Winter mulching is one of the smartest ideas to benefit your garden. This one simple task performed in the fall will provide many positive results! Whether you use your own homemade mulch or purchase commercial mulches, the outcome will be the same; reduced need for additional fertilizers, weed and erosion control, soil temperature control, healthy root systems and increased earthworm activity.
Organic mulches are composed of leaves, grass clippings, straw, bark and/or manures. These ingredients improve the soil by adding nutrients as they decompose. Fall leaves raked from your lawn can be used as is or you can break them down further with a weedeater and perhaps add a few shovelfuls of steer or mushroom manure. Sea Soil is a fish compost that comes neatly packaged for people with smaller yards. If you have larger property then ordering bulk commercial mulches by the yard may be more appropriate.
Winter mulching means to layer anywhere from 2”-4” of mulch over your vegetable and flower beds in the late fall. Mulch helps keep the soil warm and encourages roots to continue growing through the cold months. When spring arrives, these stronger roots can take full advantage of spring growth and will need less watering. Mulch also controls weeds by blocking the sunlight necessary for germination.
A dry fall day (or weekend) spent shoveling and spreading will earn you a much healthier overall garden and Mother Nature will thank you. A healthy garden requires less insecticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers and that’s a good thing!