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Mulch 101 !!!

Before my house was built and the garden laid out, the ground was part of an orchard with sheep grazing, so the ground remains very fertile... lots of nettles, lots of brambles, and a whole lot more examples that demonstrate that a weed is a flower where you don't want it!!!

If I put down mulch to the depths that are often recommended, I realise that that may indeed help to suppress the things I don't want there. But supposing I want to sow seeds (e.g. the ones free with the magazine that say "sow in the site where you want them to grow") will they also be suppressed, leaving me with vast patches of barren ground, albeit covered with very elegant and expensive mulch?  Sounds a fair assumption, doesn't it?   But if that's so, how do I square the circle between having the things that ARE wanted, while suppressing the things that are NOT?!

I realise that this is probably a really dumb question, but I am surely not the first person who has ever had this dilemma?


  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,879
    Not a dumb question at all. A thick mulch on top of seeds will suppress them just the same as weed seeds. Maybe choose an area to sow your seeds and leave it free of mulch this year, or fork it in to the top 6 inches or so of soil if it's already down. You will get weeds appearing as well as what you sow. It's usually recommended to direct-sow in lines within the area you want to fill rather than just scattering the seed, then you weed out anything that appears outside those lines.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,743
    If you encourage self seeders, as I do, you can't lay random blankets of mulch over everything.
    I have to mulch individual plants, tickle mulch in around plants, avoiding self seeders, until i know what they are.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,879
    I do the same @punkdoc. Lots of self-seeders here but I've got to the stage that I can recognise most of the usual volunteers when they're pretty small. The more prolific ones  usually need thinning so I sometimes do that at the same time as mulching.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Surely you can mulch, compost and sow?
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