MULCH- Good News for You and the Soil
MULCH- what a descriptive word for an excellent method that keeps your garden healthy and your plants thriving. Mulching is an easy cost-effective way to recycle green waste, hydrate your garden beds and soil and increase the population of soil food web inhabitants .
Mulching mimics what happens to plant materials that fall onto a forest floor. Leaves and other plant debris are decomposed by the soil organisms, including the mighty FBI- fungi, bacteria and invertebrates. Adding a layer of mulch to your garden, about 4″ high, keeps these critters on site; improving your soil with their presence and activities.
When you mulch, you are stacking functions, a concept found in Permaculture. Mulching not only increases the fertility and moisture content of your soil, it also alleviates weeds, so you don’t have to pull the weeds out yourself or use toxic herbicides.
What can you use for mulch? Pretty much anything! Cardboard, bark, straw, newspaper and finished compost can be reincarnated as mulch, that eventually after the decomposers are through with it, will become soil. Sheet mulching is a fun, no-till way to get your soil ready for planting.
To learn more about mulch we visited the LifeScape Garden, a beautiful organic garden located on the grounds of Santa Barbara City College. There, we met Dr. Mike Gonella, mulch man extraordinaire who showed us how to use this fun, easy and aromatic method of gardening.