With spring comes yard work. It’s inevitable. But it can also be satisfying watching all your hard work blossom and bloom around you. Gardening success starts with soil and mulch.
An important part of South Jersey landscaping that most people don’t think about in detail is mulch. After all, what is mulch? And why should you mulch your garden and landscaping? For as long as trees have grown in forests, leaves and needles have fallen to the ground, matted together, and formed a natural protective layer over the soil.
What is mulch?
Basically, any material that covers soil is considered mulch. This includes soft elements like peat moss, straw or pine needles as well as harder ones such as stone.What are the benefits of mulch?
Many different natural and synthetic mulches are available today, but all perform these basic functions:
Controls soil erosion from wind and rain
Suppress weeds. Weeds that do grow are easier to pull.
Retains moisture to reduce the amount and frequency of watering.
Maintains soil temperature to reduce stress on plants.
Why you need to get rid of weeds before mulching:
Not only are weeds ugly, they also steal valuable nutrients from your plants. Aggressive weeds can be downright destructive, taking over your yard or garden. Most people don’t like pulling weeds. There are many products on the market to kill or prevent weed growth. Some are organic, some are not. Either way, make sure to get rid of weeds before applying mulch.
Organic mulch vs. Inorganic mulch
Organic mulch is made from natural materials that break down over time. Examples include compost, grass, straw, pine needles and wood bark. On the other hand, inorganic mulch consists of stones, gravel and pebbles. Both types of mulch help deter weeds and maintain moisture, but organic mulch can provide added nutritional. Adding mulch is not a new concept, but it is a beneficial one.
Good soil preparation is essential to success. Properly preparing your garden with the correct soil and compost before planting will give your garden the proper nutrients it needs to get started and thrive. If you’re new to gardening or gardening on a new property, start by having a soil test done. This will assess the pH level which you can adjust with lime or sulfur.
Generally, organic amendments should be added annually over a period of several years to improve your soil. Common organic amendments include peat moss, compost and manure. Good soil conditions are key in producing high quality vegetables and fruits. Annuals and perennials will also bloom more profusely. Organic material can be added anytime the soil isn’t wet or frozen. Make sure your soil is workable before amending it.
There are many types of soil and soil amendments available. Some are especially formulated for container gardens. Container garden soils are usually a combination of soil, peat and vermiculite or perlite. Some also contain moisture retention crystals and fertilizers.
We stock an assortment of soil and mulch including: