Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Mulch, Mulch and more Mulch

For the last 3 years, I’ve gotten  of mulch. At first I thought it would be too much but I find lots of good places to put it. Weeding is not something I want to spend much time doing.

I can’t say this system is the end all to beat all but I can say I never need to dedicate time to weeding; I just do a little here and there when I water or walk by. Not having prior experience with gardening, thank goodness I like to read and thank goodness my friends were willing to share their experiences! I took all that wisdom and decided on the plan that worked best for me.

DSCF7678When I create a flower beds, I dug a small trench around the edge of the designated area. See the photo below for an example.

DSCF7686As a weed barrier I have come to prefer cardboard although I started out using landscape fabric. I make sure the barrier lines this trench then I fill it with mulch. It helps to have a hose handy so you can periodically wet the cardboard. This makes it mold to the ground and the weight of the mulch.

At the beginning of the growing season, weed whacking very close to the ground around the edge, then piling mulch on top keeps anything from creeping in from the yard area. Consideration was also given to the type of grass we planted. It could not be anything that “creeped”; I didn’t want it in my gardens or my prairie!!

The areas that are done with cardboard sometimes needs to be raked over and re-cardboarded but I only did that the second year. I haven’t had a need this year, the 3rd year.

In my veggie garden, I use straw and I love it!!!  DSCF7690

It has so many advantages. Aside from the well known benefits, I have learned that it keeps the soil from compacting, when I walk around to water and harvest and during the winter when the snow is thick. I keep a thick layer of straw on the garden when it’s “put to bed” for the winter. When I plant in spring, I remove some off the top, then just move what I need to plant the row and/or the plant. The best straw is the old rotting stuff that the farmers’ don’t want. I keep a compost bin with the straw in it beside the garden so it’s handy.

DSCF7687

Weeds are at bay, plants’ roots are happy, and moisture is contained. What’s not to love?

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