Sunday, July 12, 2009

Garden 2009: Mulch


Contender bush beans mulched with grass clippings.


This week I got both the green bean and sweet potato beds mulched with grass clippings.  Mulch is essential to keep the moisture in and the weeds out.

Many experts recommend against using grass clippings for mulch.  I will willingly concede that grass clipping are far from the best mulch, they are what I've got, so I use them.

Grass clippings make poor mulch because:
  • They compact and, therefore, break down slowly.  (True, but here in the south with our high temperatures and long growing season that's not a problem.  By fall even grass clipping mulch will need to be reapplied.)
  • Grass clippings form a compact sheet that will shed rainfall.  (True, but we don't usually get a lot of summer rainfall anyway.  Drip irrigation hoses under the mulch provide water to our garden plants.)
    • Grass clippings import weed seeds into the garden.  (True, but so do most affordable, organic mulching mediums -- like hay.  The trick is to keep the beds mulched all the time, a trick we almost never accomplish so we pull a lot of weeds until we can get the beds mulched again.)


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      2 comments:

      Chamkile said...
      This comment has been removed by the author.
      Chamkile said...

      Hello Marvin,

      I ran into your website searching for some mulching advice. I really liked it, especially the pictures. Kudos to you and Jo.

      I have been planting herbs in pots for the last few years, and this year I wanted to have a small vegetable garden in my backyard. I plan to use grass clippings as mulch. Your gardening is very encouraging, though you both are quite the pros in this area :-)