9 Mulching Materials for Fall Gardening
In my many years of gardening, I’ve grown crops with and without applying mulch – honestly the difference is clear. For those of us just starting a garden or not too rooted in its practices, we’ll begin by understanding what mulching is all about.
Mulching is the process of using material(s) to form a protective layer on the top of the soil. There are different types of mulching materials but we can broadly categorize them under organic and inorganic materials. For gardeners, the choice of the mulching material depends largely on the crop, weather, and the soil type.
Over the years, I have been opportune to try out both organic and inorganic mulching materials for my garden. In this post, we will take a closer look at the top 9 mulching materials that I have used for fall gardening.
This works well as a mulching material. We call it the “gardener’s gold”. In my experience, it is important to shred the leaves to allow for easy decomposition.
Since it is difficult to shred wet leaves, you would have to keep them to dry. With the aid of the best lawn sweeper, get the dried leaves shredded.
Just like the name connotes, this mulch type is gotten from clipped grass. These clippings easily decompose and add nutrients to the soil. Grass clippings can be gotten by using any best lawn sweeper. In application, you just have to place the grass clippings in thin layers to allow it dry quickly – one layer at a time.
Straw mulch is made from different plant materials. They fall under the organic category of mulch. You can get these straw materials from harvested crops. It would not only give your garden a natural look and add sufficient nitrogen to the soil, it also helps prevent erosion and weeds growth.
Compost mulch is one of the oldest mulching materials used by gardeners. If you ever grew up in the farm or visited one, then this is a common mulching material used.
Ever wondered why this ancient mulch material is still in use? It is affordable and 100% natural – You just have to know when best to use it.
I discovered fresh manure can be harmful to both your garden soil and crops if used immediately. It is best to allow it to stay composted for a while.
When people hear or talk about mulch materials, pea gravel is usually relegated or not even taking into account. This type of gravel is found near water bodies. Among other things, they are chosen because of their aesthetics.
They are referred to as “pea gravel” because of their relatively small sizes. Since it is not organic, it doesn’t decompose but can hold sufficient amount of moisture and impede weed growth.
Unless you have been in the garden mulch business for a while, newspaper as a mulch material may seem a bit strange. I still remember who awkward it felt when i used it the first time.
I decided to use them at a time when I had no fallen leaves or compost ready. While shredded newspapers can function as as an effective mulching material, some people tend to shy away from its use because it doesn’t seem attractive when used alone.
While these have application in any gardens, they are best used in gardens with shrubs or trees. If you want to go with this mulching material, it is best to cut them in smaller chips because it helps for easy spread around the plants, shrubs, or trees.
If you are looking for inorganic mulch material, the pumice rock is one you may want to consider. The rock is formed during volcanic eruptions.
With the pumice rock you get to add a whole lot of beauty to your garden. The rocks have a characteristic light property and this affords the necessary space needed by roots and also helps with better aeration of the soil. You should be able to get these at your local garden stores.
This is yet another inorganic mulch material. Rubber shreds are made from 100% recycled rubber. If you truly understand the purpose of mulching, it would be easier to understand while it can make a good mulch for your garden. You can trust me when i say they add unimaginable amount of beauty to gardens, especially because they come in different colors.
James G. Craig is a gardening enthusiast who splits his spare time between growing vegetables, preening his flower gardens, and blogging about his experiences at the Gardener Corner: gardenercorner.com