Different ways of mulching

Here are a few examples.

“Don’ts”

The mulch in the photo below is doing some good, but it is too thin. Weeds are growing through. What is needed is a light-proof layer below the mulch (e.g. cardboard or a newspaper) and a thicker layer of compostable mulch.

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Mulching between courgette plants (or marrows)

The courgette plants are well established and getting bigger. It will soon be difficult to weed between them and the soil will dry out if left un-mulched.

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Newspaper or cardboard is placed between the plants and a layer of composted tree shreddings on top of the paper. (use whatever compost or mulch you have available, e.g. grass cuttings, straw, pulled-out weeds)

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These plants will now grow well. No need to weed or water them again! Continue all around and between each plant until no bare soil remains.

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(For information – these plants gave a fabulous crop and were not watered at all in the very dry and hot summer of 2018). No weeds bothered them either.

Newspaper and grass clippings, a really good combination.

The photo below shows it mid-mulching. This can be used between crops or over a wide area before planting (use a trowel or similar to make a hole through the paper and into the soil when planting).

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Mulching onion sets straight after planting.

The onion sets have been planted with a dibber in undug soil that was mulched last year. A single sheet of newspaper was placed on top and a further layer of mulch to weigh the paper down. This combination prevents weed growth in the onion bed.

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Spring mulching of garlic.

The garlic was planted and mulched in the previous autumn in a similar way to the onions, as described above. Once the garlic plants have emerged and are growing well a further mulch of paper and grass cuttings or similar is added between the rows. Wood chips used on the path.  Almost no weeds appeared at all in this bed.

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Winter mulching using crop residues or straw

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Winter is a good time to bag up mulch ready for later.

The weather may not be good enough for actual gardening, but if there is a source of mulch it can be bagged up and brought to the plot ready for Spring or Summer. It is there ready and waiting and much easier to empty a bag than go and fetch in when your are busy in the growing season. Material to bag might include crop residues or kitchen compost (peelings, tea bags etc)

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The easiest method of all – use woven weed-control fabric.

The fabric does need to be secured, see the broken slab and the wood chips, to prevent it blowing away in windy weather.

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