| The bio-intensive approach to small-scale household food production |
Mulches have many beneficial effects upon the soil, plants and area surrounding the plants.
1. They conserve soil moisture by reducing evaporation of water from the soil.
2. They prevent crusting of the soil surface, thus improving absorption and percolation of water to the soil areas where the roots are growing.
3. They maintain a more uniform soil temperature by acting as an insulator that keeps the soil warm during cool spells and cooler during the warm months of the year.
4. They prevent fruits and plants from becoming mud splashed and reduce losses from soil-borne diseases.
5. They reduce weed problems when the mulch material itself is weed-free and is applied deep enough (at least 2.5-cm thick) to prevent weed seed germination or smother existing smaller weeds. Time and labor of weeding is reduced considerably when mulches are used properly.