Week 16.5: Mulching to help with heat and watering

Hey Everyone!

Well, this has been a great week! HOT and things needing lots of water, fighting heat, but everything growing like CRAZY if they have heat, sunshine, water, fertile soil, and of course, a little TLC. I’m going to be discussing mulching in this blog. I will be honest, I typically don’t mulch as much as I have this year, however, my neighbour Harriet is an avid mulcher. I usually don’t because of time to mulch everything. This year, I followed her direction and started mulching for two reasons — first, the soil was just too hot and frying my root veggies and stressing out my plants that don’t like heat; secondly, I am finding it very difficult to keep the ground moist for my poor plants, especially the ones in the garden boxes and in pots.

The video shows how to mulch your plants, and my 4 year old really wanted to be part of the video blog, so at the end he talks about why he is mulching his garden. Too cute… (yes… I’m THAT mom!)

Why mulch?

I think the above paragraph gives you 2 of the reasons… but there are more. It can help with weed control, and if you are planting a second crop of produce and it is just too hot, covering them with moss mulch will greatly enhance their survival and productivity. If it is too hot, your new seedlings will just burn off. The soil is WAY hotter at the ground level then it is in the air, so if you are finding it hot outside, your plants that have no grass or weeds around them to help keep them cool will struggle. It also helps keep the moisture in the ground so it doesn’t just evaporate right away. Another reason to mulch for tomatoes specifically, is to help with blight. Mulching will keep the dirt from splashing up off the ground onto your plants when watering.

Ok, so what is mulching?

Covering the ground around your plants with something… typically straw or wood chips. I go into the bush (aaahem… I send my son and husband into the bush….) to collect sphagnum moss. Use one of these to mulch the ground in and around your plants.

Why I use sphagnum moss instead of wood chips or straw

This is an easy one. Moss holds moisture a bit better, is an excellent barrier for heat, lets air pass easily in and out, is readily available to me in the boreal forest (which is over half my yard), and it can be tilled right into your garden at the end of the year leaving no extra clean-up. You will need to watch your pH level though, as moss can make your soil slightly acidic. However, a few wood stove ashes will take care of that problem. Straw will act the same way, but doesn’t have the same absorbency.

What should I mulch? 

Whatever you want really. I like to mulch root veggies, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, seedlings, garden boxes and containers, and brussel sprouts. You can mulch anything. Just when you have a big garden, it can be very time consuming. Lots of people also mulch their walkways to help with the weeds. I do it for the vegetable quality and just weed my walk ways. Up to you though.. everyone does their own thing. As you move through your gardening lifestyle you will pick up various tips from various people, modify them to meet your needs, and find your own way. There is no one way to garden, but you should enjoy the process and journey and expect some trial and error. Not everything will work for everyone 🙂

Alright! I’m taking a break next week from blogging, but the following week I will be able to introduce you to my good friend and partner in gardening, Harriet. We will be doing a blog on feeding your plants during the growing season.

See you then! Happy Gardening!


P.s. If you have questions,  please feel free to drop me a line at shyanne.leah@gmail.com