Raised gardens provide us with comfort and productivity unmatched by traditional beds, but they are still prone to typical gardening problems. Weeds are easy to spread. No matter where you plant them, poor soil quality will bring you disappointing results. Common problems require similar solutions. From landscaping to raised gardens, mulch can be your best friend almost anywhere. It can complete dirty work such as weed control, soil temperature regulation and water control. Savana will show you 5 great options for mulches for raised beds.
The use of straw is one of the most convenient ways to cover the raised bed. Every time you mow the lawn, you have made a cover, so reusing the cut lawn in the garden is a free and easy way to nourish and protect plants. Grass cuttings add healthy amounts of nitrogen and potassium to the soil, while fulfilling typical responsibilities of covering weeds and maintaining water.
You should not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers in your weeds, because they may pollute the planting bed. Similarly, any weeds or seed heads in the mixture will undoubtedly produce some unwanted growth.
Grass cuttings need extra preparation before entering the garden. Usually, you need to spread out the newspaper clippings and let them air dry for 1-2 days. Wet weeds will form sticky and smelly mats to prevent oxygen and water from entering the soil, which will ultimately do more harm than good.
Fortunately, in the long run, the hard work of dry newspaper clipping is rewarding. Clips can be easily stored in bags and drums or under tarpaulins, providing 1-2 years of availability. In addition to popular high carbon mulches such as newspapers and straw, they can also be perfectly added to compost.
2. Newspaper and cardboard
Mulching is the most environmentally friendly way to deal with old newspapers and cardboard. Although not as attractive as other mulches, they are ideal foundation layers for insulating soil and preventing weeds from entering. Paper and cardboard mulches that usually last throughout the season are equally effective for annuals and perennials.
Cardboard and newspapers are excellent weed inhibitors that can add carbon to fuel microorganisms in the soil. However, it is important to assess the cond.ition of recycled materials before they are thrown onto the raised bed.
The smooth wax coating and residues on the tape on the product packaging form an impermeable layer, which hinders the gas exchange and the growth of soil microorganisms.
Paper mulch, whether newspaper or cardboard, can be blown away in the slightest breeze, so wetting it before use can make life easier. Enhance the appearance and fix it in place by layering another covering at the top, such as grass clipping or straw. You can put the remaining paper into the soil at the end of the growing season.
Straw is breathable and provides excellent moisture retention, instead of having too much graininess like hay. Although wheat straw is the most easily available variety, rice straw contains the least seeds and will bring unwanted plants into the raised bed.
Another kind of high carbon mulch, straw will add necessary nutrients to the soil during decomposition. The soil quality and texture will be improved, and the irrigation demand will be greatly reduced. Like grass cuttings, straw must be free of pesticides, moisture and excessive seeds to provide maximum benefits, and proper procurement and preparation are key priorities.
Lay a 2-inch thick layer of straw around your garden plants and place them for winter as needed to maintain soil structure and temperature. When spring comes, you can recycle the old straw into the compost pile, or you can keep the leftovers and fill them.
4. Pine straw
Depending on your environment, pine straw may be the cheapest and easiest overhead bed cover. Pine straw can also be purchased online from popular suppliers. Although it is more expensive than other covers, you will benefit from its longer service life.
Pine straw is light and malleable, making it easy to make a cushion on your raised bed. Although not the best in weed control, interlocking needles can provide excellent soil insulation and moisture retention. It can sometimes hold water well, leading to potential rot and pest problems.
The longer the needles are, the more they interlock and stay in place. The layer should be relatively thick, about 2-3 inches. Although it can last more than a year, you usually need to cover the layer after several months.
The compound will provide essential nutrients for your raised bed to ensure the most successful growth and harvest. While nourishing your plants, compost still performs the usual mulching tasks of slowing evaporation and isolating the soil. You can prepare compost with a mixture of brown and green materials collected during the day.
Broken texture makes it easy to compost around plants on the raised beds. As a fine organic substance, compost will decompose quickly. Compared with other more stable mulches, you need to supplement it more frequently in this season. It also does not provide weed control as provided by other long-lived strains.
Raised beds make the garden look neat and have the opportunity to better control the growth process. Once you are on your favorite bedspread, the choice of covers is as important as proper care. With these insights on choosing the best cover for your raised bed, you will no doubt see incredible rewards from your hard work.