Gardening with Sheet-mulch in all
climates of the world has major benefits. Mulching improves
nutrient and water retention in the soil, encourages favorable
soil microbial activity and worms, and suppresses weed growth.
When properly executed, mulching can significantly improve the
well-being of plants and reduce maintenance as compared to bare
soil culture. Mulching cools the soil by reflecting the sun
back up to the plants where it is needed and reduces evaporation.
Mulched plants have better vigor, faster growth rate and yield
and consequently have improved resistance to pests and diseases.
In most areas of the world the 'natural' tree, shrub, grass
or meadow layer has been compromised. These systems would normally
create mulch as aging plant material falls to the ground and
decomposes. This would keep a healthy mat of soil organisms
which quickly recycle nutrients back to the canopy above. This
would insure the protective shade and shelter from wind which
the soil needs to remain healthy.
When we introduce ‘modern’ agriculture, herd animals,
sub-urban landscapes, urban paving or use trees and shrubs for
cooking & heating, we degrade the capacity for soil to naturally
replenish itself and the plant canopy above. We must remember
the ‘job’ natural plant canopies have is one of
the keystones to health of our biosphere (life layer of the
planet). In order to tilt the balance back to one of life, abundance
and health of all organisms (including humans) we must understand
and mimic the systems we have unintentionally disrupted.
So go forth and be ‘Mulchful’