I can never have to much mulch!!
In my opinion mulch is the holy grail of farming. I truly believe its the save all for a lot of issues when it comes to farming and its something that is cheap and accessible to all. It solves so many common problems like suppression of weeds and it not only can help battle things like weeds it feeds the soil and acts as a natural fertilizer and encourages the micro organisms to thrive, in turn creating rich healthy soil .
My go to free forms of mulch are grass clippings, leaves and Bark mulch . Yes you can get bark mulch for free!! There is company called chip drop that you can sign up for to get chips delivered to your house. Its a service that arborist use to get rid of the bark chips from jobs that they do in your area. Another thing I do is call around to local arborist companies and give them my info so if they are ever in the area and need to drop chips they know I will always take them . I can never have to many bark chips, seriously!! I use them in my animal pins to keep the mud out, in my flower beds, walkways
and more. They not only suppress weeds but feed the soil and look pretty as well in landscaping. Yes bark chips will eventually break down but they are a natural way to create pathways and such with out introducing man made materials in the earth. Another amazing thin that once you establish a good layer of bark mulch is that mushrooms will appear and grow everywhere!! I have mushrooms all over our farm and it is amazing. Mushrooms are a good sign that your soil is healthy below the soil surface and they are a natural fertilizer that add nutrients in to the earth . I will go over mushrooms more in detail in another post but take it from me if you have mushrooms in your yard or on your property its a good sign!!
The other forms of mulch that I use often that the farm provides an abundance of are grass clippings
in the spring and summer months and leaves in the fall. When you can use natural sources of mulch from your property you can rest assured that there aren’t any chemicals or pesticides in them, if you farm organically like I do. Its important to keep those things in mind when you out source your mulch. A lot of people use other things such as chemicals and unknown things and its important to know what it is you are feeding in your soil because it can have adverse affect on what you put it on .
I really like to add grass clippings on my vegetable garden , especially my asparagus because it adds a great deal of nitrogen back in to the soil.
When adding certain types of mulch its important to know what your soil needs as sell. Getting a soil test can help you determine that but if I am being honest I have never gotten one!! I know I know it goes against what most farmers will tell you but I can say with confidence that I an not most farmers!! With my farm I just let the plants tell me what they need. This is a risky way of doing it but it has never failed me. I truly believe that plants want to grow!! That is their main objective and it has been proven to me over the years. It cracks me up because I spend so much time babying seedlings and trying hard to nurture them in to healthy plants , meanwhile below my seeding table I have healthy plants growing in gravel from seeds that I dropped!!
I am convinced that my soil is hands down the best soil but in order to keep it good It needs to be taken care of . You can strip your soil of nutrients and organic materials so adding in natural food like grass clippings and organic matter is important. In using natural mulches to suppress weeds and feed the microorganisms that live with in the soil you wont have to add new dirt or bring in new soil. I truly believe that god made our earth and the natural cycles of seasons and things to be self sufficient . You can rely on things that are already there to turn your soil in to the best soil by utilizing waste or organic materials that you already have on hand.
As the seasons change and the leaves fall , the ground gets to take a rest. I like to look at fall as gods way of tucking in the earth. leaves make a great mulch naturally and adds an extra layer on insulation for our plants during the colder months of winter. During the month of October I run my mover over the leaves often as they fall and mow them in to long piles so I can pick them up later. When you chop up or mulch the leaves it gives them a jump start and speeds up the breakdown process. Just this year I was able to use my new handy lawn vacuum that I scored on Facebook market place. It is yes essentially a vacuum that sucks up leaves and small sticks chops them up and throws them in a bag.
I then use the leaves to tuck in my perennial plants and to add organic material to my flower beds. Leaf mulch is a very beneficial additive to the soil. It gives all the microorganisms and earth worms food for the winter and breaks down to add beneficial organic materials. Leaves are a great easy way to add organic matter back in to your soil. Leaf mulch also a great weed suppressant, helps retain water and keeps the soil beneath it warm.
Other forms of mulch
Straw: Another type of mulch that I have used is straw. Its not one that I use anymore so I wont go in to much detail about it but it is another option. I think the straw I used was full of seed so it made a bigger mess and grew more weeds than suppressed so I haven’t tried in since but some people swear by it.
Pine Needles: Pine needles are a natural way of covering the ground and a great mulch as well. I have never personally used it but it is one I definitely want to try. It is very inexpensive and has all the great benefits of other mulches.
I don’t believe one type of mulch is better than the other. They all have great benefits that serve all very important purposes. Its important to remember that in farming you can strip your soil of nutrients and important materials and mulch is a great natural way of putting those important things back in to the soil. I think the best thing about mulch is its free!! God provides us with all the things we need we just have to know how to properly use them. I hope I was able to teach you a little something about the importance and benefits of mulch and you can start adding all the good nutrients back in to your ground!!
Until next time,