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close this book The bio-intensive approach to small-scale household food production
close this folder Crop management
View the document Crop planning
View the document Using the fenceline for planting annual and perennial crops
View the document Companion plant guide chart
View the document Vegetables that can be harvested in less than a month
View the document Shade-tolerant vegetables
View the document Drought-resistant vegetables
View the document Solarization: A weed control technique using sunlight
View the document Watering
View the document Mulching
View the document The role of organic mulches
View the document Some tropical materials for use as mulch
View the document Gardening in dry environments
View the document Water-saving ideas for gardens during dry season
View the document Growing vegetables in saline areas
View the document Lead in urban gardens

The role of organic mulches

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.

The role of organic mulches