Mulch Mulch More Mulch

Whether you are a McEntire from Glasgow or a Makatini from Maritz borough, not mulching your garden might just ruin a friendship.

 

Why mulch? Where do we start when it comes to mulching a garden? What can I use as a mulch? Where can I get mulching materials from? These are some of the most frequently asked questions about mulch. Let’s see if we can shed some light on some of these pressing issues and remove all doubt about mulch.

Mulch in the garden
Mulch in the garden

Firstly, the benefits of mulch in the garden are endless as one of the biggest reasons to mulch is water retention. We live in a country with quite a low rainfall, and it is vital to utilize this precious natural gift to the best of our ability. By mulching we create a blanket that covers the naked soil and protects it. So, when the rains come the water seeps through the mulch into the soil and less of it runs off ending up where it is of little use. Once the water is trapped under the layer of mulch it cannot evaporate easily, nor can the soil be dried out by the sun or wind. This can save an enormous amount of water. When weed seeds are blown in by the wind and lands on top of the mulch, they do not stand a good chance at germinating or developing into weeds and if they do, are easily removed. Mulch also creates the right environment for all the good microorganisms your garden needs to be healthy. These little critters as well as earthworms and other beneficial insects will slowly decompose the mulch from below and make the nutrients available to your plants. Soil temperature control is another added benefit of mulch, keeping the soil cooler during the day and warmer at night, protecting the root zone of your plants.

 

Often the task of mulching the whole garden seems like climbing mount Everest, a difficult and exhausting task but we need to start somewhere. My suggestion is to start off by mulching smaller or more focal areas of the garden, maybe flowerbeds or pots leading from the garden gate to the front door or around the pool or patio. The rest of the garden can be done in stages. Ideally, we would like to end up with a layer of mulch no less than 5cm and preferably as thick as 10cm for maximum effect. We can always start off with less and add more in weeks or months to come as the budget allows. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and a perfect garden takes time.

 

There are many products on the market that can be used as mulch, some are aesthetically more pretty than others and it is more of a choice of preference in most cases. There are for example Bark Mulch, Bark Chips and Bark Nuggets, these are highly decorative and will last a long time. Ordinary garden compost can also be used as a mulch if spread out on top of the soil without digging it in. Then there are other products like Macadamia nut shells, Peanut shells, Coconut husk or Peach pips. Avoid using stones or gravel as they tend to get very hot during the day and cold at night and does not help in protecting the roots of your plants. The clippings from your lawn and fallen leaves from trees may also be used but with caution as it easily forms impenetrable layers where water cannot penetrate. These are better used in the compost bin with your kitchen scraps and applied once composted.

Grass cuttings
Macadamia nut shells

The best place to get your mulch from is a SANA registered garden center belonging to the garden center association. Here you will have the greatest choice of excellent mulches supplied by reputable composting companies. These products are normally sold in bags and are measured by volume, for instance 30dm3 (30 cubic decimeter, equating to 30 liters). One of these bags will cover 1m2 (one square meter) with a thickness of 3cm.

 

As mentioned earlier, mulching is an ongoing process of adding new layers on top as the bottom layer decomposes and feeds the soil and your plants. By adding mulch on a regular basis, we can sustain this process of feeding your garden as well as protecting the soil from the elements with water saving being the greatest benefit.

 

In this case, more is better.

So, keep on mulching.

To check out Bark’s complete range of products visit their website: https://barkunlimited.co.za/
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