Spring is here! Let's Mulch and Compost

Spring is here! Let’s mulch and compost. April is the perfect time to begin mulching and composting our garden beds.

April is the perfect time to begin mulching and composting our garden beds. If you’ve been dreaming about tasting those fresh vegetables over the cold and long winter months, prepare to be amazed at what a properly prepped garden can harvest. There’s really no downside to a properly prepared garden, unless you’re not a fan of having to share all of your garden’s yummy goodness with friends and family! It’s true: ask any hardcore gardeners and they will tell you that proper composting and mulching can increase your crop and add to the overall success of your garden.

So, what’s the difference between mulch and compost? Composting is nature’s way of recycling. Organic matter that’s been decomposed is compost. Kitchen scraps, lawn clippings and garden refuse can all be piled up and used for your garden later. You can also purchase compost and composted manure to coat the garden’s landscape soil. Because soil is traditionally poor in quality for planting around the home, adding compost improves the soil and promotes root development, adding nutrients your garden needs to thrive. Mulching is the layer of materials placed on the top of the soil, offering the garden a “protective cover”. Mulch helps to deter weeds from growing, offers a way of retaining moisture in the soil, and aids in the reduction of erosion. Mulch also offers additional nutrients your garden needs over time.

When you apply compost to a freshly tilled earth, it adds much needed nutrients to the soil. Your plants will be more resistant to stressors while growing and receive beneficial microbes and nutrients that will support root development. Compost and compost manure can be used anywhere, including as a coating of mulch or simply added to certain plants during growing season. Using compost exclusively isn’t generally a good idea though, because plants end up not wanting to send their roots out into regular soil. Looking for a boost in your garden? Composting may be it!

When you use both compost and mulch in the garden, you’ll notice that these simple tips can offer a big impact on the success of your garden’s harvest. Your soil will retain moisture better, stay insulated, and soil erosion will be reduced. The top layer of mulch also offers the added benefit of gradually breaking down its nutrients over time while also keeping weeds under control. If you have additional questions about how to best prepare your garden for the upcoming growing season, any of Joe’s Market Basket staff members can help. Visit any of our four store locations in Edwardsville, Godfrey, O’Fallon and Troy, Illinois or give us a call at (618) 656-9055.

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