For the last couple years, my friend Doug at Flowerland had been telling me about the advantages of mulching my flower beds. As he always points out, there’s nothing wrong with not mulching but mulch does a lot to protect plants. It helps keep the plant’s roots cool during warm stretches like we’ve had the last couple weeks and it helps the soil retain moisture. It also helps protect the plants during the winter as the ground shifts between freezing and thawing.
Finally last fall, I decided to give it a try. My friend Brandon helped me decide on quantity and select an appropriate type (I went with the Pine Bark Mulch). This spring and summer have been the real test. One of my concerns was feeding my plants. I like using the Tone fertilizers in addition to water solubles on my plants. It was so easy. I just pulled the mulch gently back from the base of the plants, sprinkled on some Rose Tone or Flower Tone, scratched it in to the dirt and pushed the mulch back over top. (It’s also a great time to “stir” the mulch so it doesn’t get matted down.)
I also found mulching to be an advantage with watering too but not for the reason you might think. The soil in my beds has a lot of sandy in it so unless I used a soaker hose to water I would end up with holes (literally) in my beds where the soil “collapsed.” With the mulch cover, that doesn’t seem to happen. I can water directly from the hose at the base of the plants without “sink holes” appearing.
I still don’t mind getting my hands in the dirt but mulch is proving itself a good tool in my gardening adventure. I can’t wait to get outside this weekend and “dig” in!
Until next time…….