Whether you are going to keep on growing through winter, or put your plot to bed until next spring, now is a brilliant time to mulch your veg beds to improve the quality of the soil.
You can apply a mulch to empty beds, in and around newly planted autumn plants (or just before you plant up if you haven’t already done so), or in between rows of mature vegetables planted earlier in the year, like kale and sprouts.
WHY – By mulching now, in autumn, you are doing several things:
- Protecting the soil from the harsh winter weather – snow/frost/hail/wind – and thus keeping it healthier
- Giving nature time to work the mulch into the soil – worms etc can get to work and pull the goodness from the mulch down into the soil underneath.
- Allowing time to break up any lumps in the mulch – frost will help with this, and in early spring you should be able to simply rake over the mulch to create a good texture for planting
- Suppressing weed seeds so that you have fewer to contend with next spring
- Keeping soil warmer which is beneficial if you’re growing veg over the winter
HOW – What to use, and how much:
You can use any organic matter as a mulch (which is simply a covering over the top of soil) – our recommendations would be to use organic compost or some well-rotted horse/cow manure (don’t apply fresh) which you can often find from neighbouring farmyards.
Just spread a 3-5cm layer over the top of exposed, weed-free soil and that’s it. You have mulched!