Mulching your garden is cheap and one of the most accessible jobs a homeowner can do. Both organic mulches, as well as inorganic, will help to moderate soil temperatures and reduce weather damage, as well as prevent weed growth and hold back soil moisture.
Furthermore, a well-built mulch batch can dramatically transform the appearance of a garden or flower bed and create a unique look.
When you mulch your garden and flower beds is an effortless and inexpensive project, however, if you are new to mulching, there may be some questions on how to get the most out of your efforts.
Here, we will look at what is the best mulches for vegetable gardens, flowers, other garden areas, and how to add mulch to your flower beds.
Choosing the Best Mulch
When you are looking for a mulch to buy, there are two varieties; you can choose. There is inorganic mulch, or you have organic.
Organic mulch comprises any matter that will rot and decay. In this, you can find all manner of things such as grass clippings, straw, chopped leaves, wood chips, compost, pine needles and other wood mulch.
Inorganic mulches add no benefits to the soil, but they are more useful for weed control. You find these in materials such as landscape fabric (geotextiles), recycled plastics and rubber mulch.
What is the Purpose of Mulch?
The purpose of mulch is primarily to keep the plant roots and the soil surrounding them cool. In younger plants, this is more vital while they struggle to become more established in your garden during warmer weather.
All mulches will help retain soil moisture. Additionally, all mulches can help with controlling weeds.
They manage this by denying the germination of the weed seeds. With no sunlight able to reach the surrounding areas, they are a physical barrier between soil and seeds.
Landscape fabrics or other inorganic mulches do an excellent job for home improvement around the garden, yet they don’t fertilize the soil like the organic varieties of mulch.
Some soil types also benefit when applying mulch. For example, the best mulch for vegetable garden helps with sand or clay soils.
If your garden is clay, then it aids aeration through an increase in worm activity, or if you have sandy soil, then mulch helps hold enough moisture for your plants before it drains away.
How Much Mulch Do I Need?
When you are ready to begin mulching, you do need to calculate the cubic feet of mulch you need. You will have to work out the cubic feet of mulch to cover all the areas in your garden.
To work out the amount, take some rough measurements of your flower beds. Length and width are all you need. You will have the square feet of your flower beds.
To prevent weed growth, you need around 2 to 3 inches of mulch in depth. So, multiply your length, by your width, and then multiply the total by either 2 or 3. Now, you have the cubic feet of your flower beds.
Bags of mulch will detail the area they cover, so you can easily calculate the number required to cover the soil surface you have measured.
When Should I Mulch?
It doesn’t matter if you are looking for vegetable garden mulch, or you want to mulch flower beds. You can mulch at any time throughout the year as long as the soil is bare.
Once spring arrives, any mulch will control the weeds. In the summer, the mulch keeps the soil cool, and both your vegetables and flower beds will appreciate this.
If you are in the fall, you can add mulch, and make your own as one of your DIY projects. As part of your lawn care, you can use your lawnmower to run over all the dead leaves.
If you have a bag collector, you can add all these dead leaves directly to your garden.
Even in the winter, it can be a good time when to mulch. Mulch will help prevent frost setting in too hard.
How to Mulch
When looking at how to mulch flower beds, you can find it straightforward. There is a basic set of steps to complete this DIY home task, which we have here.
Before adding mulch, remove weeds from your flower beds. If you have a weed problem, you can add layers of 4-sheets of old newspapers. This acts as a barrier.
Water the flowerbeds before adding your mulch.
Take your mulch bags to your flowerbeds and cut them open. If you have loose mulch, use your wheelbarrow to move it to your flowerbeds.
Spread a layer of mulch with a garden rake or your hands until you have the desired thickness
Leave spaces of about 2 to three inches around the base of your flower. This helps prevent rot in your flowers.
If your flowerbed is at the side of your house, then spread the mulch, but leave a good six inches clear of mulch from your home or building as a means of pest control.
One of the fundamental mistakes some gardeners make is they think to mulch flower beds is a one-off shot. This is far from reality because the organic varieties will break down and absorb into the soil.
You can even find you need to apply mulch more than once in one growing season. Layers can thin over time, and weeds can finally poke their heads up to take root.
If you choose one of the larger types of mulch that incorporates bark, then the frequency of topping up your mulch maybe once per year, if not longer. This makes your outdoor living chores much more relaxed and enjoyable.