In many cases, the English term mulching is understood to refer to the protection of the soil in which the crop is located. In Spanish we have a name, padded. Let’s see what it is, what it is for and what we gain or lose by applying this technology. the garden mulch It is not only good for crops, because it poses significant difficulties for weeds, but also for the soil itself, for example by protecting it from solar radiation.
For this reason, we are going to dedicate this article to telling you how to make a garden mulch and what its characteristics are.
Benefits of Garden Mulch
Here are the main advantages:
- We provide shade for topsoil (if available) and soil, favoring microclimatic conditions favorable to the microbial and nitrifying flora. This results in better nitrification, and with it, the supply of nitrogen to our soils.
- We avoid to a certain extent the work of sole (compression of the earth) and we favor ventilation because of its porosity.
- We have already mentioned that it maintains optimum humidity levels for the earth shade.
- We prevent the development of most weeds
- If we have already told you about the enormous water saving advantages of infiltration irrigation, if you combine it with this technique, the water savings will be even greater by avoiding the dehydration of the most superficial layers of the soil. .
- With mastic we get a better structure on the floor.
- We avoid most UV radiation which would destroy the microbial flora on the surface.
- Ultimately, mulch is organic material that eventually breaks down to provide nutrients to the soil.
As we have seen, mulching the garden has many advantages. This must be taken into account because it is not always practical and is not suitable for all climates. First, if we are planting transplants, mulch is helpful. If it is a direct seed we have a problem because they need heat and sun to germinate properly.
Another factor to consider is the weather. For hot climates, this technique suits us best. Long summers, hot springs… however, in cold and humid climates, it is difficult for the soil to absorb enough heat in the spring, essential for the normal development of Solanaceae and Cucurbitaceae.
How to make garden mulch
Let’s see what materials we can use:
- Straw: Grain straw is the best mulch. There is only one obstacle. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of pulling weeds, you have to be careful with the straw, which contains grains that will eventually germinate. In addition, cereal straw tolerates rot well.
- Harvest: This is another great mulch. Compared to straw, we have to put a thin layer because it tends to clump together more easily than that and will backfire if we add too much. Eventually it will rot and we won’t have the ideal aeration or the right conditions. It is less stable than straw and breaks down faster, so it needs to be replaced more often.
- Remainder trim (BRF): This is another very good mulch, obviously it has to be tamped down. This garden mulch deserves special attention. It breaks down very slowly (over 2 years) and will eventually provide some amount of nutrients with little need to use compost, manure or other types of fertilizers. This type of upholstery is called BRF, an acronym for Boix Rameaux Fragmentés (wood cut into branches) in French. In many European countries, this filling is made from straw instead of straw, usually from fruit trees.
- Harvest: Same behavior as grass. Be careful of thick layers that will cause the filling to crumble. We will waterproof the earth and drown it. There is nothing to be desired.
- pine barkPairing: Not highly recommended due to its acidity. It can be used in crops that prefer acidic soils.
- Sawdust: Not highly recommended if we don’t know where it comes from. May have traces of resin and artificial glue.
- Cardboard and paper: Also useful, but aesthetically questionable. Be careful with the prints and inks they may have. We also don’t think this method is highly recommended, but it can be used as well.
- gravel and clay extended: They can also be used for quilting. They puff up and maintain the right humidity.
- Calculation: Used in arid regions. They shade, retain moisture and provide sun protection.
- Green manure as mulch: Yes, we want to leave that for last. If you know which crops provide nutrients (legumes) and which do not compete with the main crop, they make an excellent mulch in their own right.
It has a small limit in cold and humid areas. In these regions, although the summers are hot, the springs are not so hot and the land is not warm enough for good productive development. Especially nightshades (potato, tomato, eggplant…) and cucurbits (watermelon, melon, cucumber…).
If you want to protect the earth from the heat in these areas, the ideal is to cover it with old mulch or rotting manure, which absorbs solar radiation when it is dark.
How to mulch the garden step by step
It is recommended to apply mulch before the tree or plant begins to sprout. Thus, the new plant will benefit more from the nutrient supply or soil improvement that will be obtained. When we talk about our orchards, pots or gardens, the ideal is to do it before the start of the harvest at the end of winter, which can be repeated at the end of summer.
The steps for mulching the orchard are generally:
- Remove weeds and loosen the soil with a hoe to loosen the soil and get better penetration from the materials and supplements we provide.
- Add material and distribute it in fillings between 10 cm and 15 cm thick.
- The addition of microorganisms promotes the decomposition of organic matter and the absorption of nutrients by plants.
- Add the nutrients your plants need.
- Bury the microbes and compost with a rake or cultivator and mix them in.
- Water the crops.
So your garden padding will be ready. I hope with this information you can learn more about how to mulch the garden.