This spring has been very dry already, and it looks as if the dry spell will continue for at least another week or so. So, it is a particularly good idea to mulch newly planted crops this spring, as this will help to keep moisture in the soil, rather than it drying out in the sun and wind.
In dry and/or windy spells like this one, the top surface of soil will quickly dry out, and any subsequent rainwater will run off it, rather than soaking into it. It will be harder for you to water your plants, and hard for the soil to keep the moisture locked in when you do. Plants then take moisture from the lower levels, leaving the soil depleted. A vicious cycle begins!
This is one of the main reasons we would advise mulching if you are planting up in the next few weeks. Follow these 5 steps, and your plants should do just fine…
- Water your plot thoroughly before planting
- Soak plug plants in a shallow container of water before you plant them out
- Spread a 3-5cm thick mulch of compost or leaf mould in between plants, covering bare soil, particularly around their roots. If you don’t have enough, just applying a mulch around the base of each individual plant will help.
- If you don’t have compost/leaf mould, you could cut discs out of the cardboard packaging and wrap these around the base of stems, as this will help to prevent water evaporating from the soil below. Another alternative would be to use straw or grass cuttings.
- Keep watering regularly to avoid letting the soil dry out.