Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why Mulch?

Hillside potato patch made from composted soil.
Mulching is sort of a kissing cousin to composting. I've been using both gardening practices over the years.

According to the Ecological Agriculture Projects website, there are lots of good reasons to mulch.
  • controls weeds
  • protects roots
  • improves soil
  • reduces pests
  • keeps soil most
  • moderates soil temperatures
Rain barrels above the garden patch.
The last two reasons prompted me to start mulching.

This year, I planted my hillside potato patch during a warm spell. After only three days of watering from my 55-gallon rain barrels, it was over half empty.

The hillside potato patch covered in leaf mulch.
I gathered buckets of salal leaves from the cliff-side path (with the added bonus of a neater trail). After a heavy watering, I spread the natural mulch over the potato patch and watered again. My hope was to keep the sprouting seed potatoes moist enough to get well established.

Yukon Gold potato plants with mulch in June.
As you can see, mulching with natural products was a huge success. My potato plants haven't been this strong and healthy. I have great hopes for a good crop of spuds come August. My soil depth in the cliff-side patch isn't very deep yet. All of it has come from years of composting. But it's rich in nutrients, and now even richer in moisture.

Do you mulch in your garden? What do you use? Has it been successful?

For more information about gardening, check out the Ecological Agriculture Projects website by the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada. Publications are available in French and English on a variety of agricultural and gardening topics.

Hop on over to the Not So Modern Housewife and see some great ideas for homesteading and simple living. more ideas? Try Nancy's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop. -- Margy

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