The Benefits of Mulch

I have been a big supporter of mulch for the past 20 years. It has many benefits to the garden. Mulch acts as a weed control for the garden, it helps retain moisture in the soil, adds another source of organic material that will decompose in the garden and last but not least it completes the picture. Let’s face it, a garden that is mulched looks pretty and finished. When I was growing up I noticed my grandmother didn’t use mulch in her flower beds or vegetable gardens. I asked her about this years later and she said it kept things from reseeding in the garden. She grows mostly annuals every year and relies on the reseeding to help keep her flower beds thriving with volunteer plants. Now I have to admit she is right about it eliminating the reseeding. But there are a numerous amount of plants and weeds if you let them reseed freely in the garden they would take over the garden completely. So cutting down on the reseeding isn’t a con to mulching in my book. Normally I get my mulch from the city recycling facility. They collect leaves and other garden debris every year from the curb and turn this into mulch and compost which they turn around and sell back to the public for a fair price. I have found over the years that they have the best mulch and compost that money can buy. And believe me I have tried other sources such as companies that deliver as well as the stuff you can buy in bags at your local garden centers. Unfortunately if that stuff hasn’t had time to really age and decompose properly you end up with tons of weed seeds and large chunks of bark that I don’t find appealing in the landscape. The only drawback to getting the stuff I want from the city is that you have to pick it up yourself and unload it yourself which isn’t always an option. This year to save ourselves some work we ordered 2 cubic yards of mulch from a local company that also delivers. It was decent looking but two weeks later I noticed numerous weeds had sprouted in my garden beds. We decided this year that we will invest in a trailer that we can take to the city to pickup the mulch/or compost. This way I can park the trailer in the backyard and unload into a wheelbarrow what I intend to put down at the moment. Therefore I can take my time mulching or putting compost in all the beds instead of racing to get it done. Because if you put the pile in the grass, the grass dies and if you put it in the driveway it leaves a brown stain on the concrete. So the trailer will eliminate both of these problems. But today I will be mulching my new bed with bags of mulch I purchased from our local garden center. So in the 1st picture you will see the bed partially done and in the second picture the mulching is completed. What a difference! Also I replaced the trellis I had mounted on the shed (it was plastic and falling apart) with a new wooden one that compliments the hanging planters. I also mounted my TV antennae turned trellis on to rebar stakes driven into the ground and planted some Blackeye Susan vine seeds around the base. Hopefully they should germinate in 7-10 days and grow quickly. All in all it was a productive day in the garden.

Even the richest soil, if left uncultivated will produce the rankest weeds. ~Leonardo da Vinci


14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by OhioMom on June 22, 2008 at 1:50 am

    Your new garden bed is really coming along … Black-Eyed Susans are Dh’s favorite flower, he remembers his grandma growing them 🙂


  2. Posted by ChrisND on June 22, 2008 at 4:44 am

    I knew mulch was a good thing, but until recently I hadn’t actually implemented it much. This year I started putting some of my grass clippings as mulch in some of the paths and alleys in the garden that were dirt — and grew weeds. No longer weedy and much nicer to walk barefoot on.

    My to-do list has mulch front beds on it, I’m tired of letting the weeds get away in late summer. Plus it gets dry there too.

    Oh, and I like Blackeyed Susan vine but forgot to put some in. Maybe I can still do that.


  3. Posted by beckie on June 22, 2008 at 5:17 am

    So glad you decided on Blackeyed Susan as your vine of choice. It should look very pretty and will be a fast grower. The only down side is much more of it next year. I agree that mulching gives a finished look to our beds. We are sorely in need of mulch this year. Mine is very thin to nonexistent in the 2 brums. We’ve been thinking about having a truch load delivered instead of buying bags.Hopefully, we can get it done soon-I’m getting tired of weeding and watering!


  4. Posted by Bek on June 22, 2008 at 11:51 am

    I also like to mulch. I buy a truck load every spring. It really looks much nicer that way.


  5. Posted by Perennial Gardener on June 22, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Mom- I’ve never grew the vine but I have grown the perennial many times. I’m really pleased with the progress so far of the new bed. Thanks!

    Chris- Using your grass clippings as a mulch for your pathways is a great idea. I bet it is nice & soft to walk on. My to do list just keeps growing. lol But I don’t think of garden chores as work. Working in the garden gives me pleasure.


  6. Posted by Perennial Gardener on June 22, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Beckie- I’ve never grown Blackeye Susan Vine before. I’ve grown lots of other annual vines. Most annual vines tend to be invasive. I wanted some yellow so I figured it would be a good one to plant. Truckloads delivered seem to be more cost effective than buying bags especially if you have a large area to mulch. I only had this one bed to mulch.

    Bek- I agree! Mulching is like the cherry on top of the sundae. It just completes the picture. Thanks for visiting.


  7. Posted by Susie on June 22, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    I too am a strong user of mulch. It helps so much with my weed and moisture control.

    It looks like you have Angelonia planted in this bed. I just planted some of those yesterday. I work at a nursery and we are always throwing away something. So, since I just pulled up my cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli I had a big empty spot.

    Thanks for visiting my site. I’ll be interested in seeing what veggies you plant for fall. I think I’m going to do the same thing.


  8. Posted by Perennial Gardener on June 22, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Yes those are Angelonia. I thought the purple would look good in that bed and give me some instant color until my perennials and bulbs started kicking in next year. I’ve never had Angelonia before, but so far they seem like a pretty easy annual. No maintenance to speak of. I would love to work at a nursery. That would be a dream job for me. 🙂
    Come again soon!


  9. Posted by Susie on June 22, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Your’re going to love that angelonia. It works beautifully for us in Miss.(zone 8). I’m not sure what zone you are in, I’m guessing zone 6 or 7, but it should do great for you too!


  10. Posted by Perennial Gardener on June 23, 2008 at 2:27 am

    Thanks Susie. So far so good. I have no complaints, it’s been a easy plant to care for and blooms nonstop. I live in zone 7.


  11. Posted by Lets Plant on June 24, 2008 at 12:49 am

    I agree, mulch is very beneficial in the garden.


  12. Posted by Perennial Gardener on June 24, 2008 at 1:56 am

    I can’t imagine a garden without mulch. Thanks for visiting lets plant!


  13. Posted by Mother Nature on June 25, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    I am so glad for the fave. Thank you. Of course, I had to visit your garden. We have a lot of plant material in common. I do admire how neat your garden is. It must be the mulch. 😉 I’m always looking for practical ways to deal with large jobs. I like your tips. I know I can learn a lot here and will be returning to glean more from your wonderful blog.

    Mother Nature/Donna


  14. Posted by Perennial Gardener on June 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you Donna. I enjoyed reading your blog. Your posts are very informative and interesting. I am kind of a neat freak when it comes to my garden. The mulch is like icing on the cake to me. Thanks for visiting.


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