Sweet Gardening * Mulch a Must in The Valley & Everywhere Else Too

With our garden just about completely in the ground a few things have been on my mind one of them is mulch. I have in the past mulched my garden with grass clippings, straw and dry leaves. I have heard that some of these can damage your soil's pH balance so this year before putting down the mulch I thought I would do a little research. After planting and tending to your garden everyone wants a glorious abundant harvest as a reward for their efforts. The United States Department of Agriculture says that all the items I listed above are just fine along with bark chips, saw dust and even newspaper but I am still a bit skeptical so off for some more research. On Wikipedia these mulches are also mentioned as well. They say straw mulch is a neural in pH and does a better job keeping moisture in the ground as well as keeping weeds away. Pine needles are also mentioned. I have never tried them but would be beautiful for a ground cover in a naturally landscaped yard or garden. One thing I came across over and over on State extension sites is the beware of Sour Mulch warnings. Sour mulch lowers the pH of your soil and will kill your plants. Your mulch should smell sweet and organic like when you take a walk through a forest. If it starts to smell sour it needs more air. Get rid of the sour mulch right away. Be sure as you work in your garden to mix up your mulch a bit it a hoe rake or other gardening tool to be sure it is getting some oxygen. The results are in for which mulch is best. Although different mulches may start out more acidic as they decompose they become more alkaline. All of the mulching materials we listed grass clipping, leaves, saw dust, straw and pine needles are good for mulching. I think this year I am going to go for the straw mulch. Now to find a local farmer who will sell me some. If anyone knows of a great place please be sure to let me know. Happy Gardening!

{Image via}

See all that straw mulch in Martha's Garden

{ Tips on Mulch that I have Collected }

For drier climates such as The Valley layer your mulch at
least 6 inches deep. It will compress over time. Wetter
climates should use a light layer so mold and stem rot
doesn't occur. has a great guide on how much mulch to
purchase for your garden (if you need to purchase)

NRCS reasons to mulch:
  • protects the soil from erosion
  • reduces compaction from the impact of heavy rains
  • conserves moisture, reducing the need for frequent waterings
  • maintains a more even soil temperature
  • prevents weed growth
  • keeps fruits and vegetables clean
  • keeps feet clean, allowing access to garden even when damp
  • provides a "finished" look to the garden

{ Get more information about gardening in The Valley }

State Extension Service in The Valley Click Here
100 East Center- Room L600
Provo UT
Hours 8:00 - 5:00
Mon. - Fri.

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