|Swans by Norma Boeckler|
Beneath the warm blanket of Jackson Mulch, the soil creatures are still at work, if slowed down by the cold.
The secret to Jackson Mulch is the double layer. If someone puts plain wood mulch on grass, the grass will be suppressed for a time, with crab grass or the lawn bursting through later. Too much solar energy reaches the surface with mulch alone, and the shredded wood mulch turns from absorbing nutrition to letting it go in a most encouraging way - for weeds and grass.
Newspapers block the sunlight and absorb more nutrition at first, besides holding water above the soil and letting air through. When the newspapers overlap and are thick enough, the weeds are held down all summer and the microscopic life becomes abundant.
Two factors contribution to decomposition, feeding plants plants at the roots. One factor is constant moisture. Jackson Mulch is designed to be a giant sponge holding water without harming the plants. The second is warmth, and Jackson Mulch accomplishes that by insulating the soil, keeping the temperatures relatively warm in the winter and never baked dry in the summer.
Mulch is a cafeteria for soil life and therefore a banquet hall for birds. Just now I found cardinals, doves, and a blue jay feasting on the cracked corn on the bare newspapers where the leaves blew off in the wind. I have found bare newspapers to be a good place to put bird food, because the newsprint wicks away the moisture from the drizzle we have been enjoying.
Like all matters of Creation, one improvement improves another. In this case, some warmth is good for the soil. Mulch is an insulating blanket that feed soil creatures, who contribute their own warmth to the mix.
For example, the best way to protect roses in a Minnesota winter is to surround the garden with chicken wire and fill the wire with autumn leaves. This increases the insulation and feeds the roses all winter and in the early spring.
Protecting the plants will protect the birds, and improving the life of birds will improve the life of plants. That is why I enjoy a long drizzly day, sipping fresh coffee and thinking about the work done by God's creatures.
There are three parts to easy, successful gardening:
- Read a lot, but with scepticism.
- Test the claims in the garden.
- Assume the Creator had a plan, one far more complicated that we can comprehend.