Mulch Appreciation

By Greg Caminski.

My neighbors think I’m crazy. I just finished mulching all of our perennial and vegetable gardens. This year we grew rows of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and garlic, as well as a small herb garden. They’re not your traditional rows though; they curve around and blend in with all the annuals and perennials, companion-planting style, utilizing plenty of mulch and compost.

Screen shot 2013-11-23 at 8.48.21 AM

An example of Companion Planting.

However, by the time fall arrives and I’ve finished pulling dead plants, cutting back all of this year’s growth and raking out the beds, I’ve lost much of the existing mulch. So as soon as the last of the fall leaves are corralled and leaf blower put away I start re-mulching.

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Pauly Kid atop a mulch pile at Green Connection.

We all know that you need to mulch in spring and summer to hold in moisture and the warmth of the day and for protection from the cool nights. But mulch is also important in the winter to hold in the cold. Yes I know it’s cold and windy outside but it’s just so much easier mulching the bare ground right now than trying to sprinkle it around all the multitude of spring plants. And over the past few years our winters have had some warm spells, confusing some of the spring perennials to sprout and then die when the cold returned. Without the protection, roots may freeze during sudden cold snaps and thaw during mild spells which can heave plants from the ground, damage roots, and place plants under a great deal of stress.

Frost heaves can kill plants

Frost heaves can kill plants

In our yard we are 100% organic. We choose to use organic dark mulch in the flower gardens and a mixture of organic dark and compost in the vegetable sections. By mulching and composting in the fall you have the benefit rejuvenating the depleted soil all winter as the rain and snow trickle through.

I do save a yard or two of our fall mulch mulch for spring to dress up the front edges of the beds so they all look fresh when you drive by.

Greg Caminski, an avid gardener, garden club member, and GreenConnection team member.

*For a great source of organic mulch visit the Green Connection in Situate and Hanover.

About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
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