I’ve been mulching quite heavily this past week – I want to have the time over the next month or two to clear a new area to plant some fruit, and also to get a few more flowers on the go, so this is the main motivation… by mulching, weeds should stay pretty low (they’re already quite low from growing no-dig, but there are always seeds blowing in from the surrounding garden which is really very overgrown.
With fewer weeds, I can open up a couple of hours here and there to spend doing these other jobs. Another benefit is that I won’t need to water quite so frequently – this is good both in terms of water consumption, and also time… I am always surprised how long it takes to give the veg patch a good soaking!
Mulching is also really good for the soil – soil does not like to be exposed to the elements, whether it is sunlight, heavy rain, frost, hail, snow or whatever – it much prefers to be covered with plants (which is why weeds move in in the first place!) Protected from the elements, it can stay healthy, and covered with a mulch it will draw nutrients and worms will get to work over time which will improve the condition of the soil.
So, all in all, mulching is a good idea. I’ve been using a combination of three mulches for my plot:
- Homemade compost – I didn’t have quite as much as I’d like as I foolishly allowed bindweed and nettles to take over a large pile of compost, so that is in quarantine having been sifted through earlier in spring. I’m reluctant to use it until next season when I will have had a chance to pull out any emerging shoots and can be confident I won’t be spreading bindweed and nettles over my raised beds!
- Soil Conditioner – I used Natural Grower’s organic conditioner. Although the instructions say to dig this in, I’ve decided to use it as a mulch. I did this over the autumn with some kale plants that were struggling, and they bounced back really quickly. I think if your soil is nutrient deficient, this is an excellent mulch to use. That said, you will need to take a shower afterwards if you use it – the stuff is quite stinky!
- Strulch – I’ve used this before in the garden and have been really pleased with it. I’ve mainly used it on beds where I’m growing plants that the slugs like, as it is a fairly effective deterrent to slugs. I find it annoying to water over the top of as the stretch moves around a bit, but it is still good stuff.
Hope this helps if you are struggling to keep on top of weeds or fed up with watering your plot!! Good luck with the mulching!