Organic gardening mulch is free from pesticides and other chemicals and is considered all natural. Mulch is used by many gardeners, but depending on the climate and location, each gardener may have a slightly different reason for spreading mulch in and around his garden.
How to Apply Organic Gardening Mulch
Learning how to apply mulch is easy, the main goal is to apply the mulch thick enough the first time around. The best way to apply organic mulch is to start with a clean soil surface. Removing weeds before spreading organic mulch is the best policy. If weeds are simply covered, depending on the depth of the mulch, they may push their way free of the covering and ruin the look of the garden as well as zap plants of water and growing space. Even when weed foliage is removed but roots remain there is a good chance the weeds will grow back and rear their ugly heads again.
Organic mulch is mulch that has not had any chemicals or pesticides added, is a natural source or a product that comes from nature, and will gradually decompose back into the soil. All of these reasons are good enough reasons to use organic mulch, but when personal health is added to the equation, organic is the only way to go. Never spread inorganic materials into a vegetable or herb garden.
Once a gardener learns how to apply mulch, it may be wise to go back and recheck the first couple of spots to make sure the mulch has been laid thickly enough. If the mulch is not thick enough, as noted above, weeds will grow up through it. To make matters worse, it may not hold moisture as originally intended.
How to Prepare Organic Gardening Soil
Agreenhand, a gardening expert said, “The best way to prepare gardening soil is to start by removing all weeds, including roots. The best way to do this is to use a garden tiller. If the gardening area is too small for a full-size tiller, smaller tillers will work.” Some organic gardening pros consider tillers to be nonproductive to organic gardens. The reasons? Tillers are often run on gasoline, and there is always the chance that gasoline may drip into the organic gardening soil and contaminate it. Individual judgment is required in this instance.
If a tiller is not available, good old fashioned muscle power is needed. Use a hoe and work up the gardening soil to a depth of about six inches. After the weeds and debris have been removed, work the soil up gently around each existing plant to ensure the gardening soil is not compacted. If the gardening soil requires nutrients or the plants require fertilization, now is the time to apply both.
Mulch can also be used in container gardening endeavors. Aside from the beauty, mulched pots require less watering and also will help keep pests from the getting at the roots of the plants.
Organic Gardening Mulch and Organic Vegetable Gardens
Before placing mulch in an organic vegetable garden, think about the needs of the garden as well as the needs of the homeowner. For maintenance free gardening soil, it’s best to apply a layer of newspaper on the ground before adding the mulch. The newspaper will create a barrier that will keep the sunlight from penetrating into the ground where weeds might sprout. This can be done with plastic, as well, but when mulch is applied over plastic sheeting, rot and mildew have been known to develop. And because newspaper can leach some chemicals into the soil; personal discretion is advised.
If using newspaper, place the newspaper on the ground about four layers or sheets thick. Wet the newspaper with the hose and then place the mulch over top, making sure no part of the newspaper is left exposed. The thick layer of newspaper will effectively block out all sunlight to any plants that might still have a root system beneath the soil.
Once the gardening soil has been mulched, water the mulch down sufficiently. This will keep the mulch in place while it settles.
Organic Gardening and Organic Pesticides
While grass is an organic gardening component and is often used as mulch in both flower and organic vegetable gardens, some grasses are a bad idea, especially for an organic vegetable garden. For one thing, grass and hay products can seed out and create a green carpet up and down the rows of even the best organic vegetable gardens, turning them unsightly and less productive.
More importantly, if grass has been treated with any type of lawn chemical, either for fertilization or to control pests, it no longer is safe for garden use. Only organic materials that are free from chemicals should be placed near vegetables.
To make organic vegetable gardens, it’s important to remember that everything that goes into the gardens should be organic. If pests persist, one part liquid hand soap to 100 parts water makes a good organic pesticide. Other organic pesticides can be purchased at local organic gardening stores and greenhouses.