Every Dollar Matters

Feet of Clay

by Russell Matthews

Mulching

A 3 to 6" layer of loose organic material covering the bare soil around your plants will yield the highest return on your gardening investment than any other material I know of.

Mulch reduces water evaporation, resulting in reduced water usage; helps reduce plants stress caused by temperature extremes; helps reduce fungal, bacterial and disease problems and reduces weeds and grasses.

Helps moderate and maintain soil temperature; prevents soil from compacting. Helps build soil texture and tilth. Helps increase humus content and stimulates the growth of essential soil micro and macro organisms.

Mulching is a special invitation that will encourage the hardest working friend a gardener ever had come a calling. He and his clan will till and aerate the soil night and day without pay.

They will work endlessly to improve the soil's drainage and moisture rentention; and, as an added bonus, will improve your soils's tilth and manufacture nutrients free of charge.

As much as forty pounds of nitrogen per acre as well as many, many other goodies year after year.

WHI IS THIS LONG LOST FRIEND?

ERIC EARTHWORM: All he and his clan ask of you is a bit of food (compost), a little shelter (mulch), and a cease-fire in the chemical warfare you've been waging.

SO MULCH, MULCH AND MORE MULCH!!!

AZELEAS: Try pine straw, shredded fir or shredded hardwoods.

OTHER PERMANENT PLANTINGS: Use shredded hardwood or shredded fir.

RENEWABLE BEDS: for annuals and vegetables, top dress mulch and composted cotton bols and then at each seasonal change, you can work the previous seasons mulch into the soil to renew it and remulch using more composted cotton bols.