Mulch is a great way to improve your garden yields, reduce the work, and make gardening more enjoyable. It is an excellent investment and one we recommend for all gardeners. We’ve outlined a number of benefits and some suitable materials you can use.

Mulch Benefits

1. Mulch Keeps Moisture in the Soil
A thick layer of mulch minimize the moisture loss due to evaporation. This is especially noticeable on a hot summer day where small container edibles can dry out very quickly and need multiple waterings.

2. Mulch Insulates the Soil
The thicker the layer, the greater the insulation. Mulch helps insulate soil temperature from extreme fluctuations, reducing stress on the plant, which means happier and healthy plants and greater yields.

3. Mulch Reduces Weed Germination
Mulch also prevents weed seeds that get either blown in from the wind or transferred by insects or animals from germinating. It prevents them from taking root.

4. Mulch Is Great For Creating Pathways
A layer of mulch on the pathway reduces soil compaction and minimizes mud and dirt from splashing on your plants during a rain or tracking it on your shoes.

5. Mulch Adds Organic Matter to the Soil Over Time
Mulch is made of natural materials. Over time, these materials biodegrade and add organic matter back into the soil, feeding the microorganisms.

Mulch Materials

You can use a variety of materials for mulch including straw (but not hay), leaves (best to shred them and/or run a lawn mower over them first), wood chips (look for tree removal companies working in your area), wood bark, pine needles and more. If you are adding a significant quantity of mulch, you may want to check your soil pH as many materials are acidic and can disrupt the balance in your soil.

Cover Image by Joe Hoover, used under its Creative Commons license.
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