Kitchen Gardening

The Best Time to Mulch

For me, this is a first-class practice as far as recycling goes.

Fall and winter are great seasons for mulching your yards and gardens.   Photo by rfduck under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.

You’ve probably heard the many virtues of mulching; it saves time, money, water, and your back respectively. Plus, mulch is valuable for any type of gardening situation. Every kind of mulch will offer each of these benefits on some level. You can use it in your landscaping, vegetable beds, herb garden, flower garden, perennial bed, and under trees. When you get into the habit of mulching all of the planted areas in your yard, it’s entirely possible that you’ll never have to spend a dime on herbicides again.

So, when is the best time to mulch? Personally, I mulch whenever I feel like it because I hate weeds (read: work). But if you were to ask about the optimal time to mulch? Most gardeners (including me) would say during the fall and winter (and then early spring). One reason being that fall and winter is when your plants are most likely to freeze to death from bitter cold and snow; so they’ll be grateful for a cozy, mulch blanket. It’s also when soil erosion is at its peak due to the rain.

Spring is when we see the weeds shoot up out of places we didn’t even know were there. Mulching before they get even a glimpse of warm sunshine is a good idea. One concern for gardeners is that plant pests such as snails and earwigs can hide in mulch an launch a sneak-attack on the fresh growth on plants. I guess I have to admit this can be true, but that doesn’t deter me. Mulch has done awesome things for my yard.

This is a good place to mention that mulching is yet another perfect way to use the materials you have around your yard and home that would otherwise end up in the landfills. For me, this is a first-class practice as far as recycling goes. My advice is to mulch every spot of bare soil in your yard. Over time, the transformation will astound you.

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