Mulch - Knowledgebase Question

Chicago, Il
Question by jcatcabr
October 27, 2009
Hello - I live in Chicago and it is now the end of October. About a month ago, I cleaned up my garden and removed most of the existing mulch. Is it a good time to lay some down now in early November or is it too late? If so, do you recommend a certain type of mulch? I didn't know if it was bad for the soil to be so exposed or if it should be covered up. Thank you!

Answer from NGA
October 27, 2009


You can use any organic matter as a mulch material. Compost, aged manure, shredded leaves, etc. can all be used. Right now I'd suggest spreading 3-4 inches of organic mulch over the bare soil to help suppress winter weeds. In the spring you can dig the mulch into the soil, to a depth of 8-10 inches. After preparing your bed in this way, plant your flowers or vegetables and cover over the bare soil between the plants with 2-3 inches of fresh organic matter. Dig this into the soil at the end of the gardening season and cover the bed with a few inches of fresh organic matter to suppress winter weeds. The following spring dig it into the bed and add fresh organic matter. Repeat on an annual basis and in a few years you'll have rich garden loam. Best wishes with your garden!

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