It’s easy to stay inside tucked up by the fire at this time of year, but since it’s so mild at the moment I’d like to encourage you to venture out into the garden to do some gardening. It’s just the right time to give your garden a treat by spreading a layer of mulch over the soil.
- improve the structure of the soil so that it hangs onto moisture in the summer and drains well in the winter. I know this sounds to good to be true, but it really does work,
- it supresses weeds, not the really tough ones like bind-weed but the smaller annual ones like chick-weed,
- it makes everything look nice over winter.
Your choice of mulch may be:
- home-made compost, plant debris from your kitchen and garden that’s been gently breaking down over the last few months,
- home-made leaf-mould, as above,
- you can buy bags of shredded bark, though this can look rather municipal and isn’t such a sustainable choice.
We always spread a generous layer of mulch over newly planted borders for our clients to get everything off to a good start.
First you need to clear old leaves and debris from the soil surface, then spread the mulch of your choice to a depth of 4in/10cm. Choose a day that’s damp and mild, and avoid spreading the mulch on frozen soil as the cold just gets locked in.
Gardening is often about delayed gratification, and this is a perfect example. Next year your plants will look much better, grow stronger and be healthier so they’ll shrug off pests and diseases…. and you will have had a good blast of fresh air and feel quite virtuous.
If you like theses colourful borders you can find out more about using colour in your garden in an earlier post here.
images: Jill Anderson