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!


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Answer from NGA
October 27, 2009

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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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