You may be a little sceptical if I told you that there’s one simple measure that will make a huge improvement to your garden, it’s probably the most important thing you can do right now.
Whether your soil is heavy clay or light and sandy, in deep shade or bright sunshine, or a bit of both, this simple step will make all the difference to how well your plants perform.
Those seasoned gardeners amongst you will know that it’s all about mulching.
Spreading mulch preferably, to a depth of 8-10cm (3-4 inches) over damp soil will:
- inhibit weed growth
- keep moisture in the soil for longer so that plant roots have more time to absorb it
- it’ll look nice too, creating a lovely even back-drop for plants
Mulch can be organic:
home-made compost is best if your garden produces enough,
very finely shredded bark (I’m not too keen on how this looks, but it does the job)
or generic soil improver bought from garden centres or local authorities who recycle green waste.
It can also be inorganic, such as shingle or pebbles, these don’t have to be topped up because they don’t rot down, but they don’t improve the soil. They also suggest a Style of gardening that may not be appropriate to all types of gardens.
Organic mulch should be topped up every spring. Though if your soil has heavy clay soil, it would be best to do this in late summer/early autumn, whilst the soil retains any summer heat.
In nature, soil is gradually replenished by falling leaves and other organic substances, that gradually decompose and improve the soil. In our cultivated gardens we plant intensively and have high expectations that we’ll get plenty of flowers, fruit and good growth. The soil has to work really hard to support all this and mulching will help to keep it in good condition.
It’s not glamorous but it’s essential for lovely gardens.