Want to add some easy, effective, amazing energy to your vegan garden? Try grass clippings and mulch.
I've always thought mulch was a funny word. It sounds a lot like what it is: ground up greens that give your garden a blast of growth power. Another reason I like the word 'mulch' is that it's the sound a grass stem makes when I chew it. Can't you just hear me now? Chewing away, "Mulch, mulch mulch."
The biggest reason I like mulch, though is that quite frankly, I'm a lazy gardener. Sure, I love it when friends admire the flowers, fruit and veggies that grow in my yard. And I revel in the luxurious velvety feeling of a freshly cut lawn. But I don't relish spending all my free time doing yard work.
Since i don't use chemical or artificial weed killers, most of the weeding that gets done in my yard happens the old fashioned way: gloved hands pulling, yanking, digging, until weeds dance through my dreams!
This is where mulch comes in. Grass clippings make wonderful mulch. Some lawn mowers chop up the grass small enough so that it doesn't even have to be bagged, but I do like bagging it because then I can use the clippings around roses, strawberries, onions and other plants and viola! No weeds. At least temporarily. Grass clippings also contain lots of cellulose as well as nitrogen. Cellulose helps maintain tilth, the texture of the ground, and nitrogen makes for great greens and top growth.
Grass clippings that are allowed to sit for a few days and get a little steamy are also a great protective device for a chilly spring or autumn evening, providing a little extra warmth for your plants. Piling on the clippings also helps to retain moisture, which in turn cuts down on your watering time.
Again, my love of a no-fuss yet freakishly productive yard plus my desire not to let anything go to waste, urges me to use those clippings!
Mulch doesn't have to be confined to grass clippings, of course. If you're like me, you have a comfrey plant, or rather, you may have started out with one comfrey plant and now you have a comfrey jungle. Well, guess what? Comfrey leaves make great mulch. Lay them around your plants for a mighty nightogen fix.
My tendency to use every last bit of well, everything, also taught me that when I pull my rhubarb, those lovely big leaves make an excellent mulch around the parent plant, giving me more yummy, juicy rhubarb!
I even use pine needles for mulch. Pine needles are acidic, which some plants, like dianthus, lily of the valley, hydrangea, rhododendron and gardenias love, so pile on the pine needles if you have them.
What about those fall leaves? Maple, beech, oak, aspen and other deciduous tree leaves can be used to bed down plants for the winter. Sure, they still need to be raked, or blown or collected somehow, but they're free. Leaf mulch helps reduce thatch buildup on the lawn and keeps the ph levels of the soil even.
So, there you go! Mow, rake and plop down leaves for a vibrant, carefree yard.