How to Mulch by Stu Campbell

I have greatly enjoyed the Storey Basics line of books – they always establish the perfect line between informative but concise. There’s no fluff and the presentation is clean, easy to follow, and with illustrations as needed.

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With How To Mulch, I was greatly surprised by how much there is to know about mulching – how one type of mulch makes a huge difference to a certain plant than another and how you can kill your plants if you do it incorrectly.  The difference between a nice garden and a rich and healthy one can often come down to the mulching.

The book breaks down as follows:  Whys and whats of mulching (benefits, drawbacks, definitions); Types of mulch (bark and wood, other plant products, paper mulches, inorganic mulches, how to choose a mulch); Here’s how to mulch (mulching 101, mulching ornamentals, mulching vegetables, mulching fruits), Index.

In the first section, the book discusses important points such as nitrogen, pests that live in the mulch, water and moisture, when not to mulch an area or how mulching poorly can adversely affect your garden. Organic solutions to pest control (e.g., slugs and snails) are also provided.

The second section covers the different types of mulches possible. Inexpensive choices (e.g., newspaper) are contrasted with more expensive varieties (organic mulch made of cocoa). From plastic, to textile, to stone, there are quite a few choices and certain mulches can make or break your garden.

The last section is full of useful how-to information. The basics of laying, spreading, when to mulch, seasonal mulching, and then specific advice for both ornamentals (e.g., roses) and vegetables. This may include a rose pot over a rose for Winter or spreading hay along drain lines in a vegetable garden and then covering completely once the plants have sprouted. Instructions for each type of vegetable, from corn to celery, show the need to know how to best protect or complement each type of plant.

In all, a very thorough book that will help gardeners make the most of their work outdoors – protect, nourish and enhance their gardens.

Reviewed from an ecopy provided by the publisher.

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