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What is mulch?

Let’s talk about mulching, which is a helpful gardening technique that you might find quite interesting.

Imagine you have a beautiful garden with some plants growing in the soil. Now, mulching is like giving your garden a cozy and protective blanket. Just like you cover yourself with a warm blanket to feel comfortable, mulching is like covering the soil around your plants with a layer of special materials.

This layer of material can be made of things like straw, grass clippings, leaves, or even wood chips. When you spread this layer on the soil, it serves several fantastic purposes:

  1. Conserving Moisture: In many places, water is precious, and we want to save as much of it as possible. Mulching helps with that! The layer on top of the soil acts as a shield, preventing water from evaporating too quickly under the hot sun. So, your plants stay hydrated for a more extended period, even in dry and hot weather.
  2. Controlling Temperature: Just like your blanket keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, mulching also helps moderate the soil’s temperature. In hot weather, it keeps the soil cooler, and in cold weather, it offers some warmth. This helps the plants grow better and protects them from extreme temperature changes.
  3. Weed Control: Nobody likes dealing with pesky weeds that compete with our precious plants for space and nutrients. Mulching forms a barrier that makes it harder for weeds to grow. It blocks sunlight, preventing weed seeds from sprouting and taking over your garden.
  4. Soil Improvement: As the mulch breaks down over time, it adds valuable nutrients to the soil. It’s like giving your garden a little nutritious treat! These nutrients make the soil healthier, which, in turn, helps your plants grow stronger and produce more delicious fruits and veggies.

Now, let’s see how you can use mulch in your garden:

  1. Choose the right type of mulch material. You can use straw, leaves, grass clippings, or even compost.
  2. Spread the mulch gently around your plants, making sure to cover the soil but not the stems or leaves of the plants.
  3. Maintain the mulch layer, making sure it stays in place and doesn’t get blown away by the wind.

Remember, mulching is a fantastic way to take care of your garden, conserve water, and keep your plants happy and healthy. So, consider using mulch in your gardening adventures and watch your garden thrive! Happy gardening!

Mulch as a Drylands Strategy

From Geoff Lawtons Permaculture Channel – Mulch is absolutely crucial to getting a new system going. Deserts are particularly in need of it as the soil life and ecosystem have been severely damaged and disabled.

Herbaceous material is great, but woody material is extremely important for developing the fungal soils that are good for growing trees. The woody, “chop-and-drop” material really needs to be cut into small pieces so that it can break down, and it will break down even more quickly beneath groundcovers that are trapping humidity.

All the leaves and twigs and bits of wood feed the soil, and this begins the process of growing lots of plants and lots of diversity. The more diversity in what’s growing, the more organic and woody matter that is added to the soil to further feed and broaden the system. And then, the broadened system will create a fuller nutrient and mineral profile to the landscape as it breaks down. And, on the system grows.

When you feed the soil, you can feed the world!

Key Takeaways – Using lots of mulch is a key strategy in starting new growing systems, particularly in arid climates where moisture is lost and, thus, soil ecology is minimal. – Woody mulch material—cut into small pieces—is extremely important because it, rather than herbaceous mulch, fosters fungal soils that are good for trees. – As the leaves, twigs, and branches break down, they create a better-suited environment for more diverse plant life. That plant life then breaks down and broadens the system again.

And the process repeats into rich botanical diversity growing in very fertile soils. – “If you feed the soil, you can feed the world.”

In Windhoek you can get wood chip mulch for free from the Cities Parks department.

Here’s a very detailed 55 minute video of mulching with wood chips. Well worth a watch.

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