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Mulching in the garden

Mulching in the garden

Mulching is when we add organic material to the garden, primarily to aid moisture retention, but also to keep roots cool and prevent weeds.    

The first, and probably the most important reason to mulch is to save water and use water effectively.  Mulch stops the top of the soil drying out, keeps the soil moist, and can reduce the amount of watering required. It also means you can leave your garden for a weekend without the neighbors needing to come over and water!!

Mulching also prevents weeds  and because weeds are so fast growing they also use a lot of the moisture in the soil, thus starving your plants of the all-important H2O. Mulching also keeps the soil temperature constant, During frosts, the roots are not damaged when thick mulch is applied, and of course the temperature is importantly lowered during the summer heat. Organic mulch is also adding organic matter to the soil as it gradually breaks down.

So what types of Mulch are there?

Garden Mulch can be inorganic such as river pebbles, scoria and garden rocks, which don't break down, but can of course serve a valuable purpose.  It may also be more attractive for your garden.

Our favorite at online plants is organic mulch, such as pea straw, lucerne, hay, there are also bagged mulches available from most garden centers.  Of course, home grown compost can be another form of useful mulch.   Pine bark, and other wood chips, such as red gum mulch are really useful, apply at 100mm thickness and top up every year as required. You'll rarely find a weed growing through, and if they do, they'll be weak and easily removed. Moisture retention is better with finer wood mulches, rather than the heavier types. 

As these mulch's gradually break down they are adding valuable nutrients to the soil.

Don't feel limited to using the same type of mulch through your garden.  I've seen some fantastic contrast used when one area has fine off white river pebbles, and then bordered with jarrah timber or flexible steel through to another garden area with brown cottage pine bark.  Very effective. 

Mulching is a terrific time saver in the garden, and one of the cheapest ways to dress up your garden.

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