Summer Gardening – Mulching Basics

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,978
    National Gardening Association expert Katherine Whiteside discusses the top tips for mulching. Learn the proper technique for mulching an ornamental and vegetable garden so it stays fresh all summer long!

    Katherine Whiteside: Hi, I am Katherine Whiteside, the author of six garden books and a volunteer for the National Gardening Association. Today we're here at Oatlands in Leesburg Virginia and we're going to talk about effective ways to mulch your garden. So everyone knows that mulching gardens is a good idea, but exactly why do we mulch?

    First, and most important for both vegetables and ornamentals, is to conserve water. Mulch traps the moisture in the soil, rather then letting it evaporate into the atmosphere. Second, it cuts down on weeding. Mulch smothers the little weeds that come up in-between our rows and in-between our flowers.

    Third, is that mulch helps prevent deceases. That's because when we mulch around our plants, it prevents mud from splashing up on the leaves and spreading the spores of funguses and deceases. So we talked about why you mulch, now let's talk about how to do it. Depending on where you live you can get either hay from a farmer, or you can make your compost, or if you're an urban gardener, you can recycle your newspapers.

    And you don't inches and inches and inches of this stuff, you just want to go into your garden when the ground is thoroughly moist and lay down a nice layer of mulch to keep the moisture in the soil, instead of it evaporating up into the air. You're going to apply the mulch sort of in a donut shape around the plant.

    You want to keep it away from the stem, because too much piled around the stem will promote decease. Another thing you can look for in your local plant center is a product called Weed Barrier Cloth. It's a black woven cloth which you can cut and spread to fit your garden exactly.

    I recycle my weed barrier cloth and use the same pieces year after year. So if it comes cost effective after several seasons. So as you can see, there are several techniques you can use to mulch in your garden. Whatever you do, definitely do mulch. You will cut back on your watering, it will save you weeding time and it will benefit to health up your plants.