Thursday, 9 June 2016

The joy of mulch

Mulched potatoes
Nothing goes to waste in our garden, least of all grass clippings. They make a fantastic mulch that can be used in many places: under hedges, around potatoes and other large vegetables, around fruit trees/bushes and to prepare new areas for cultivation.

Mulching has several benefits:
  • It suppresses weeds.
  • It retains moisture.
  • It provides a slow-release fertiliser. 
To mulch, simply put large wads of glass clippings around the plants, making sure not to touch their stems/trunks. The ground should not be visible. The mulch will break down over time and needs topping up periodically.

Mulch around the brassicas and squashes
We mulch our hedges two or three times a year, same with our fruit trees and other trees that we want to give a boost by suppressing competition and adding nutrients.

After earthing up the potatoes once we put a thick mulch around the plants; this is topped up regularly to keep those tubers well covered.

Elsewhere in the veg garden, we mulch around all the bigger plants that are well spaced out - all the brassicas, squashes, artichokes, sweet corn and celeriacs etc. - and inside the wigwams for beans and peas. It's not practical to use mulch around smaller, tightly spaced plants such as onions, carrots and beetroot - so more weeding is necessary there, sadly.

Mulch is also useful if you want to prepare an area for planting the following year and kill off the weeds in it. For larger areas we use black plastic covers, but for inconveniently shaped areas, maybe with plants already in it that you'd like to keep, mulch is the easiest.

Simply the best way to get rid of all those grass clippings!

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