What you've heard is true - mulch is a gardener's best friend! Mulch can help save you time, money, and effort, and is a fantastic addition to your garden. But with that being said, what is mulch? What does it do? And how do you use it? Mulch covers the soil in your garden, keeping moisture from evaporating too quickly and keeping weeds from growing up through the ground.
There are lots of different kinds of mulch—leaves, shredded bark and hay are just three options—but they all have one thing in common: they will create a sturdy and solid foundation for your garden bed which is especially important when you're growing vegetables that need plenty of nutrients!
Organic vs. inorganic mulch - which is best?
Mulch is a material used to cover the soil surface. There are different types of mulch, including organic and inorganic. Organic mulches come from natural materials such as bark, grass clippings, leaves and so on. Inorganic mulches are manufactured products made from plastic or rubber that can last for several years without breaking down.
Organic mulches have many benefits during the summer heat. They prevent water evaporation from the soil surface, thus helping plants retain moisture longer into periods of drought or dry weather conditions when plants need it most!
Organic mulches also help control weeds by blocking sunlight to their seeds and seedlings preventing them from growing into mature plants that compete with your desired plants for nutrients and space (especially if you have limited garden space). Organic materials such as shredded bark can improve soil structure by providing extra aeration along with nutrients needed for healthy plant growth when decomposed properly (this takes time though so make sure not too much is applied at once).
Inorganic mulch, on the other hand, consists of material that doesn't decompose. It's made from man-made materials like plastic, rubber, or even glass. This means it will last much longer than organic mulch and won't need replacing every few years.
There are many different types of inorganic mulch that serve different purposes: bark chips are great for adding color and texture; gravel helps with drainage; perlite helps keep moisture in the soil; vermiculite gives plants extra nutrients; and pebbles look beautiful and make a nice path.
Whether you choose organic or inorganic mulch is entirely up to you and depends on what your goals are!
Grass clippings and shredded newspaper are good backups for mulch.
If you have an area that needs mulching but you don't want to spend the money on bagged or compressed materials, try using your lawn mower's bagger attachment to collect grass clippings from your yard. You can use them as a layer of material beneath plants or in raised beds.
The same goes for shredded newspaper, which will decompose faster than brown corrugated cardboard but take longer than plastic bags or pellets. Grass clippings may get wet and begin to smell if they're not covered with another material (like wood chips), so put them down only after adding compost or other organic matter first.
Don't use grass clippings that have been treated with herbicides, though!
Here's the deal: Some grass clippings contain herbicides. When used as mulch, they can actually be toxic to your soil and plants! The best option is to use untreated grass clippings or leaf litter, which you can find at many home improvement stores. If you don't have access to these things, get your hands on a compost pile that will break down the chemicals over time (or just wait for nature to do its thing).
Mulching can save you time and trouble in the garden!
Mulching your garden bed can save you time and trouble in the garden. It helps keep weeds down, keeps the soil moist, cool and healthy. Mulch is great for flowerbeds, vegetable gardens and even around trees. It's important to remember that there are many types of mulch, so don't be afraid to experiment! A good rule of thumb is that any material that decomposes more slowly than compost will make a good mulch.
If you're ever unsure of how to get started with mulching, sure to check with your local garden center as they will know what works best for your area and can help you select the right mulch for your needs.