This is the time of year when everyone is raking leaves off their lawns and making sure their garden beds are nice and tidy. But did you know that having bare soil is actually terrible for your garden? Everywhere we go we see garden beds with bare soil and no mulch!
Mother Nature is so ashamed to have her bare naked body exposed to the world!
When it rains, the drops of water will splatter and erode the bare unmulched soil, leading to soil loss. When it’s sunny, moisture will be evaporated out of the soil leaving it dry and lifeless. When there’s rain and sun, seeds of unwanted volunteer plants (“weeds”) will germinate and give us hell trying to remove them. Our plants will eventually struggle and wilt from the stress of too little water, too little soil, or too much negative competition. If you want to create the lifeless and worthless form of soil known as dirt, not mulching is the quicker way to do it. But if you want to create the soil that your plants really want, you need to mulch.
When there is plenty of mulch, those pesky weed seeds can’t get the daylight they need to germinate. This makes your plants happy because there’s less competition, and makes you happy cause there’s less work for you! The sun also will not be able to bake all the moisture out of the soil and there will be plenty of water in the soil to sustain life. The impact of the rain droplets will be absorbed by the mulch and allowed to soak more slowly into the soil without eroding or compacting it. As the mulch breaks down, it will add organic matter into the soil and therefore increase the nutrition available to your plants.
There are plenty of types of mulch that are available. Wood chips can be sourced from tree companies who need to dump them after large jobs. Straw is another good mulch that is widely and easily available. If you can’t find anything else, you can even get some of the leaves that people are mistakenly raking up and throwing out!
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