Mulching is sweet

Mulching has got to be my favourite gardening chore. Not only does it smother weeds, thus facilitating the end of one of my least favourite jobs (weeding…I have kikuyu grass, I hate weeding), but is also satisfying some serious chocolate craving. I’m using cocoa husks to mulch my garden and I’m loving it!

I think my plants will too. Cocoa shell mulch contains 2.5% Nitrogen, 1% Phosphate, and 3% Potash.

Cocoa husks, pea straw, the terrors of kikuyu and great reasons to mulch after the jump…

In hind site I may have been better off laying down damp newspaper under my husky cocoa goodness. But my first mulching experiments happened with newspaper, leaf litter and bark. I found the paper didn’t break down fast enough for me and it was a pain when I wanted to plant into the beds.

I’ve also used a lot of pea straw. I’ve found it fantastic for beds I’ve cleared waiting to plant out. It’s smothered nearly all the kikuyu. It’s great for building up a moist rich soil underneath. When time has came for planting into the beds covered in the peastraw – the stuff really come into its own. I just cleared a spot away finding moist, rich soil underneath, planted straight into the beds and regrouped the straw around the plant. It’s dreamily simple and effective.

I now dream of laying down big thick duvets of mulches as security blankets for my darling little charges.

If I wasn’t being such a gourmet gardener, I reckon a great free source of mulch would be the neighbour’s properties. They’ve got lots of trees and I’m sure they don’t want to be taking it to the tip. It’s a great way to foster neighbourly relationships. “Hi, I see you’ve just raked up that wheelbarrow full of leaves, may I get rid of that for you?”

The mulching plan is to eventually grow enough greenery to provide mulching material for my plants in the most sustainable way, following biodynamic and permacultural practices. It will also save me the $100 or so I spend on mulch each year.

Reasons to mulch:

Keeps moisture in and keeps the cold out

Protects our soil-based friends

Stops weeds and thus weeding!

Prevents erosion and top soil loss from wind and water

Provides plant and soil nutrients

It’s a totally natural process – trees lose the their leaves and provide mulch


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September 2008
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