By Sage Thee
As the weather begins to cool and the leaves crisp and fall to the ground, we enter my favorite time of year to garden. Specifically, this is the time of year when my grandmother taught me to protect my garden with mulch, covering the soil in a blanket to keep warm through the colder months.
Mulch is perfect for those of us who do not have the forbearance for composting because its ingredients do not take several months to prepare, and it is simply spread on top of the soil rather than tilled. Mulch works as a protective barrier on top of the ground, like a blanket, and it helps suppress weeds, retain moisture, insulate the soil during cold weather, and reduce erosion from the wind and rain. Mulch also improves soil quality by enriching the dirt with nutrients as it breaks down!
You can buy mulch at most any gardening supply shop, but my favorite way is to make my own. My grandmother’s mulch recipe consists of grass clippings, leaves, tea leaves, crushed eggshells (which replenish the soil with calcium as they decompose!), and tree bark to deter weeds and make your flower beds even more lovely.
It inspires me to see my grandmother tend, year after year, to her garden. She pulls weeds and plants bulbs with the same amount of care and love she has shown to all of her children, myself included. Her propensity for reducing waste, and her love of the earth, are some of the things I admire most about her.
Gardening, to me, has always been an act of love. A tradition passed down through my family, protecting your garden for the colder months, fills my heart with warmth.