Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mulch Mania

My struggling tomato transplants. I like to imagine them sighing with relief when I put the mulch down

This week's task is mulching the garden- not all of it- but as much as we can get done, to try to help the plants fight this dry windy spell we've been having. Last year was the first year I'd used mulch in the garden- I had always associated it with those horrible cedar bark nuggets that don't ever ever go away on their own- so not something I thought I'd like in a vegetable garden where we till and change things every year. But I know it's a big part of bio dynamic/organic/good gardening practices, so I gave it a try.

We chose to use grass clippings instead of straw mulch, for a couple of reasons- firstly we have a lot of grass that we keep mown, close to 10 acres all told I think, so the grass clippings are readily available to us, and secondly they decompose easily- easier than straw anyhow- so you can just till them in at the end of the season, and they won't tie up as much nitrogen while breaking down as hardwood chips or straw. They also look nice drying out to resemble a fine straw- which looks better (to me) than plastic or newspapers (though I hear that newspaper blocks weeds better).

Anyhow last year we mulched for weed control- this year we're mulching to keep moisture in. It's a big job, but it's pretty satisfying to know that you can do something (besides watering for hours) to help the plants cope with these 30 degree windy days.

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