Garden Log 5/26/21

It’s mulching time here — really, it was mulching time a few weeks ago, but I was busy, so we’re a little behind. I’m here to preach to you the gospel of triple-milled hardwood mulch. Here is why I lay it down every year:

– it helps retain moisture, so you don’t need to water as often

– our soil is naturally heavy clay, and the triple-milled hardwood mulch breaks down over time (a few years) to greatly improve the soil; leaf mulch breaks down even faster, of course, esp. if you chop it up a bit, but at least in my garden, there really aren’t enough leaves falling in the right places to do what I want in terms of soil improvement

– it helps reduce the need to weed — but honestly, if you think it’ll get you out of weeding completely, it won’t, unless you put down a truly massive amount of mulch (which is what professional landscapers tend to do) — I usually settle for just reducing the amount of weeding I have to do

I’ve done mulching in a variety of ways while living here:

– I’ve had a landscaper come out and put it down (pricey, and you have to be careful they don’t smother natives and other little perennials they may not recognize as plants you want)

– had a big truckload of loose mulch delivered to our parking pad (more affordable, and then you use a wheelbarrow to take it where you want to go, but I get a little stressed because I feel like I have to do it all very quickly to avoid having mulch sitting out there for weeks on end)

– get bags of mulch, and slowly distribute them around the garden as I have time (this is what I’ve done most years, and it works pretty well; interestingly, the bags were a little too heavy for me to tote ten years ago, but now I’ve been gardening so long that I can lift them pretty easily, woot — gardening is good exercise!)

Remember not to ‘volcano mulch’ around your tree trunks — it’s very bad for them; I’d actually be sure to pull mulch away from the trunk a bit. But otherwise, I love mulch, and recommend it unto you.

It’s particularly satisfying to mulch while adding a few new plants to the bed — I just added that very curly hosta near the stones in the third photo, which is named “Wheee!” 🙂 I also bought a planter with silver artemisia and purple pansies, divided it into 4-5 bunches, and planted those to mix in with the hostas and heuchera.

NOTE: You can get free mulch from the Village here, but it’s going to be bigger pieces that won’t break down as fast; a good budget choice for the patient. I’d recommend avoiding dyed mulch, because the dye will be breaking down into your soil.

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