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Front yard tropical landscaping ideas
When asked about, what was one of the first things that came to mind, when it came to organic gardening, the number one response was "mulch".
Many of us have been hearing about mulching for years, however, the idea that organic gardening was easier and cleaner than commercial gardening was put to rest for most of us when mulch was introduced.
What is mulch?
Mulch is a layer of organic material that is placed over the soil as the soil tends to be dark and fluffy. It helps with evaporation, it minimizes disease and helps the soil stay cool. In other words, mulch keeps the soil in top shape and makes it easier for the plant roots to take up the water and nutrients the plant needs.
You may have noticed that many gardens are tended to be bare root, especially in climates with hot, dry summers. Another reason for this is that there is less plant competition. This is where we will focus on mulch.
Benefits of Mulching
Mulching also serves the purpose of smothering weed seeds by inhibiting them from germinating, it helps to increase the fertility of the soil, it creates a humid micro-climate on top of the soil, and it helps with soil aeration.
Another reason to mulch, is to prevent future weeds. If weeds are not competing with the roots of the plants for nutrients, water and space, the weeds will not be able to grow. If we water the soil and allow weeds to grow, they will eventually out compete the plant roots. When the plants and their roots die, the soil is then more likely to have nitrogen-fixing micro-organisms and not weed seeds.
Mulch is known to aid in water conservation in the garden. Weeds do not like a moist or wet environment. The seeds germinate in this condition. When we water the soil, we tend to water the weeds. When we mulch, the mulch protects the soil from being wet. Weeds are affected by drought and mulch has a dampening effect.
When we water bare root plants, we are applying water in a much more concentrated form than we would on a plant that is growing in a bed of mulch. Since mulch can help reduce the amount of water needed in the garden, it is a good strategy to water plants more often.
Mulch also promotes the growth of plants and is helpful in the breakdown of organic matter, thus aiding in the fertility of the soil.
Mulch aerates the soil by making it more open.
Air Movement (Mulch)
Another benefit of mulch is to reduce the heat that a dry soil would naturally retain. The mulch, being moist, is less likely to radiate heat to the soil. The heat that does get trapped in the mulch can be dissipated. The only place in the garden where the air temperature rises quickly is in the shady regions.
Mulch helps soil aeration by reducing the amount of clay and organic matter in the soil. Since the more we aerate the soil, the more likely we are to have healthy, diverse micro-organisms, mulch is a good way to increase this.
Mulch helps keep the soil moist. The mulch helps draw the moisture up from the soil.
Mulch acts as a buffer against cold and heat. The mulch being moist is more efficient at dissipating heat.
Mulch is a good way to get organic material into the soil. The most popular mulch used in the organic community is composted leaves and lawn clippings. If the soil has been depleted of nutrients, we can introduce this organic material, giving it a helping hand in the process of providing nutrients to the plants.
Let’s be honest here. Many of us just do not have the time to garden sustainably. Let’s face it. It is a lot easier to add some potted plants to our windowsills and feed them when we can. This becomes the plan of the year for many of us. We can easily have flowers in pots on our windowsills, we can easily have plants in containers on our deck, and we can easily have flowers in our front yard. The problem with that though, is that we are treating our plants in a disposable way and not having our garden fulfill the dream of a lush, full garden with abundant foliage and flowers, that we would be proud to display.
So, what can we do to make our yard more sustainable? The first thing we should do is reduce our water consumption. By watering less often, we can use less water and save water. We can also reduce our water usage through irrigation and stormwater management.