Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mulching (AKA: How NOT to Spend Your Summer Weeding)

Garden? Planted...

Plants? Content...

Water? Every other day...

and weeding? Nope.

What? Really, you ask...

In my garden there is very little weeding. (I mean, come on there are so many other things I would rather be doing than weeding like alphabetizing my homeopathics or cleaning out the freezer of the-year-before-last-years remaining vegetables.) Hello free time! Yes, welcome to the wonderful world of mulching. Summer months are when plants and weeds struggle for all those good things that help make green things grow. Mulching around plants helps keep the weeds down and water in the soil. This one thing has saved me countless hours bent over in the garden.

Some people use actual wood mulch but there are other cheaper alternatives too. I've tried newspaper and cardboard but since I tried yard clippings, I'll never go back. Here's what my mulching routine looks like.

Step 1: I catch yard clippings in my push mower.

Step 2: Fill my nearby wheelbarrow with clippings, about 6 bags.

Step 3: Push full load of clipping to your garden plot and spread a generous layer (think wood mulch, about 2-3 inches) around plants, but not too close. I leave a two inch radius around the stems free from the grass clippings.

Step 4: Nothing! Just water and pull an occasional renegade weed.

This is what my mulching looks like immediately after... it starts green and poofy.

a day later... losing some of that color and height.

and a week later. Completely brown and flat.

See how the clipping form a thick layer. I would compare it to a grass mat. Keeps light out but still lets water in and keeps it there. I wish I had a picture of last years garden later in the season. The only weeds we were fighting were on the walking paths that we hadn't mulched. Also, my grass clipping are NEVER grass. More like weed clippings. And yet mulching my garden plants with them doesn't just give me more weeds. I know, amazing!

What other tricks do you use to keep weeds down in your garden?

1 comment:

  1. I've always been afraid to do that because of weed seeds! Wow! Maybe I'll do that for my paths between raised beds until I can afford gravel. Nice!


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