Have you been experiencing heat and drought, like we have? Struggling to help those little plant babies survive these challenging conditions? This is the annual chore that-- for me, feels like tucking in all those little plant babies for the growing season.
We just finished mulching our gardens! YAY! The mulch protects the plants from the heat of the sun by covering that black dirt, preventing scorching rays from heating up the soil, which can literally burn plant leaves. In addition it helps keep soil moisture from evaporating away, keeping roots cool and moist.
This is the annual chore that signals, ‘Planting season is complete!' We have done all we can to set these babies up for the growing season.
We bale the hay ground next to our driveway the first week of June. We joke that we are always the first farmers to finish baling! Here’s a picture of that scene!
This annual chore takes place before the grass and any weeds go to seed. This ensures that we are not introducing any weed issues into the garden with our mulch. We use hay rather than straw cuz the hay is packing all the nutrition from that lush green grass— grass that has not spent any of its energy producing a seed head. You can read our blog post on 'Making mulching choices,' here.
We bale into old fashioned small square bales— and we don’t bale them too tight and heavy— small and light enough that even I can easily handle 'em! We carry the bales into the garden and place them between the rows, cut the string, and lay out chunks of hay between the rows. Then we carefully spread out the hay in a thick layer between the rows, making sure there are no ‘chunks’ of hay to make walking difficult.
We did a video a few years ago of the entire process of mulching our garden, including a short intro that shows you the end result— lush black soil, full of earthworm holes and castings-- and lots of organic matter. You can find that video on our YouTube channel, by clicking here.
And here are pictures of our gardens taken just this morning! All tucked in with a layer of protection against the heat and drought...
East garden with fresh lay mulch layer.
South side of the east garden-- BTW we didn't mulch between the cabbage rows.
And here's the south garden-- we didn't mulch between the lettuce rows we are currently harvesting. We'll add that later-- after those are harvested.
Now for the maintenance and harvesting the fruits of our efforts! We hope you were blessed with rain in the midst of this drought and that any hail missed your gardens!
Our best to you,
Theresa & Dan