Organic mulch offers tremendous advantages when placed around your garden flowers and vegetables. A 2" layer of mulch prevents moisture from evaporating, so less watering is needed. The best time to control weeds is early, before they flower and establish their root system. Mulch blocks much of the weed growth. It also reduces the amount of insects and other pests.
Mulch acts as an insulator to protect soil from extreme heat or cold so a layer of mulch around your plants is a smart idea year round. Plus, mulch makes an attractive groundcover. Mulch comes in a variety of colors from blond to red to dark brown (depending on the source wood). The size of the materials ranges from 1/4" to 3".
Mulch consists of various sizes of chopped wood, usually made from recycled trees and other wood materials. Depending on the blend, mulches can include fir, buckwheat hulls, redwood bark, evergreen boughs, hops, ground corncobs, sugar cane and cottonseed hulls. Avoid buying mulch that contains hay, manure and straw. These types might contain weeds.
Mulches that contain more wood will provide fewer nutrients and decompose slowly. Softer mulches will provide more nutrients but decompose more quickly.
How to Lay Down Mulch
1) Apply a 2" to 4" layer of mulch over the planting beds of already established plants. Leave a 5-inch radius around each plant. Do not put mulch over recently planted seeds because it will hinder their growth.
2) Rake the mulch every so often to expose new mulch.
3) The mulch will decompose over time. When only a thin layer is left, add more.
Bill Camarillo is CFO of Agromin, a Camarillo, California-based manufacturer of premium soil products for the agriculture and horticulture trades and for consumer use. Each month, Agromin receives and processes hundreds of thousands of tons of urban wood and green waste. Agromin then uses a safe, organic and scientific system to formulate its soil products from the processed recycled green materials. http://www.agromin.com