I have some bark mulch to apply to some beds with perennial shrubs in. When is the best time to put this down?
I'd do it now before the ground gets cold. It's already wet so ideal time
I mulch now but if you are using bark mulch you will need to put some feed down in the Spring, chicken manure pellets or bone meal because bark mulch can take nutrients out of your soil. I will use organic chicken manure pellets, I have used Growmore Granules before.
I'd happily mulch now. Give with worms something to do over the Winter.
Bark mulch takes nitrogen out of the soil and plants need nitrogen, it is best put down in spring when the soil has warmed up. Bark is a weed depressant and tidies the look of the bed, it will in time rot down and slightly enhance the soil, I never use bark. Normal soil enhancer compost would be dragged down by the worms and feed the plants gently when they wake up again in spring As said above there are many differing ideas on mulch, I do what I found over many years works well.
I use bark and would apply just now - in fact I need to get some myself. It 'dresses' the remaining plants and in bare areas is a better deterrent to cats than compost which they just use as their personal toilet. I feed with B,F and B in spring. I do try to have as few empty spaces as possible though.
I use leaf mold to mulch my beds,it is well composted .I was wondering what is grit exactly.I was watching carol Klein on gardeners world and when she sets seeds of astrantia out to germinate she used grit to cover them,I am guessing they need light and the cold to germinate.I am in u.s and have not heard that term ,is it vermiculite?I dont think I am on the right site,but thought someone might know .I do want to winter sow a few differt seeds and would like to put them out in Jan.Thanks
It's what we call horticultural grit here Debra. It's just very fine gravel, around 4 - 5 mm size. You could use vermiculite to do the same job but it's a different material - if that makes sense! Someone will correct me if you can't use vermiculite for that though. It helps to prevent moss and algae forming on the surface if they get a bit over watered , which causes the seeds to rot, and also stops them drying out too quickly if conditions are warm.
Hope not digressing too much, but Debra's query on grit brings it to my mind again. Am I wrong to feel all this top dressing with grit is ecologically a bit off. Looks lovely on pots, but so much gravel is dredged with what that entails. Grit is largely unrecoverable for reuse. Would love to know gardener's opinion here.