Winter Mulch: Keeping Plants Warm

Mulching is extraordinarily useful in the vegetable garden: it saves a lot of labor and keeps the beds tidy, without wild weeds invading all the spaces and smothering the young vegetables. The technique consists of covering the ground around the plants, which can be done with natural materials (for example, straw or dry leaves) or with special fabrics. You can go deeper into the subject by reading the article dedicated to mulch.

What we are going to talk about now is the use of this type of cover to protect plants from the cold. In fact, weed control isn’t the only benefit to be gained from mulch, it can also be done to keep roots warm, thereby protecting plants from winter frost.

When the ground is covered at the foot of the plant, the effect is that of a blanket, which can act as a shield against frost. The type of material used can be more or less effective in the repair.

Why mulch is repaired

Organic matter tends to heat up, especially compost: when decomposition processes are activated, heat is generated. However, care must be taken not to overdo it, both because too much localized heat can damage the plant and too fresh and wet manure can lead to rot and disease. The same goes for wood chips and grass cutting. Straw, bark and leaves receive less heat but are safer covers.

Organic mulching against the cold is particularly useful for certain perennials that remain in the ground during the winter months, such as rhubarb and aromatic perennials (thyme, sage, rosemary, etc.). In addition to garden plants, you can also mulch hedges and fruit trees.

The mulching fabric, whether plastic or biodegradable, heats up much less, even if it is chosen in black, it captures the sun’s rays and this can produce heat. The effect is seen especially in the spring, when it is useful to speed up the harvest. In summer, on the other hand, you have to be careful that the black does not cause overheating when there is a lot of sun.

To heat it you can also cover it with a non-woven fabric, which breathes and allows light to pass through, in this case you can also choose to cover the whole plant and not just the ground.

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