Mulching is a well-known agricultural practice. However, many gardeners underestimate the importance and usefulness of mulching.
Mulching is covering the soil between plants with any available material (sawdust, straw, paper, film, small pebbles, rags, leaf fall, peat, humus, cones, etc.). As an option, partially replacing mulching, you can use ground covers – plants with a shallow root system that, when growing, cover the soil like a carpet. Here it is necessary to take into account the fact that ground covers should not compete with the main plants, that is, they should be planted among well-established shrubs and trees, as well as perennials with a powerful root system.
What is the importance and usefulness of mulching?
Firstly , mulch from decaying elements serves as food for plants throughout the growing season. In other words, this is a long-term top dressing that comes gradually and for a long time, and without additional efforts from the gardener. Knowing the characteristics of the development of certain plants, you can choose the optimal mulch for each of them.
Second , mulch helps control weeds . Materials such as film, cardboard, rags allow you to get rid of even malicious perennial weeds such as wheatgrass, sow thistle and others. If freshly weeded weeds are put under the bushes in a thick layer, then it will be possible to rid this land of future weeds, help the earth retain moisture and create a nutrient medium from rotted plants.
Thirdly , mulch eliminates digging , especially those lands that are well structured and not clogged with malicious weeds. Excessive digging breaks the structure of the soil, reduces its porosity, which is formed during the decay of plant residues, and, consequently, disrupts the underground respiration of the plant root system. By the way, if the site has a soddy, that is, a piece of land overgrown with weeds, then by putting a thick layer of mulch on it and leaving it, for example, until next year, you can turn this piece into a full-fledged, fertile garden bed.
Fourthly , the use of mulch allows you to reduce the watering of plants even in hot and dry summers, and the constant loosening of the soil. It is known that after rain and abundant watering, it is necessary to loosen the resulting crust, which disrupts the root respiration of plants and the flow of moisture to the roots. When using mulch, this problem disappears.
Fifthly , mulch protects plants and fruits from rot and other troubles that have arisen when plants come into contact with the ground. For example, strawberries (which means “straw berry” in English) are recommended to be either lined with straw between rows or covered with a film.
Sixthly , the use of various improvised materials as mulch allows, in a sense, to solve the problem of using garbage on the site (film, paper, cardboard, rags, small pebbles, weeds, leaf fall).
Based on the foregoing, we were convinced that mulch is not only useful, but in many ways simply necessary in a summer cottage . It facilitates our work, helps plants survive unfavorable periods of vegetation (for example, drought), helps fight plant diseases caused by putrefactive bacteria and pests, and, therefore, increase the growing season of plants. Mulch can also be used for indoor plants. And finally, the purely aesthetic aspect. The beds covered with mulch look, in my opinion, more well-groomed than the beds with plants growing on bare, albeit fertile land.