March is the month of mulching here at Meadows Farms, and for a good reason. Most gardens are empty and clean of weeds, established plants are just beginning to start growing, And the soil is just beginning to warm up after the long winter. I would contend that mulching is probably one of the first steps necessary to ensure your garden starts on the right foot every season. Don’t believe me? Here are five reasons why you should apply mulch to your garden this season.
In my opinion, the most unenjoyable and labor-intensive part of maintaining a garden is weeding. So many hot, humid days in the middle of summer trashing my knees and straining my back trying to pull the fifty-thousand varieties of weeds that invade the garden and rob precious moisture from my plants. Applying mulch is a great way to limit weed growth and save yourself a lot of time and effort later. Mulch blocks light and air from the soil surface, hindering weed growth. It won’t eliminate all weeds, but it will undoubtedly keep numbers under control.
If you’re looking for even more weed protection, apply a weed preventer such as Preen or Espoma Organic Corn Gluten. The pre-emergents will keep any new weeds from taking root, giving your mulched beds an extra layer of protection. You can apply these at the same time that your mulching and several times throughout the season for best results.
Heavy rains can cause erosion in the topsoil of your gardens, which not only limits the amount of soil available but also leeches vital nutrients from the earth that your plants need. By applying mulch, this helps keep erosion in check and protect the health of your soil.
Mulch is excellent for controlling soil temperatures and protecting your plant’s root systems throughout the growing season. In the heat of the summer, mulch will help to keep the soil cool by retaining moisture and limiting harsh sunlight. During the dead of winter, mulch will help insulate plant roots from the cold so that they can continue growing strong even if your plants above ground have gone dormant.
Throughout the season, mulch will break down and degrade, which is great for your plants. This process will add nutrients to enhance not only the earth but also attracts beneficial insects like earthworms which help improve the quality of the soil as well.
I know, this has not been a big problem for the D.C. Metro area throughout the last year. But in typical weather conditions plants can quickly dry out, especially during our long, humid summer months. A fresh three-inch layer of mulch applied in the spring will help prevent water supplied by your watering efforts and from Mother Nature from rapidly evaporating, keeping moisture on the plant longer. This extra moisture will allow for less intensive watering demands each day.
So hopefully this shows you how important it is to refresh your mulch each season in your garden. Fortunately for you, this week is the best time to get started because it’s MULCH MADNESS time. From today until Wednesday, March 20th we’re offering our three cubic foot shredded hardwood mulch for the low price of $14 for four bags. This price is the lowest price of the season so get stocked up now!