Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Mulch Ado about Something

Say “mulch,” and I’m tempted to laugh out loud.

The word begins with such a pleasing sound—that Mmmm! makes you think of good things to eat—but finishes as you half-swallow, half-cluck.. The combination is not what you expect and as Aristotle used to say, "The secret to humor is surprise,"

But mulch as a concept is no laughing matter. I wrote a column on it for a gardening feature that I’ve begun in a local monthly paper. Environment Canada had been forecasting below average rain this summer for the Montreal region, so I advised mulching flower and vegetable beds. Mulch and you'll be able to laugh at drought, I wrote.

Mulch means covering bare ground with something that will cut down on evaporation of soil moisture. You can use organic matter like wood chips or inorganic matter like small pebbles . Mulch also hinders weeds from growing, moderates soil temperature, and cuts down on erosion.

Sounds great, and it is great, if you remember to do it. But in front where I planted a Japanese maple in late May I forgot to put down anything. I’d like to say this was because I'm so well organized that in the rest of the beds, I have a continuous cycle of perennials which act as a living mulch. That’s true enough, only I forgot that the little maple was planted in bare earth, without a protective surrounding of low plants.

Poor thing! It appears not to have survived the last hot spell. Maybe that will teach me to take my own advice!

No comments: