Well, we are about through with 2 giant round bales of straw and we aren't even half way done. That's a lot of mulch. This week we have been spreading mulch over what we call the Green House Garden. We are about half way done with it and there is still two more gardens to go!
Mulch is very helpful in the garden. It does four very important things:
1. It adds organic matter to the soil as it breaks down. Organic matter helps the soil to soak up water. Organic matter helps "lighten" the soil. That means it doesn't get compacted as easy. It is looser and the plants like that. It is especially helpful with root crops like carrots, beets and potatoes. They don't get all squished like they would in regular soil and can instead grow with ease and not become compacted themselves. We don't use a tiller so it is very beneficial for us to have light loose soil. to work in. Every year the soil gets better!
2. It suppresses weeds. No chemical weeds killers here, just good weed pickers and lots of mulch. The mulch needs to be pretty thick to really accomplish this. Now you know why were are almost through two bales already. And even when it is really thick (6-8 inches), some weeds still find their way through but they are way easier to pick with the mulch. Their root system is still down under the mulch, in the dirt. They have to push up so far to get through the mulch that they just pull right out. We do get wheat grass growing in the straw because it is wheat straw. It is way easy to pick and we have lots and lots of birds who love wheat grass, oh and goats, and cows, and sheep. The organic wheat grass is supper good for them too. It's a win win!
3. Mulch helps retain moisture in the soil. The mulch itself holds water and it also helps keep the water from evaporating from the dirt. This saves water and time.
4. Mulch helps prevent disease. I bet you didn't think of that one. Yep, mulch helps prevent disease by covering the dirt. Many diseases that plants get come from common bacteria, viruses and fungus that are found in the dirt. With mulch in place the dirt doesn't splash up on the plant when you water.
If you ever have a garden be sure to use mulch.
Other Happenings in the Garden
So I haven't been in the Big Garden in a few days. Very busy with all that mulch. I went in there today to do some weeding and watering. The plants are very happy with the sun we have been getting these last few days. They are really starting to shoot up.
The Nova tomatoes are getting lots of blooms. Novas are a Roma type tomato. They are great for sauces. I love to cut them in half, sprinkle them with oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and some seasonings and then broil them on low for a bit. After that we put them on a sandwich with cheese and other veggies. I especially like eggplant with it. I look forward to these sandwiches every summer.
I took some cutting of them to start a few new plants to replace the ones we lost in the wind. We lost six from about 100. That wind was brutal. We are think we had some gust up to 70 miles an hour. Yuck! I don't like any holes in my rows and cutting are so easy. It is almost like an instant plant.
I could not believe how much the cauliflower, carrots, and sunflowers had grown. It had only been two days. It is so exciting to watch. Also very exciting, the strawberries have little berries on them! Can you tell I like strawberries? We are supper excited about the strawberries. I'm still praying there will be some ready for the first farmers market. There is nothing like strawberries from the garden. So much more flavor and so much sweeter.
The squash are really taking off in the back garden. We've planted Butternut, Sweet Meat, and Tennessee Sweet Potato. Tennessee sweet potato is not really a sweet potato it is just supposed to taste like one. We don't have a long enough growing season here for sweet potatoes. We tried despite that fact and we did get sweet potatoes they were just really small. We had to try because we love sweet potatoes. They were fun to grow and they get cute little purple flowers. They are a very pretty vine. The thing is, they take up a lot of room and we only get tiny little sweet potatoes. So if we can't have sweet potatoes then why not squash that taste like sweet potatoes. We have never tried this squash before so I hope it stands up to all the sweet potato claims.
I hope you all are enjoying your summer!
Talk to you soon,
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Hello, I'm Jaci. I love wandering around in my gardens admiring God's creation. I'm passionate about whole foods and clean eating. I look forward to sharing my farming and homestead adventures and helping you reach your gardening goals! If you have any questions then don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and I will be glad to help!