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By: organicfarmingblog , 8:23 AM GMT on April 16, 2014
Picture courtesy of: http://www.suzys-garden.com/images/grow-cucumbers- mulch.jpg
Mother Nature invented mulch. We only adopted it after realizing the great benefit it gives in reducing waste and thereby improving the environment. Mulching can be traced as far back to prehistoric farmers using stone as a protective covering for their plants. For centuries gardeners have realized the value of mulch in reducing evaporation, preventing erosion, maintaining soil temperature and controlling weeds.
Mulching is one of the keys to conserving the most precious resource, our water supplies.
Let me show you one interesting fact. Here in the US, each household uses an average of 240,000 liters of water a year and an estimated 36% of that is used on gardens. That’s almost twice the size of an average swimming pool! This is where mulching can help us reduce the water we use for our garden. Do you know that by merely integrating a mulching plan in our garden activity, we can save around 75% of water?
But mulching is more than just saving water. It is the secret to a low garden maintenance and here are some of the reasons why:
√ It is an incredible weed suppressant.
√ It attracts micro-organisms and earthworms into the ground.
√ It provides plant growth elements and nutrients.
√ It conserves moisture in soil.
√ It keeps the soil temperatures warm at night and cool at daytime.
√ It helps plant’s roots to push deeper for food.
√ It protects and shades seeds from sunlight.
√ It prevents pest from laying eggs near the plant roots.
There are some factors you need to consider in order to know how much mulch to use and when to apply them, factors like the type of soil, type of mulch to use, amount of rainfall and how much weed / pests is under the ground.
Although non-organic mulches are readily available, Organic mulches are still the best to use because of their eco-friendly properties. They come in wood barks, cacao hulls, compost, hay, fresh leaves and more.
There are also some negative effects when covering your soil with mulch. Without sunlight, it’s impossible for seeds to germinate and the sprouts will have difficulty pushing through the mulch. Now you’ll definitely need some planning here. Heavy rain can make the ground soggy for several days and let the soil dry, you need to rake off the mulch. And there are the slugs, cutworms and bugs that love moist and dark places, in this case you only use a thin layer of mulch. You need to consider these positive and negative effects to get the result you want. Try doing your homework first before you start mulching.
You want to improve the “look” of your garden? Try decorating it with mulch. It’s a good exercise too.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.
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