Just as important as cultivation, is the health of your garden and the use of a mulch; and here at Miller Plant Farm we focus on both types of mulch for gardeners. The following information shows why and how to use mulch most effectively.
- A mulch will conserve moisture and maintain uniform moisture, help keep weeds down, help prevent soil from packing and crusting, keep fruits from direct contact with the soil.
- There are two basic types of mulches, organic (straw, grass clippings, leaves, peat moss, etc.) and black plastic mulch. Plastic mulch will tend to increase soil temperatures while organic mulches will maintain a cooler soil temperature. Problems with organic mulches such as weeds, loss of nitrogen if it is not completely composted and pH changes can occur. Plastic mulches are much more trouble free. One benefit of organic mulches is soil conditioning -- at the end of the crop it is merely turned under where it adds organic matter to the soil. Plastic mulches do not disintegrate and need to be removed at the end of the growing season.
- Before mulching, remove all weeds and condition the soil for best plant growth.
- Some gardeners have begun to use black plastic mulch over the entire garden wherever transplants are being used. After the first rain when puddles of water form; go around with a nail or pencil and make a small hole to drain the water. The hole is enough to allow rain to penetrate but not big enough to allow weeds to grow.