Many of us don’t think mulch is used in Arizona and in some cases it isn’t needed. For example, native desert plants do not need mulch to survive. They are adapted to the existing soil conditions and do better in the native soil. Mulching a planting hole of a native plant will actually restrict the roots of the plant from expanding and growing beyond the mulch.
For those of us who enjoy a more tropical look in our yard or who are planting vegetables gardens should consider using mulch. A thick layer of mulch around your plants and over the entire bed will enhance the growing conditions for garden plants while reducing time spent weeding and watering. You can move the rock away from your plants and add mulch them put the rock back over it to cover it. For vegetable gardens and raised garden beds, mulch can be added to the top of the soil to keep the moisture in and the soil cooler during the extreme hot and dry days of May and June.
Mulch will conserve water by reducing evaporation and preventing the surface from drying out. It reduces the need for watering and block out the weeds from sprouting. There are many sources of clean, organic mulch. Lawn clippings are a great source, and fresh clippings are nitrogen-rich. If plants are close to fruiting, however, let grass clippings go dry and brown before using. Fall leaves, straw, seaweed, and alfalfa can be used as mulch. Bark mulch, landscape cloth, geotextiles or plastic materials should not be used as mulch on vegetable beds. View this chart of the common materials used for mulch and how to use them.
Once mulch is in place, it doesn’t need to be disturbed. Amendments like lime, compost and rock phosphate can be top-dressed. When transplanting or sowing seeds, simply part the mulch to sow seeds, then fold it back in place as seedlings take root.
The mulch you apply to your beds will gradually disappear as it breaks down and becomes incorporated into the soil. You’ll need to reapply mulch to your beds regularly, how often depending on the type of mulch used and the time of year. As the mulch gets thinner and disappears, you’ll know it all went into building new soil for the next crop. Contact a licensed Arizona landscape company to assist you in your garden ideas. Arizona Living Landscape & Design 480-390-4477.
Aerobin 400 Insulated Composter – $ 389.00
Unlike traditional compost bins, the Aerobin is insulated and has an internal aeration core to help the compost stay warm and aerated.