Mulching your garden is very important. Just think about all the weeds popping up this spring, and the hot summer days to follow. Mulches can beat down weeds, and help retain moisture while giving your garden a clean feeling. At Jerry’s we carry 5 types of mulches, each with pros and cons. Some can be worked in to improve soil quality , while others can actually rob the soil of nutrients. Different mulches decompose at different rates, bark mulches decompose at a much slower rate than organic mulches like cocoa beans, etc. Bark chips, or shredded cedar are great for perennial beds, as the mulch will last for a few years. Cocoa Bean decomposes and becomes part of the soil over time.
TIPS: Applying mulches can be tricky. Do not cover the crown of perennials, because perennials like Peony’s may not flower if the crown is buried too deep. You also can waste mulch by applying too thick, although the thicker the layer will make weeds easier to pull out. Do not walk all over your garden. Compacting the soil beneath your mulch is not a good idea. Weeds pull easier from soil that has been worked and not compacted. Each mulch has its pros and cons, here is a list of what we carry, and some ideas why you should use that mulch.
Shredded Cedar Mulch: Forms a nice mat once watered. Easy to apply, just dump a bag, and use a rake to spread the mulch around the bases of your plants. Easy to walk on. Long lasting, scent repels insects.
Small Bark Chips: Still “mat” somewhat, but chips are small, and can be affected by high winds. Great for paths, as chips are small enough not to trip over or create uneven ground. Long lasting, scent repels insects.
Medium Bark Chips: No matting quality, not the greatest for paths but less prone to blow away. Great for big gardens, longest lasting of the bark chip mulches.
Cocoa Bean Mulch: Forms a mat once watered. Easy to apply, dump bag and use a broom to spread evenly over the garden. Can attract dogs, and other animals so think about them as well. Decomposes, and must be replaced 1 to 2 times per year depending. Great for vegetables, annuals, and of course perennials too! Holds more moisture than Cedar Bark, or Chips. Not organic, but a recycled product via the cocoa industry.
Dr. Earth Planting Mix: Not only an organic mulch, but a major soil improvement! Includes worm castings, bat guano, kelp meal, and seaweed extract. Also features mycorrhizae soil organisms to improve the fertility of your garden, as well as the drought tolerance of your plants. Learn more about Dr. Earth soils and other products by visiting their website: http://www.drearth.com/products/organic-soils/