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Valentine's Day puts Monty Don in the mood for mulching

por Selena Troy (2020-04-13)

What with it being Valentine's weekend and my wife's birthday, now seems the perfect moment to extol the virtues of my second favourite word in the English language: mulch.

Well, OK, I admit that it does lack a little in romanticism. 

However, I would say that mulching is probably the single most helpful thing anyone can do in their garden and now, over the next few weeks, is the perfect time to do it.

Mulch is a layer of organic material spread over bare ground in borders and vegetable beds. It is not dug or worked into the soil but is left as a blanket. 

To be effective it should be thick and dense enough to block light and to slow down evaporation. In the event you adored this information as well as you would want to receive guidance concerning At The Holy Mushroom kindly check out our webpage.  

In my experience this means a layer at least 5cm and ideally 10cm deep.

British gardening expert Monty Don (pictured mulching his borders), shared advice for mulching gardens over the next few weeks

A mulch has three distinct functions. The first is to suppress weeds. It does this by denying weed seedlings light.

Some, like groundsel or shepherd's purse, that need light to trigger germination will simply not grow and others might germinate but the seedlings will not have enough light to survive.

Perennial weeds such as nettles or couch grass will be dramatically weakened and those that do make it through the mulch are much easier to pull out.

The second function is to retain ground moisture. 





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The majority of feeding roots are near the surface but this is the part of the soil that dries out the quickest in hot, dry weather. 

As a response the plant will push its roots even closer to the surface to get what moisture it can, but if the drought persists they'll dry out even faster. 

Mulching breaks this cycle. The mulch may dry out but the soil beneath it remains moist.