- Describe the benefits of mulching
- Identify various types of mulch
Mulching is one of those couldn’t-be-simpler strategies employed by many seasoned gardeners. Mulch can be wood or bark chips, grass clippings, straw, or even one of the many synthetic plastic covers used on raised beds or rows. Many forms of mulch would be considered waste otherwise.
Mulching helps to control weeds, retain moisture in the soil, provide a happy environment for the microorganisms, regulate soil temperature, and so much more. It’s a gardening technique that makes the process easier on the farmer and more efficient for the plants.
Urban gardeners, small scale farmers, and most people with a green thumb are always looking for ways to cut costs and control inputs. And why not. The costs to grow anything at scale can become prohibitive so finding ways to spend less on inputs like water or reduce the cost of human capital on activities like weeding can make the effort so much more enjoyable and affordable.
Mulching is one of those tactics that is deceivingly simple and valuable. Knowing how to mulch effectively in a variety of garden situations can really affect the bottom line.
Teach the Teacher
Tools & Materials
- Raised planters
- Moisture retention
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson with an overview of the various types of mulch. Explain the impact that mulch has on the soil and on the plants.
Activity (20 minutes)
Demonstrate the process for mulching the raised planters. Then assign a small group of Students to each raised planter and have them mulch a section or the entire planter.
Discussion (10 minutes)
What will mulching do to help our plants? How will it affect the soil conditions? What do you think is the most important function that mulching provides? Name different types of mulch.
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you have ever used mulch before?
- Now that you have explored mulching, how many of you could explain the process to someone else?
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