There are three things you can do to eliminate 95 percent of your gardening challenges. First, put the right plant in the right place. Second, improve the soil by adding plenty of compost and organic matter. Third, add mulch! It’s one of those win, wins in the garden. Not only does it look great, mulch does so much to help your plants thrive all through the season. In this podcast, Joe Lamp’l tells you why mulch is a must, in every garden!
BHG011–Mulch is a Must
I often say, there are three things you can do to eliminate 95 percent of your gardening challenges. First, put the right plant in the right place. Second, improve the soil by adding plenty of compost and organic matter. Third, add mulch! It’s one of those win, wins in the garden. Not only does it look great, mulch does so much to help your plants thrive all through the season!
Here are some of the main ways mulch gives back so much:
One of the most dreaded tasks for most gardeners is weeding. Although mulch won’t guarantee a weed-free garden, it does greatly suppress seed germination by blocking sunlight to the soil surface. Unfortunately, birds, wind, pets and people will always be couriers of weed seeds, so you’ll still have some sprouting in your mulch. But you’ll have far fewer, and they’ll easier to pull out since much of their roots will be in the loose top layer of mulch.
Next, is moisture retention. You don’t need to be a horticulturist to know just how quickly exposed soil surfaces can dry out under the hot baking sun. Over time, moisture below the surface evaporates away, progressively drying out more deeply with each passing day. But with a layer of mulch blanketing the soil surface, the result is a protective, insulating barrier from the evaporative effects of the sun and heat, while holding in precious moisture far longer and deeper than exposed surfaces.
Similarly, that same layer of mulch moderates soil temperatures by helping to keep temperatures below grade cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Think of mulch as a thermal insulating blanket. Having a generous layer of mulch around you plants can literally save your plants when it comes to extreme temperatures.
One of the most important reasons for using mulch is that it reduces plant diseases that reside in soil. Those disease pathogens can be easily splashed up onto plant foliage, which can become infected. Mulch reduces the chance of this happening by blocking the splashing effects of pathogens making it onto plant stems and leaves.
Next, mulch improves soil over time. Any natural mulch like shredded bark, decomposed leaves, aged grass clippings, and my favorite, straw, will eventually break down and decompose. And as it does, it improves the existing soil with important organic matter.
But there are some things you’d never want in your soil. This includes chemicals from pressure treated wood such as arsenic. Play it safe with the mulch or soil you buy and look for the certification seal from the Mulch and Soil Council* on approved bags. It assures the product you are buying is free of unacceptable chemical materials.
Finally, there’s no denying the eye-pleasing appeal that mulch adds to any garden. It’s the finishing touch that complements and sets off your Burpee Home Garden Plants so nicely.
So for simple ways to dress up your garden and reduce the amount of work needed to keep it looking great, put the right plant in the right place, improve the soil and add mulch. And listening to these podcasts is another way to make your gardening life easier. This is just one of 26 podcasts created to get you off to a successful start and provide helpful, weekly tips throughout the entire growing season. And to be sure you don’t miss a single, you can subscribe to this podcast series for free in iTunes. And for more ideas and inspiration any time, be sure to check out burpeehomegardens.com.
Now go get dirty!