The Garden Lady: Why Mulch? The heat is coming!

What a fabulous Spring we have enjoyed! This time last year, we were already in the furnace. However, our luck won’t be with us much longer and the temps will rise consistently after the next couple of weeks.

So how can you help protect your vegetable and ornamental plants, bushes and trees? A good 2-3 inches of decomposed native hardwood or cedar mulch will do. Purchase “decomposed” mulch because it has already gone through the process of breaking down and no longer needs to take nitrogen from the soil. Nitrogen is one essential element needed for plant growth. In the nitrogen battle between the plant and mulch, mulch will win and the plant will suffer. You can purchase mulch from the city vendors, but I would suggest letting it sit and breakdown before using it on precious veggies.

Now that we have covered what kind of mulch to purchase, decomposed, lets talk about why we are mulching for the health of the plants:

Save water ($) — In the heat of the summer without mulch you will have to water daily. My gardens, mulched 2-3 inches high, only had to be watered every two to three days last summer.

Save the microbes — These tiny microscopic animals are the ones working the ground and feeding your plants. Without a good layer of mulch to keep them cool, they will fry in our Texas sun quicker than a french fry in a Fry Daddy.

Save the soil — Dry, cracked soil is not helpful to anyone. The plant is not protected and the cracks here can get so big you could twist your ankle in them.

Happy Gardening!


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