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How To Mulch Your Garden

Updated on June 9, 2015


Adding mulch to your garden beds is an effective way to conserve water, reduce weeding and enhance your garden’s fertility.

Some people use decorative mulch such as stone or wood chips for the decorative effect. This method can also conserve water and suppress weds but will have less of an impact on the soil’s health.

I prefer thinking of mulching being similar to composting only I am more selective in what I use for mulch, no carrots tops or apple peels, for example.

You add a layer of organic material, the leaves from your trees, for example to the garden bed and this then mimics what happens on the forest floor where leaves and needles drop to the ground, where they break down over time and then absorbed as food. This method is a cold composting style and will take a little longer.

There are a number of benefits to adding mulch to your garden beds. They include:

1-water/moisture conservation - mulch works like a sponge in that it will hold water and nutrients close to the soil, shields the soil from the drying effects of sun as well as reducing evaporation as it protects the soil from the wind’s blast. The plants form strong and healthy roots in this protective environment which also attract earthworms that provide another service, aeration. Aerated soil enhances water absorption.

2- Mulch controls weeds. Mulch makes it difficult for any weed seed to reach the ground and germinate; fewer weeds less time spend pulling weeds and reduced need for pesticides.

3- Mulch acts as insulation that keeps the soil cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

4- Mulch breaks down and feeds the soil which as any gardener knows is the gardener’s principal task; feed the soil and your plants have a better chance of thriving and feeding you.

Mulching Tips:

1- Mulch is spread on top of the soil around the plants and along pathways. You can use wood chips, leaves from deciduous trees and shrubs, lawn clippings and sawdust as mulch around perennial plants.

2- For your vegetable garden use nitrogen-rich green materials, for example, lawn clippings and other green garden trimmings.

  • To mulch your lawn leave the grass clippings in place after mowing as this add nutrients and reduce water loss.
  • Annuals, perennials and vegetable seedlings can benefit from mulch which you move aside at planting time and then pull back around the plant as it grows.
  • You do not put mulch too close to tree trunks or near the base of heat-loving vegetables and flowers (mulches cool the soil). Spread the mulch trees out to the drip line, which is the outer perimeter of the tree’s branches.
  • Remove mulch or turn it under in the Spring as slugs and snails will see it as an ideal lace to lay eggs.

You will have a plentiful supply of green material as you cut the lawn, rake the leaves and carry out your regular garden chores. Save your kitchen scarps for the compost pile, keep them out of your mulch.

What is Mulch?

Mulching the Azaleas

Mulching Leaves


Submit a Comment

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    As long as there is no meat, for example, in it, it should be useable.

  • profile image

    Geee 6 years ago

    Would compost that hasn't had any scraps added to it in over 6 months or so be suitable as mulch? It is probably 80% old grass clippings. I am still waiting on seedlings to come up and want to be prepared to mulch once the plants are on their way.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome and I'd appreciate hearing about your efforts.

  • profile image

    weeds online 9 years ago

    thanks Bob, I'll try what u suggest and let u know

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks, it has begun to warn up but spring is still a long way off, spring weather that is.

  • Blogger Mom profile image

    Blogger Mom 9 years ago from Northeast, US

    Thanks for this info - always great! Still looking forward to spring! =)

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks Jeff

  • Jeff Dahlberg profile image

    Jeff Dahlberg 9 years ago from Minnesota

    Some great tips Bob. I think I will try and terrace a small hill I have in my back yard that is nothing but trouble keeping it mowed.

    Check out my new hubs if you get a chance. Just starting out. Thanks for the good information Bob.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 10 years ago from New Brunswick

    If you have any questions just ask.

  • cgull8m profile image

    cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

    This is awesome, I try to buy Mulch from local stores, but they have become very expensive. The article is very informative, I will follow them. Thanks.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Yes you could give mulching a try, Abhinaya.

  • profile image

    Abhinaya 10 years ago

    This is wonderful!I have a terrace garden I can possibly try this.Thanks

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 10 years ago from New Brunswick

    thanks everyone.

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    Bob! As always great information! I hate weeding the garden so I always mulch.

    Great HUB

    regards Zsuzsy

  • gabriella05 profile image

    gabriella05 10 years ago from Oldham

    After Christmas I have a lots to do in my garden. So, thank you very much for the information that you provided, that will help a lots

  • siddhinfo profile image

    Shrihari Sawant 10 years ago from Goa (India)

    Good hub. Good gardening tips you have provided. thanks

  • profile image

    dafla 10 years ago

    Nice hub. I have one on where to get free mulch, and other frugal gardening tips, if you would like to read them.