Spring is Here – Get Mulching !
I have read about how the nitrogen is drained from the soil when covering plants with wood chips. This seems to be an ongoing debate. I personally believe it can happen if the plants have a very shallow rooting system and little water.
I use fresh cedar mulch around the raised garden beds. This batch has been shredded rather than chipped. The product is lighter and easier to apply and rake. The cedar will also smell great with the next rain and keep out more of the slugs and snails who get irritated with the sharp edges. It will keep down the weeds and other seeds the birds seem to drop. This mulch will take a longer time to break down not affect the surrounding plants in the raised beds. It will be easier on my knees and back if I have to bend down to work. Best of all the wood chips are free – make friends with your local tree fallers and you will be happy with the results.
I use composted bark mulch for areas with flowers or shrubs. On our little island the weather is getting warmer in the summer and plants dry out quickly, if I plant the mulch too late it will rob the soil of any moisture. I seem to get most of my mulching done in the Spring around Easter. The soil is warm enough to work with. The composted bark mulch or in some cases I use soil amender – both are already composted – keeping the soil rich and not robbing moisture from the roots of the plants. The composted bark mulch in our area is a deep brown and full of nutrients making it look like a brand new garden. We will still get a large amount of rain that will allow the nutrients to flow into the garden and get the plants ready for the warmer weather. Both blankets of mulch will help both areas of the garden maintain moisture for the upcoming summer.