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!
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
No stupid questions ever.
S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
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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.
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
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.
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
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
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