Gardeners know the benefits of mulch
.... but how much more is there to know?
AQUATREK offers the following observations:
Firstly, what plants are you either growing or intend planting? For ease of maintenance, plants of similar water requirement and PH preference should be grouped together. PH kits are inexpensive, easy to use and a bit of preparation beforehand will save a lot of frustration later on.
Thoroughly water the soil prior to spreading the mulch. Many people spread the mulch, then water! Pre check the soil for any hydrophobic areas and treat if necessary.
Keep mulch away from the stems & trunks of plants & trees to avoid collar rot.
Woodchip mulch draws nitrogen from the soil as it breaks down, turning foliage yellow. Spread compensating agents on the soil prior to mulching. Suggested products are pea straw, lucerne and blood and bone (with potash added). Pea straw seedlings will likely germinate but these are easily removed and a small price to pay for the long term benefits.
Decomposing mulch can cause the soil to become hydrophobic, particularly after a long, dry period.
Are there areas or plants that require additional watering?
Use SUPADIVERTA and Gravity Fed Drip Hoses to address your gardens special needs and save time, money and possibly some of your valuable plants!
If you have compost, now is the time to use it. Don’t worry if it is not completely broken down, the worms will be jumping up to thank you for it. Holes packed with compost and wet newspaper sprinkled with blood and bone will turn into worm breeding factories and you will be their friend for life!
Do not use heavily coloured newsprint, brochures or glossy magazines as the ink is petroleum based, unlike normal black news ink which is vegetable based.
Many soil wetting agents are also petroleum based and organic based products can be hard to find. Petroleum based agents can adversely impact on worms and beneficial soil organisms but they do have a longer treatment life span than organic agents which, by nature, are biodegradable.
HANDY HINT: One downside of woodchip mulch is the cockroaches it attracts and harbours. A powerful cockroach repellant is the bay leaf, available from most supermarkets. Use indoors only, if you mix them in with the mulch you may end up with an indoor infestation and blame me for it!!! For outdoor cockroach control, place some olive oil in a jar and provide a rough texture to the smooth outside wall (masking tape works well) or other methods of access. A ring of Vaseline around the upper inside wall will prevent the pests from escaping.
Peanut butter is another strong bait but rodents also find it irresistible!
WARNING: Termites love moisture! Mulch and timber should not abut the house perimeter. Have you checked your house lately?
When considering a termite inspection, why not speak to your neighbours? Organising a group inspection gives bargaining power on quotes OR a neighbor may have a trade contact.
For sound advice on organic garden pest control, AQUATREK recommends a visit to www.zerowaste.sa.gov.au/at home/alternatives to chemicals/safer alternatives for the garden.