Soil preparation is a key point when starting to grow crops in the garden and this is particularly the case in permaculture. Mulching plants in the garden allows to obtain good vegetables. Why? Because it allows to save time on weeding and to save water. Indeed, the mulching will concentrate the humidity on the ground and avoid the proliferation of weeds. However, it is difficult to use it everywhere in the garden and beware of deficiencies!
What is the advantage of mulching plants?
The advantages of mulching are really numerous: between saving time since you don't need to water and you don't need to weed at all, enriching the soil thanks to the organic matter, regulating the temperature in winter and in summer (maintaining an optimal temperature for the plants, avoiding frost). It is also a way to recycle plant debris.
By improving the quality of your soil in the vegetable garden, you will also, of course, increase the quality and quantity of your vegetable production. Mulching will bring minerals and it thus makes it possible to avoid fertilizers. A real good point in permaculture! We put grass, plants and various organic debris of different sizes.We place a thickness more or less important according to the type of vegetables cultivated.
However, it should be taken into account that mulching has one major drawback: it provides an ideal playground for slugs, which is not always ideal.
What types of mulching are there?
You can use grass clippings, straw, leaf litter, grass, lime, brf (ramial fragmented wood), pine bark or needles, hemp fibres, coconut stems, lime, sheep's wool or even cardboard. Kitchen waste can also be used.
There are many options for mulching, you just have to choose the most suitable material for your plants. For example, pine bark maintains the acidity of the soil, it is suitable for heathers but not for other types of plants. It is necessary to be attentive to this aspect before mulching your plants. Each type of material will bring a certain benefit to your plants, choose them carefully. Straw is very practical because it contains carbon and does not decompose quickly. However, it can lead to nitrogen deficiency, which is called nitrogen hunger. It is therefore necessary to balance this mixture with green waste, especially on poor soil.
Which vegetables can be mulched in permaculture?
In permaculture, one can mulch various types of vegetables: tomatoes, zucchinis, peppers, eggplants, potatoes and tubers, cabbages...
However, it should be noted that root vegetables such as carrots, beets, radishes that are sown directly in place cannot be mulched directly. It is necessary to wait until the leaves are sufficiently developed before mulching.
Also, bulbs such as garlic, shallots or onions do not appreciate mulching as it could cause them to rot. For these crops, we prefer to mulch in the fall, when the soil is at rest.