To Mulch, or Not to Mulch, that is the Question....

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To Mulch, or Not to Mulch, that is the Question....

Post by kbr.. » Fri, 23 Jun 1995 04:00:00



I'm a novice gardener who has inherited with my new house/yard
some patches which for many years have been buried beneath a
blanket of oak and maple leaves.  On removing these leaves, I find bare
soil.  I've begun planting a few shrubs and perennial flowers, but it will
obviously take years to fill it out.  I take inspiration elsewhere in the
yard, where I have an old and established rock garden.

Is it best to mulch the bare spots, filling them in over the course of
several years as I decide what would grow well and complement the
developing garden.  I figure that the mulch would both be decorative
and protect the ground from straying weeds.  On the other hand, it
seems like it might interfere with future planting.

My goal is a full perennial garden.

When is mulch the right thing to do?

 
 
 

To Mulch, or Not to Mulch, that is the Question....

Post by alan turn » Sat, 24 Jun 1995 04:00:00


Mulch away!  I have a colleague who plants ~1,000 bulbs a year, and
here's his method:  In the spring, when the existing perennilas are up, he
decides where hw will be planting in the fall.  He mulches that area, about
6" thick.  By the fall, the lawn is all smothered in the new bed. He
uses an iron rake to pull the mulch away, and digs the whole bed to the
correct depth.  Then, open the big bag of daffodil bulbs, and dump them in,
with about as much care as you would take dumping a bunch of onions in the
refrigerator bin.  Backfill, replace mulch.  Next spring, enjoy, and repeat.
 
 
 

To Mulch, or Not to Mulch, that is the Question....

Post by kl.. » Sat, 24 Jun 1995 04:00:00


Quote:

> Is it best to mulch the bare spots, filling them in over the course of
> several years as I decide what would grow well and complement the
> developing garden.  I figure that the mulch would both be decorative
> and protect the ground from straying weeds.  On the other hand, it
> seems like it might interfere with future planting.

Absolutely mulch any bare soil that you don't want to plant at the moment!
Bare soil is a weed-attractant, and if you leave it alone and unwatched
for more than 2.5 sec, all of the noxious weeds in the state will come
by and dump off a load of seeds...  ;-) (just kidding, but bare soil
does sprout bad actors at an astonishing rate, and then the weeds
flower and set seed (most have tiny, not too noticeable flowers),
and dump the seed there.  One pigweed plant means several thousand
or several hundred thousand seeds in the soil, waiting to sprout.  Most
can retain the ability to germinate for many years.  

There's an old gardener's saw about weeds:

  "One season's seeding is seven year's weeding."

Actually, it's probably closer to 20 year's weeding, and who wants to
spend their whole lives doing that?  I'd sooner be growing the stuff
I want!


 
 
 

To Mulch, or Not to Mulch, that is the Question....

Post by Christine A. Owen » Mon, 26 Jun 1995 04:00:00


Quote:

>I'm a novice gardener who has inherited with my new house/yard
>some patches which for many years have been buried beneath a
>blanket of oak and maple leaves.  On removing these leaves, I find bare
>soil.  I've begun planting a few shrubs and perennial flowers, but it
will
>obviously take years to fill it out.  I take inspiration elsewhere in
the
>yard, where I have an old and established rock garden.

>Is it best to mulch the bare spots, filling them in over the course of
>several years as I decide what would grow well and complement the
>developing garden.  I figure that the mulch would both be decorative
>and protect the ground from straying weeds.  On the other hand, it
>seems like it might interfere with future planting.

>My goal is a full perennial garden.

>When is mulch the right thing to do?

Mulch is ALWAYS (well, almost always) the right thing to do.  It sure is
in your case:  It will protect the ground, hold in moisture, and provide
slow-release fertilization all at once.  (Please tell me that you
composted all those lovely leaves!)

Chris Owens