Mulch is one of the best soil amendments for any garden. Whether you’re gardening inside your apartment, or outdoors in containers, you should plan to use mulch to take advantage of many soil enrichment and plant grow benefits. It does have some downfalls, but in most cases the benefits outweigh them.
Benefits of Using Mulch for Apartment Gardening
Most experienced gardeners apply mulch once or twice a year to their gardens. Apartment gardeners can benefit from the practice of using mulch in containers or raised beds, such as:
- Mulch is great for retaining moisture in containers
- It adds to the decor of your raised beds or container gardens by giving the soil a finished look
- Plant don’t dry out as fast in containers when you use mulch
- Mulch prevents weeds, especially in raised bed gardens
- You don’t have to water plants as much
- When it decomposes, mulch provides rich nutrients for the soil
- Using mulch keeps the soil temperature even, despite temperature fluctuations indoors and outdoors
- Soil won’t freeze with mulch on top, which is key to perennials
- It stops the roots of some perennials from heaving out of the soil during the winter months
- Mulch is great for attracting earthworms and other organisms that you’ll want in the garden, if you’re gardening outdoors
Organic mulch is the best, because it makes the soil healthy. You can find materials for your mulch in the backyard, if you have access to one. When the landlord cuts the grass, ask for the clippings, or if you normally do it, keep the clippings for mulch. Do the same in the fall when the leaves are on the ground. You don’t want to use fallen leaves or lawn clippings inside your apartment though, because of pests. Instead, consider bark mulch that you can buy at the store. That’s a better option to keep pests our of the apartment, and if you want your indoor garden to look neat and “finished.”
Downfalls of Using Mulch for Apartment Gardening
Many of the downfalls of using mulch have to do with improper use and timing. A few of the pitfalls of using mulch for apartment gardening includes:
- Too much mulch added to a container gardening can stress plants
- Creates an environment for organisms to grow that you may not want in your apartment
- Inorganic mulch does not enrich the soil in any way
- Mulch can slow down seed germination if you don’t apply it at the right time and if the soil is too wet or cool
With a little know-how and practice, you’ll see that the benefits far outweigh the downfalls. You can contact your local Cooperative Extension Office for ideas and solutions that are regional specific, or the nursery where you purchased plants may be able to give specific help on mulching.
When you’re new to gardening, using mulch takes some getting used to. Once you get started though, you’ll use it every year.