a barrier of sorts and helps to keep plants from washing away during hard rainstorms
THE CONS OF MULCHING (And solutions for these issues)
– If you do not keep your layer of mulch relatively thin, you are inviting in pests such as slugs, earwigs and cutworms with the cool, damp and dark environment that mulch creates. Also be sure to keep the mulch several inches away from the base of the plant.
– While it does help retain moisture, if it rains very heavily for an extended period of time the mulch can become waterlogged and rot the plants. Be sure to keep your mulch loose (not packed down) and in a thin layer to allow for proper air flow.
– Where mulch does help keep out an excess of sunlight, it is good for keeping weeds from growing. However, this also makes it difficult for seeds that you’ve planted intentionally to push up through the soil. If you are planning to use mulch, be sure to apply it after your seedlings are already up
There are several different types of mulch that you can choose from, based on what conditions you want to create. Keep in mind that dark colored mulches retain heat (good for cooler zones), and light colored mulches reflect heat (good for warmer zones).