The Importance of Mulch

Think of it as a spa treatment for your garden. Mulching gets the most out of your aspiring plants

Improve your garden’s fertility and moisture retention with mulch

Transform your garden waste into helpful, plant-nourishing mulch

As gardeners well know, there is no waste in the garden. Cuttings, deadheaded flowers, clippings, leaves, and seed-extracted seedheads all find their way into the great gardening circle of life through composting and mulching.

And mulching is of prime importance at two times of the year in particular: in the drought-imposing late summer and prior to the cold snap of winter.

Basically, pretty much all of our garden “garbage” can become mulch. Chopped leaves (stuff some into an old plastic garden can and slice and dice them with a weed trimmer), grass clippings, chopped weeds . . . I’ve used all with success.

The only big no-no’s in my garden are diseased plant foliage and unwanted weed seeds. (Yes, certain weed seeds are actually “wanted,” in moderation, as I have an affinity for such edibles as chickweed and that huge attractor of beneficial insects, dandelion.)

Mulch for the Plants that Need it Most

Some plants, of course, need mulch more than others. In particular, some of recent additions I’ve brought in in an attempt to create a Mediterranean-mood influenced by my time in Italy, despite the fact that I live in the rain-soaked Pacific Northwest.

Enter my adorable little olive tree, tucked in a corner of my container garden in a very Tuscan-like terra-cotta pot.

But in nippy November I realized it was still shockingly mulch-less and that this little beauty was at risk.

Coincidentally, inside the house I was in the process of extracting seeds from a patch of leeks I allowed to go to seed as my gift to the bees, who in return go berserk with joy over these big powderpuffs of pollen. And what to do with the pile of empty seedheads?

Why, yes – you’ve got it – they make a perfect cushiony cover to keep this exotic little planting cosy!