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Summertime mulching and the living is easy

Summertime mulching and the living is easy

Gibsons Recycling Centre (GRC) repurposes glass by turning it into tumbled glass ‘sand’ for use as mulch, as a growing medium, or as an aggregate. The tumbling process removes sharp edges, and is safe to walk on barefoot. Coarse sand or tumbled glass can be used as a growing medium to enhance drainage for herbs and Mediterranean plants, or as a decorative mulch for weed control. The demonstration project shown above uses clear glass; brown and green tumbled glass is also available.    Photo Gibsons Recycling Centre.

Heather Jeal,
Contributing Writer

Whether the choice is bark, sand or tumbled glass, mulch is a powerhouse that immediately gives the garden a professional finish while providing weed control, moisture retention, and soil enhancement.

For any gardener wishing for more time to enjoy the fruits of their labours – and less labour to create the fruits – investing in mulch pays dividends. Whether the choice is bark, sand, or tumbled glass mulch, this powerhouse immediately gives the garden a professional finish and then continues to provide weed control, moisture retention and soil enhancement while the gardener relaxes with a cool drink.

A thick layer of bark mulch enriches the soil while it suppresses weeds and helps retain consistent soil moisture. Bark mulch is best applied in a thick layer in early spring around plants that like moist, humid soil.

As it breaks down, bark mulch improves the soil’s structure (tilth) and content by adding minerals and essential plant elements. The improved tilth also helps plants absorb the nutrients and moisture.

Bark mulch inhibits weed growth by eliminating light on the soil between cultivated plants, in areas where weeds might happily take root. By covering over the soil, airborne weed seeds can only root in the superficial layer of mulch, and can be quickly and easily removed if they do sprout.

Bark mulch should be applied in a deep layer, between three to five inches, for maximum effect.

In the semiarid region of northwest China, mulching with coarse sand has been an indigenous farming technique for over 300 years. Sand or tumbled glass mulch reflects and intensifies sunlight on the plants it surrounds, and improves drainage. It is excellent for use in herb beds and around Mediterranean and other plants requiring well-drained soil. Coarse (mason’s) sand or tumbled glass mulch can be worked into the soil to enhance drainage, then a further layer can be added to improve soil warmth and garden appearance.

Just as with bark mulch, using sand or tumbled glass improves soil productivity, reduces evaporation and runoff, improves filtration and soil temperature, and enhances soil fertility.

Knowledgeable garden centre staff or a professional bark mulch service can help determine the amount of mulch required to cover any measured area to the most effective depth.

As the summer heats up, lay on the mulch – and then hit the hammock, relax, and enjoy a stress-free garden.


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