As far as gardening topics go, mulch is not a sexy topic. But mulching your garden is probably the best thing that you can do that will help your garden succeed.
It is also the number one thing that you can do to simplify gardening and landscaping chores.
It doesn’t have to be expensive (you can use old straw and grass clipping) and it doesn’t have to be hard to install. And if you are serious about growing your food, this is the easiest way to prevent gardener burnout.
Just in case you need a bit more convincing below I laid out the reasons that I mulch, from both the environmental impacts to the fact that I am kind of lazy.
Mulch helps keep the moisture in.
I live on a ridge and it is a rare day that is not a little bit breezy. So we can go from having just gotten a couple of inches of rain to the dirt cracking pretty fast. But mulch helps keep the moisture from being wicked away by the wind.
Mulch helps keep the weeds at bay.
As I go through an area weeding, I mulch when I am finished. This helps smother the weeds so the majority of them will not come back up. Those that do are so leggy and stressed, they are a breeze to pull out.
Mulch looks nice.
No matter what your personal preference or your house and property style, you can find something that will match the style of your home. I mean, let’s be real, bark goes with everything. And almost anything looks better than a bed full of weeds.
(Organic) Mulch helps build up you soil.
When you use some organic material as mulch, it will slowly break down into the soil adding valuable organic matter (which makes your soil better). And anything you can do to improve the soil is a great idea.
You may be asking yourself, What kind should I use?
Anything you can get. I use just about anything I can get my hands on.
Our foundation plantings have rock mulch. Which after 40 or so years needs to be removed, regraded and replaced (over the years things have shifted and the soil is sloped so the water runs toward the house instead of away). Rocks may not give you the organic matter in the soil that bark or straw would give you but it will have an air well effect which may make it a great choice if you live in a place with drought issues.
In some of the new perennial beds, I use bark either purchased by the bag at a home improvement store or gotten in bulk from a nearby mill.
When I have a more a formal veggie garden, I usually use old straw or grass clippings. I can generally get this for free and then I can pile it up like mad once the plants get bigger.