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The Virtues of Mulch

The Primary difference between Plants & Animals is that plants, through the process of combining water, carbon dioxide & light (photosynthesis), are able to create their own food; while animals have a central nervous system and the mobility necessary to gather the evening meal. This is where one of my gardening heroes, Ruth Stout, and the mulching methods she lays out in her book "The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book" steps in. The basis of her technique, which I have used for years to bring marginal soil into a state of fertility, seems to be simply: "pour it on!". Plants are complex carbohydrates, which means one thing ~ something out there is ready and willing to have it for lunch.

The benefits of mulching do not stop at being a meal ticket for worms and all the other critters that contibute to the life of the soil. There's grass. I have nothing against grass, I just don't like it in the vegetable garden. Fortunately, this wonderously adaptive plant has an Achilles Heel ~ grass does not have a bulb or tuber where it stores food for the tough times ahead. Robbing it of light, a key ingredient in photosynthesis, eliminates it from the garden in short order. Daffodils, Irises & Tulips, on the other hand, thrive under mulch & possess the stores that enable them to push through the leaves into the warmth of a sunny spring day.

Mulch captures water that would otherwise evaporate in first warm days of spring, attracts the stalwart ally of every gardener, the earthworm, and eliminates (as I have said before) that great competitor for water in the spring ~ grass.

*Zephyr is wearing a Medium Cut Black Linen Newsboy, while Carol (with her beet) is looking strong in her Deep Cut Linen Newsboy

**hats rollover: Ian is wearing a Full Cut in Denim, Elaine sports a Deep Cut Newsboy, & Jesse is happy in her Red Full Cut

***home rollover: Jim is picking cabbage in his favorite Linen Sports Cap