The Garden Club of Cape May

Monthly Gardening Tips

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June 2024, Garden Tips
MULCH

Hopefully someday I'll have so many plants filled in everywhere I call a garden bed and will say "I mulch with plants!"

We know mulch has a lot of benefits.

- keeps roots cool

- protects from soil compaction (by foot traffic, hard rain or dry spells) - improves soil texture and soil life (if it's the proper kind)

- attractive

Good mulch

Salt Hay (hay is grass that has been cut and dried) it has no weed seeds. In Colonial times it was used as a mulch in gardens and as bedding and fodder for animals. It is a species of cordgrass that grows on the Atlantic Coast in salt marshes. It is hard to find because less and less harvesting is done due to the inability to get harvesting equipment into the marshes with sea level rise. I used to make a trip to get it and it was well worth it.
Pine Needles (decompose slower) Some plants that benefit are Camellias, Rhododendrons, and Azaleas.
Grass Clippings
Shredded Leaves organic and small sized
Triple Ground- organic root and virgin hardwood mulch, the color is naturally brown. It is excellent for new plantings and decomposes readily.

Large wood chips and bark are not recommended for garden beds. Best for pathways. They are slow to decompose and when doing so pull more nutrients out of the soil, taking away from our plants. And no dyed mulch.

Because we live in a home surrounded by trees with an unlimited! number of leaves from our tall trees on our grounds we have a leaf/ twig shredder. We amend many of our garden beds with shredded leaves. It's easy to spread and breaks down easily. However much life lives in the leaves! I'm torn. I should experiment with unshredded leaves!

Mulch at the right time.

- Help prevent weeds but don't cover your self-sown seedlings.

- Don't lay it on too thick, especially around trees trunks, and shrubs.

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