How to Mulch: Save Water, Feed the Soil, and Suppress Weeds
By Stu Campbell and Jennifer Kujawski
A Storey BASICS® Title
Paperback, 88 pages
This book from Storey Basics is 88 pages of simple, direct and yet comprehensive text and drawings on the wonderful topic of mulch. For a beginning gardener, it’s got 98% of what you need to know. For an experienced gardener, it’s like a quick refresher course from the local Extension Center.
Even though the book is introductory, I was reminded how much there is to know about this seemingly simple topic. For instance, How to Mulch reviews the importance of using finished compost, explains how mulch can go “sour,” reviews the differences among plastic mulches, and offers the best mulching practices for various vegetables. It also covers the various ways that mulch can pick up molds and fungi, including the house-staining artillery fungus, and what to do about them. For new and advanced gardeners, Part 3 offers best practices for mulching trees, shrubs, roses, perennials, annuals, and various fruit-producing plants.
I read Stu Campbell’s precursors to this little book, The Mulch Book and Mulch It!, many years ago. Indeed, these and Let It Rot! were among my go-to resources for many years.
Stu Campbell passed away in 2008 but his books continue to be read. That why’s this mulching update with Jennifer Kujawski makes a lot of sense.
Who Is It For?
How to Mulch is definitely geared to the novice gardener, but is also a valuable reference for more advanced gardeners.
The book is appropriate for gardeners in all areas of the USA and Canada (and probably in other countries as well).
Though I’ve been a gardener for more than 30 years, I remain in awe of the power of mulch to bring out the best in a landscape. This little book reminded me of some tricks I had forgotten, such as the simplicity and effectiveness of evergreen boughs for winter mulch. (No, they don’t turn the soil acidic.)
Storey might have included some more advanced topics, such as the use of cardboard under mulch as a “smother” for unwanted vegetation and why some object to the use of corrugated cardboard. I would have like to read about coco peat (coir) as mulch, and peat moss. I did not find any of these addressed. I also wished there was more discussion about the problems introduced by landscape fabric and plastic mulch. It would be good to know about biodegradable plastics, as well as other advanced developments. Finally, the book doesn’t have much discussion of edging—the perennial search for separation between grass and mulch.
The book fulfills its aim as a basic text on an invaluable subject, though it lacks some advanced topics. For that reason, I give it “4 shovels.”
Where to Buy
How to Mulch is available on Amazon, as well as through select book stores.
BUY IT HERE >> How to Mulch: Save Water, Feed the Soil, and Suppress Weeds
And now over to you – What’s your favorite new gardening book? Let us know in the comments below.
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