Telling the stories most people would be embarrassed to share.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
What is mulch? Or maybe that's easier to answer after answering why mulch? Mulch is used as a ground cover to suppress weeds, provide nutrients to the soil, prevent erosion, and help retain moisture in the soil. So to answer "what is mulch?" - mulch can be anything! Some materials that can be used to mulch are grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, landscaping fabric, shredded newspaper, manure, or sawdust. I prefer to use organic materials. Last year, I bought a bag of compressed straw and hay, in which I barely made a dent. So this was my natural choice for this year. On Friday I think I said I would try to wait a week so Morgan could help me mulch....
Well....I couldn't help myself!! I went to the garden yesterday to give it a drink of water (it hadn't rained in 2 days and it's not expected to rain for another 2 days). When I arrived I was horrified to see so many weeds. It looked like I was growing grass with some tomato plants growing in between. In fact, the weeds were growing better than actual seeds I had planted, like the Bok Choy. So I picked a lot of weeds by hand, bid farewell to the Bok Choy, and mulched away. I had an interesting thing happen too. I was busy in my garden hand-pulling each weed when another gardener came up behind me. The same gardener that watched me break my back tilling the garden by hand before offering me the use of his roto-tiller. I was not in the mood for "helpful" suggestions. These gardeners are such know-it-alls. Last year, I reluctantly fished for suggestions, but this year I recognize that gardening is a lot of trial and error. No one gardener has a fail proof plan. Anyway, I was expecting some sort of suggestion. I knew that just digging up weeds and turning them back into the soil wasn't the best idea (you should ideally remove the weed or it will grow again). To my surprise, he told me it looked good! Even with all the weeds? He might have been being sarcastic. Then as he saw me start to mulch he asked where I got it! He liked it. Or he was being super unnecessarily obnoxious, but I think he liked it!
All the plants looked good too - except the Bok Choy - we're not growing Bok Choy anymore. The zucchini plants were significantly larger, the tomato plants looked good, and the pepper plants looked....not any worse!