This year I was a bit late getting my garden mulched, but better late than never, right? At least I got it done before the hot weather kicked in. And because of that, I sailed right through those heat waves and dry days without having to drag out the garden hose. I love mulch. It makes my life so much easier.
Here's the freshly mulched garden. I mulch everything--planting beds and paths. I think it makes the veggie patch look clean, organized, and much more appealing. And the mulch kills the weeds, keeps the plant roots cool and moist, and eventually breaks down to feed the soil. Who could argue with that?
Here's how it looked before the mulch came along. Full of weeds! I just can't stand to see it this way. Quick, scroll on down. Now's not the time to dawdle!
I hate pulling the weeds, so I prefer to smother them. A few layers of newspaper will do the trick. I use enough to keep the sunlight out and kill the weeds. A few well-placed stones will hold the papers down on a windy day, or a spritz of water works, too. It may look like I'm putting trash on the garden, but the newspapers break down along with the mulch, and the earthworms love it. Did you know earthworms are good for the garden? Okay, that's an understatement. But we can chat about that later...
The next step is to spread straw or wood mulch over the papers. Wood mulch looks great, but I like the look of straw in a vegetable garden. Plus, it's what I had. It was either make a trip to the store for wood mulch, or grab a bale of straw from the barn. The barn was closer.
I have some banty hens who live in and around the barn, and they like to hang out on the straw bales. Sometimes I even find a nest of eggs hidden beneath a bale! If I were a banty hen, that's where I'd make my nest too. But I'm not a banty hen, and there's a garden waiting to get mulched, so.......SCAT, banty hens! I need those bales.
Once I got all the straw down, it was just about finished. If I had used wood mulch, it would have been finished. But straw is kind of fluffy, and it needs packing down. I don't ever do that. I just give it a few days and a rain shower or two and it settles right down on its own.
Lucky for me, I finished just in time for a rain shower to hit. I stood on the back steps, watched the rain pack down the straw for me, and admired my handiwork. I may have patted myself on the back. Don't tell anyone.