20 Reasons Why You Should Mulch Your Garden

Are you sick of weeding or watering your garden all the time? Losing plants to hot summers and freezing winters? There may be a simple solution to minimize the impact of these challenges – Mulch!

20 Reasons why you should mulch your garden

20 Reasons Why You Should Mulch Your Garden

 

What is Mulch?

Mulch is a material that is spread around a plant or over the soil surface as a protective layer. If you think of soil as a ‘cake,’ the mulch is simply the ‘icing’ or ‘topping’. It provides a huge range of benefits for you and your garden. Mulch comes from a wide variety of organic or inorganic materials. Mulch ranges in cost from free to expensive.

20 Benefits of Using Mulch …

Why do you need mulch anyway?  These are some of the reasons to use the ‘marvellous miracle of mulch’ in your garden.

1. Adds organic matter to your soil. This helps make your garden healthier and more resistant to pest and disease. (Saves money on pest control).

 

Fallen blossoms as mulch for flowering dianthus in a pot

There are many free sources of mulch like these yellow blossoms from my tree. Rather than making a slippery mess on the pathway (problem) I used them as a decorative & practical pot mulch (solution).

 

2. Provides valuable slow-release nutrients and prevents vitamin loss in plants. (Saves money on fertilisers).

3. Helps retain moisture in the soil for longer. Mulch prevents evaporation by shielding the soil from the sun. It also reduces water run-off during rain or watering. This reduces the amount of water needed. (Saves money).

4. Shades delicate seedlings from too much sun. (A mini umbrella).

5. Reduces time spent watering. (Saves time and money).

 

“Mulch can retain up to 70% more water in the soil than unmulched soil.”

 

6. Is a great insulator by regulating soil temperature. Keeps roots consistently cool in summer and warm in winter. (Reduces plant stress).

7. Provides a natural barrier to stop weeds from growing and competing with plants for nutrients. How? By blocking the sunlight. You’ll find it easier to remove the few weeds that do grow. (Saves you time).

 

Sweetcorn in raised garden bed using mulch to mound around stalks

I have also used mulch to mound around sweetcorn stalks to support them as they develop roots.

 

8. Increases biological activity in your soil. How? By providing beneficial micro-organisms and earthworms with food.

9. Improves soil conditions. Helps to bind sandy soils and open up clay soils.

10. Saves you time and energy cultivating the soil.

11. Stops nutrients from leaching out of the soil.

 

Free mulch resources are all around us - like lawn clippings and raked leaves

Free mulch resources are all around us – like lawn clippings and raked leaves. If you don’t have your own, solve your neighbour’s problem by offering to remove theirs!

 

12. Protects plants from frost damage by acting as a protective ‘blanket.’

13. Provides a clean surface for produce like fruit and nuts to fall, ready for harvesting.

14. Improves soil drainage and structure as it decomposes.

15. Provides support around plants especially young seedlings.

 

Seedlings in pots well mulched

Use mulch to protect and support seedling stems in pots or after transplanting.

 

16. Recycles waste materials. e.g. organic mulches like grass clippings and leaves.

17. Protects plants from mud-splash during watering or rain.

18. Prevents erosion and soil compaction particularly from foot traffic on pathways and play areas.

19. Improves the visual appearance of your garden.

20. Can provide a home for plant-friendly insects.

 

Lemongrass - use secateurs to snip to size for your pot plants.

I grow lemongrass not only for culinary use in the kitchen but also as a source of fragrant mulch for my container gardens.

 

So regardless of where you live and whether your plants are in pots or beds, mulch is a key ingredient for a successful organic garden.

CLICK BELOW for mulch and soil building resources

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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2016. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.

Comments

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17 Comments

  1. titanique June 9, 2014 at 6:01 am - Reply

    Anne, merci, pour tous vos conseils, moi je suis en France, dans le Morbihan, avec un micro climat, j’apprends beaucoup avec vous et j’adore jardiner!
    bon wk, Amitiés, Annick

    • Anne Gibson June 9, 2014 at 8:36 am - Reply

      Salut Annick, merci beaucoup pour vos commentaires. Heureux de vous aider à apprendre et profiter de votre jardin. Trouver la joie dans chaque jour dans les petites choses que vous voyez. L’abondance de la nature est partout, si nous prenons le temps de regarder et apprécier. Bénédictions, Anne

  2. Vic May 9, 2014 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Hello
    I grow a lot of Kale here in Vancouver.
    I’d like your opinion if Cypres tree and Pine needles residue (falled from tree and has spend rotting most of winter) mixed with sawdust would make a good mulch.
    I have about 1/2 m2 from a 96 sq feet 99% recycled green house I built.
    I was going to put it into my compost pit, but thought maybe I can put it a mulch around my kale plants.
    http://visualsenses.smugmug.com/Nature-in-its-many-splendors/My-KALE-forest-and-organic/13595110_78GD5j#!i=3232358921&k=2Wv2c9f
    Also for growing garlic would you recommend buy garlic from local farmer markets. We are two and eat one full garlic every day in our food I cook Asian and stirr fry a lot. But when to plant it in a region like Vancouver where it rains a lot and we have coldish sometimes snowy winters otherwise very wet most winters. I have a full south exposure plot unused and could grow it there its above a stone wall so very well drained. Thanks love your blog.
    Thanks
    Vic

    • Anne Gibson May 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      Hi Vic
      You’re growing a fantastic garden. Loved the pics of your kale ‘trees’ and raised beds especially. Despite your sunlight hours your soil must be good to produce healthy crops.
      The pine needle/sawdust (especially partly composted) make a great mulch – just need consistent moisture to ensure the microbes are active. These materials will add organic matter and slow release nutrients to your garden at the same time. They are also ideal ingredients in compost so you could add some to increase the variety of ingredients you use in your system.
      Re garlic, see my post on growing garlic [https://themicrogardener.com/5-step-guide-to-growing-gorgeous-garlic/] for more tips on suppliers and sourcing clean, organic bulbs. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask and thanks so much for your feedback.
      Congrats on a great garden – keep up your efforts. Cheers, Anne

  3. maria cotter December 5, 2013 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Hello Anne,

    Anne thank you for your help in regards the magnolia. I followed your instructions and I have been waiting patiently for a whole year now; looking at the tree every day; and as you wrote to me;

    your encouragement was such a healing process while my beautiful magnolia was almost dead

    the tree is now ready to flower. It’s 10.00pm so I cannot take a photo but I will send you the result of your help.

    You make a lot of people happy.
    Everyday you were in my mind because I see that tree 8hours a day.

    thank you Anne.

    Maria Cotter

    • The Micro Gardener December 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm - Reply

      Hi Maria
      Great to hear from you and that it’s happy news about your magnolia. I remember it was in a very sad state a year back when you sent the pics. I’d love to see an update and how it is now thriving under your care. Your patience has paid off! Thank you for your lovely comment and so thrilled my advice has made a difference.
      Warm regards, Anne

  4. Krimhilda November 5, 2013 at 11:09 am - Reply

    Hi Anne:

    All of your newsletters and topics are so inspiring and much needed to have a good harvest. Thank you. What is the best kind of tomatoe for pot planting? I live in a subtropical area (Guatemala, Central America), with almost no temperature variation (between 80 to 72 all year round). Our dry season starts in November and I´m about to plant my garlic, for the first time!!!; I´m excited!.
    Have a blessed day. Krimhilda

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