Stupid question from a newbie

I'm sure this is a stupid question but I don't know the answer (I don't even know if it matters). I'm creating my first flower garden and intend on using mulch, but I don't know in which order I should do things. I am assuming I would plant first, water, then mulch...right? I am using seeds as well as partially grown plants. Do I wait for the seedlings to sprout a little before adding the mulch or will they just grow through the mulch as they sprout?
I know I'll learn a lot through trial and error, but I'd like to start off on the right foot at least ;)
Thanks for any help!
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Some folks like Ruth Stout said Mulch heavy and plant . I'd say try various ways and learn by your mistakes.
One summer here it was real dry and I went with heavy mulch. However the next year was very wet. A given with water is you can add it but you can't take it away. So I'd err on the light side even as I am watering new plants and a few favorites as we had a VERY DRY March.
Speak with neighbors the best source of info and if lucky cheap entertainment !
Bill
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there are no stupid questions. turn the soils, sow the seeds, plant the plants. Gently water. then mulch around the plants until the seedlings sprout and you can see who's who and after they attain a good height, then mulch around THEM. some seeds need sunlight to germinate, and not knowing what you're sowing I can't advise you on that too well. madgardener
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Where you start with plants, mulch first, plant second. Reason: mulching around plants takes a lot of time. Digging through mulch to plant, is a lot less work.
Where you start with small seeds, scratch the soil, plant seeds, keep weeding until plants are much taller than the mulch depth, then mulch. Mind you, I always lose a few when I mulch small plants afterwards.
When you start with large seeds (bulbs, potatoes, peas, beans), mulch first, or plant them and then mulch before they emerge. they will generally be able to push through mulch twice as thick as the seed length, unless it is matted. Grass clippings and certain deciduous leaves tend to mat.
Finally, the technique I use with medium seeds (such as beets or chard). I make my own seedless soil by sifting compost, I dig a hole through the mulch, I fill the hole with the sifted compost, and plant in there. You could do the same with storebought soil instead of compost.
As you can see I will do anything rather than go without mulch. The only thing I really seed directly on bare soil are certain small greens, lettuce and carrots, and even then I try to have clear plastic on the bed for a couple of weeks so as to make some weed seeds come up. If I plant perennial flowers (say, daisies), I always use the sifted compost technique. With weeds, it is easy to lose control.
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Hey everyone, thanks for all the informative replies. I do appreciate the help!
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Apply your mulch after all seeds and plants have grown 6".
Why do you need to mulch annuals?
Derryl snipped-for-privacy@shaw.ca

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You don't NEED to mulch annuals, but it's often a good practice.
By blocking sunlight mulch stops weed seeds from developing into plants. You save a lot of time weeding. It also helps reduce the rate of evaporation from the soil.
On the negative side, it stops extremely light showers from reaching the soil. I do not think mulch is as attractive as bare soil so I don't use it among flowers.

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I usually don't use the bag attachment on my mower, but sometimes I'll collect some clippings to sprinkle a 1" layer around plants. If I sprinkle it loosely, it doesn't turn into mush, and it quickly browns & blends in nicely.

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And there we have it! Joe 2-pack has spoken. (They usually can't count to 6)

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Oh....and when I say "stupid", it's not a personal attack. It's a fact.

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