The Guardian. Earth To Alys Series- Alys On Mulching In The Veg Garden With Strulch!
Alys on mulching the veg garden It's a good idea to start thinking about mulching the vegetable garden (raised beds and all) particularly around established vegetables. Mulch now, and you'll save on weeding and help conserve moisture. Use something light. I'd advise against bark – unless it's properly rotted down it can cause nitrogen lock-up and it harbours slugs. Straw can be very effective, particularly for conserving moisture, but in a wet summer it will become a slug haven. It does keep your boots nice and clean though. My favourite is grass clippings, they are free and effective. Grass that has just been cut can get hot as it starts to break down (particularly if it has been stored in a plastic green recycling bag). Lay it out in the sun to dry, cool it down and spread it around. It's particularly good for mulching potatoes, squashes, pumpkins and courgettes. As it rots, it will add valuable nitrogen. The next step up is to use Strulch, a mineralised straw product. It's not cheap, but it suppresses weeds incredibly effectively and has a poor capacity to hold water, so rain runs straight through to the soil. Thus the surface stays dry, which helps keep the slugs away. It doesn't rot down for two years or so. It's best used around fruit trees, fruit bushes and perennial vegetables.