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Marie Iannotti

Time to Mulch the Garden?

By January 31, 2014

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The winter weather in my area has certainly been capricious. One day we're digging our way out the door, a week later it's mudville and then we're treated to face-freezing winds. We have the option of running indoors, but our plants don't. I'd much prefer a thick coating of snow that sticks around for awhile. (Actually I'd much prefer an early spring, but I'm being pragmatic.) All this freezing and thawing is very disruptive to plants that are trying to sleep through winter. If you live in a cold climate, mulching may not be on your list of things to do at this time of year, but you might want to rethink that.

Winter mulching makes sure that the plants you put to bed in the fall don't wake up before they're supposed to. It also helps them conserve whatever water remains in the soil during winter. Winter mulching is about keeping the ground cold, not warm. The hard part is knowing when to do it. For you lucky (ahem) gardeners buried under a foot or two of snow, nature has taken care of that for you. Here are some winter mulching tips for the rest of us.


November 29, 2008 at 10:15 pm
(1) Dennis Salisbury says:

Spot on Marie!
Should put that in capital letters for the desert regions of the world.I live in Roosevelt, Utah where the weather is dry,dry,dry! Saving water is key here, so we mulch like its going out of style. Been here for 17 years and although is isn`t as green, growing flowers and veggies is do-able if we use winter as you have outlined-thanks and keep up the good blogging

December 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm
(2) joe fleissner says:

winter is 4wks in san benito tx.. iwill b setting seedlings &seeds there about joef any place special 4 seed?????

December 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm
(3) gardening says:

OK, Joe, don’t rub it in. There are more and more great seed catalogs every year, but for your area, I can think of 2 of my favorites: High Country Gardens and Annie’s Annuals. Great plants for hot climates, great service, nice people.

March 17, 2013 at 9:43 am
(4) Jason says:

I really hadn’t thought about mulching for winter. I always put new mulch on in the spring. Of course, it’s March and we still have a few inches of snow here in Wisconsin so there’s not much I can do now!

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