Once the days start getting longer and the weather gets warmer, my gardening craving sets in. I discovered years ago that the best way to be a financially responsible gardener and steward of Mother Nature was to make a gardening plan. Purchasing and planting willy-nilly is the sure road to financial ruin, dead post-drought plants, and marital strife. So by mid-May, my landscaping synapses are firing.
I have my garden beds sketched out and notes on which annuals or perennials I want to add; I know which vegetables we’re going to include in our mini-Victory Garden; and I know that every other year we’re going to mulch. I force myself to stick to the plan, even when we’re out and about and plants and ideas jump into my arms. I ruthlessly put them down.
In 2007 I met Gerald Adams, grounds supervisor for the NC Governor’s Executive Mansion (and gardener extraordinaire). He was a wealth of knowledge, but some of the best advice he gave me was to plan on mulching in June. It gives spring bulbs and perennials the opportunity to emerge, and seals in the moisture from April and May showers for the hot summer months.
I like to use a shredded hardwood mulch, with a little bit of hardwood chips mixed in. The shredded mulch sort of locks together to reduce erosion and washing away, and the hardwood is natural looking and woodsy. I know the red-dyed mulch is popular because it retains its color for so long, but I think it’s awful and fake-looking.
But whatever your selection, the next four weeks is a great time to mulch. For help in choosing which mulch best suits your needs and your tastes, check out this article, Using Mulch in Your Garden.