Too wet? Mulch! Too dry? Mulch! Not enough nutrients? Mulch! Is Mulching really the answer to so many gardening problems? In many ways it is… lets take a look at how mulching improves our soil, and feeds our plants and reduces weeds.
1. Improving soil structure
Worms are one of the most effective creatures when it comes to incorporating organic matter into your soil. They come to the surface of the soil to feed and, on their way back down, incorporate the surface goodness into convenient plant-available nutrients.
Earthworms aren’t the only thing in the soil being fed by mulching with organic matter. Good bacteria in the soil feeds on organic matter and excretes little sticky sugars called polysaccharides. These hold together the tiniest particles in the soil, contributing to good soil structure.
Good fungi also feed and hold together the soil with their delicate, root-like hyphae and another sticky substance called glomalin.
Whilst worms are moving up and down through the layers of the soil, they open spaces called pores. The action of worms along with the action of bacteria and fungi creates soil with lots of pores. These are spaces through which air and water can travel into the soil, making the soil well-drained:
This is why mulch is often said to help with both wet and dry soils, it improves the drainage whilst simultaneously creating a better ability to hold onto water.
Which Dalefoot mulch to improve structure?
When it comes to mulching for soil structure, Lakeland Gold is a great choice. It is made from composted bracken, which is rich in lignin and fibre. This type of organic matter will readily assist worms to open up the ‘pores’ as mentioned above. It is free draining and great for breaking up ‘claggy’ clay soils adding structure to them. Bracken is high in potash, essential for fruit trees and bushes to blossom and set fruit. It works really well around the base of fruit trees to support blossom and fruits.
2. How Does Mulching Feed Plants?
Back to our friends the worms, they come to the surface when they feed and, on their way back down convert the surface ‘mulch’ into easily available nutrients for our plants. Look away now: it’s their poop! A healthy soil, containing plenty of worms and good bacteria and fungus will regulate the number of Nitrates in your soil. in well-balanced soil there will be nitrates and ammonium that help to produce strong, green healthy growth.
Which Dalefoot Mulch will provide feed for nutrient depleted soils?
Our Double Strength Wool Compost is an ideal choice for poor soils with low nutrients. It is high in nitrogen among its many nutrients. Double strength is made using a blend of wool and comfrey, which are both high in nitrogen. When Double Strength is added as a mulch it supplies the soil eco system with plentiful nutrients for maximising growth in the coming season. It will also improve soil structure by adding fibre, particularly, from the wool. Wool is water retentive, and it can seem contradictory, but as mentioned, the fibre improves structure whilst the wool simultaneously improves moisture retention.
Mulching is a great way to keep down weeds in the garden, but how does it work?
In simple terms, mulching helps to provide a light barrier to seeds, which can suppress some weeds. A deeper mulch will do a more thorough job where this is concerned. Of course, nothing will stop some weeds, but mulching will help.
So, there you have it, mulching really is the way forward. Whether you’re a ‘no dig’ gardener or an old school ‘digger’, early autumn is the perfect time to get mulch on your garden. Once you’ve put it on, reward yourself with a cup of coffee and biscuit, knowing and let the worms do the work for you!