What, how, and why of mulch

Q. I read your page on no-till. Wish I lived closer and could visit your farm. I have a question. You point out that mulch is so important. It would be nice if you had a page on mulch, what it is, how it is different from compost, for instance, and if I can make it myself or what a good natural source is.

A. We believe that mulch is a vital element of organic gardening principles.

We use a variety of different mulches. The most we use is tree mulch that is delivered free of charge from local tree trimmers. We prefer oak or conifer mulch because these types of tree mulch don’t carry seeds. We also use spoiled hay or straw along with grass clippings and living mulches such like herbal or wild ground covers such as chamomile, clover, mustard and thymes.

We find that in our dry climate that the layer(s) of mulch acts as a cooling and water retaining “blanket” for the soil underneath so that we don’t have to water as much and when we do it doesn’t evaporate. Also the mulch provides food for worms and other insects. And over time the mulch decomposes into a rich, loamy soil and is continually replaced with new layers of mulch. The new soil is then added to our raised beds or pots.

Post a comment