We had a really hot spell here in South Australia a few weeks ago. It almost seems like a bad dream now, because we’ve had perfect spring weather for the past three weeks or so. But when we were suffering through the 40 degrees C + for a few days and before that a week of high 30’s it seemed like summer was here and was going to be relentless – even though it was still spring!
Anyway, it reminded me that I had not got any mulch down around my plants that had managed to survive the harsh winds and rabbits. My plants were suffering (just as I was) in that consuming heat.
So in the cool of the evening I got to mulching my herbs. I like to use pea-straw for my mulch. I make sure it’s really wet before I mound it around the plants. I soak it in an old baby bath and then when the water has really got it in, I place it about 8 to 10cm thick – that’s about 3 or 4 inches for those who use imperial.
That way I know the plants are not only benefiting from less soil erosion and moisture evaporation, but they’re also getting a good drink when I first apply it.
And I also use the pea-straw mulch for other things in the garden. For example, I have a gorgeous stag horn that I add a couple of generous handfuls to each summer. It prevents the stag heart from drying out on really hot days. I use it in a few of my potted plants too. Pots can dry out really quickly in summer, so it’s a great application. You just have to remember to keep the base of the plant clear of the mulch, or it can rot.
Another benefit of using mulch is that it gives your plants a little supplementary food as it breaks down.
Happy Organic Gardening, Healthy Living…