Mulch is Important

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Bob Bauer
June 11, 2016 (Last Updated: ) | Reading Time: 1 minutes

June 11, 2016

Pine needles, wood chips, and bark are good mulches for your garden pathways because they are slow to break down and keep the mud off your shoes. Straw is enjoyed by all your plants because it draws the earthworms up to feast on it. They till the soil around the roots allowing water an air easy access. The straw shafts are hollow so they retain the ambient air temperature which insulates the ground from the extreme heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter.

The light color of straw reflects sunlight back up onto the underside of the leaves and stems increasing photosynthesis and hindering the success of aphids and mildews. It also "sweetens the soil" by making it less acidic which is what most veggies prefer.

June 11, 2016

A thick coating of mulch can pretty much control hour weed problem too. The weed seeds that germinate under it can't get up to the light and the seeds that blow in on top of it can't get their roots down to the soil.

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June 12, 2016

As the microbes build up in the soil, from the continuous decomposition of layered organic mulches, they begin to form an intimate relationship with the plant roots. Plants can determine how much food they will need to get through the night and request output from the microbes to which they reply (poop).

Plants can "do the math" and microbes can answer root requests.

June 12, 2016

Plants can also detect what type of insect is eating their leaves and make a toxin to repel it. They then communicate this to other plants in the vicinity which in turn begin producing the same toxin in preparation for the insect moving on. Clipping the leaves with a nail clippers does not cause a response from the plant until you wipe the cut with insect saliva.

It's strange that plants which are always in competition for water, sunlight, and nutrients would act in a manner to protect the species.

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