Monday, November 21, 2016

Myth or Fact: Bare Soil Before Winter

"Should my soil be clean and bare, so it can breathe over winter?"


A thin layer of mulch over your garden beds will help keep the soil alive and well in the cold winter months. Bare soil is dying soil.

Many of us are busy preparing our yards and gardens for winter. We tend to rip everything out of the garden and leave our bare soil to endure the harsh winter ahead. This is not the best thing to do.

Mulch is a layer of organics (often wood chips or chopped up plant material from pruning) that will break down over time and help the soil stay alive. Soil can breathe easily through the mulch. A good mulch layer protects the soil from the cold winds that would dry out bare soil and kill soil microbes. Mulch also protects the soil from snow cover during winter, providing warmth and keeping moisture in.

Mulch it up!
The cheapest and easiest way to get mulch is to gather prunings from your garden clean-up, cut them up into 2 - 5 cm pieces, and scatter them over your garden soil to create a protective layer. Smaller pieces will break down more quickly into the soil. You can also use wood chips, but these are often harder to find and will take a while to break down depending on the size. During the gardening season, you can also add grass clippings as a mulch to protect your soil while the garden is in use.

By mulching your soil you will be
  • protecting it from the wind
  • allowing soil microbes to thrive
  • helping the soil to stay moist
Want to learn more?
Image source: Senior Gardening


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