I discover that many people are frequently confused by the terms Compost and amendments.
Mulch is simply any product placed over the area of the dirt, to both cool down or to heat the dirt and at the same time preserve water. It may be more proper to contact Compost, area Compost. Mulch is commonly used to keep the dirt cool and to preserve water by preventing the water from evaporating out of the dirt. Mulches can easily be organic components like decorative bark, compost or even straw. Mulches can easily also be inorganic like decorative rock, gravel or sand. Amendments are components added into the dirt to improve the physical or chemical make-up of the dirt.
Cooling mulches are very good for vegetable gardens and flowerbeds during hot weather conditions. Mulch helps keeps the dirt cool and evenly moist, which benefits both flowers and vegetables. Cooling mulches include compost, decorative bark (all sizes and types) and even newspaper. Newspaper can easily be a problem because it blows real easy, and the colored papers can easily release ink, which can easily become a problem.
In your vegetable garden, straw can easily also be a good Compost. Straw can easily be spread out during the summer and then removed and composted at the end of summer permitting the dirt to heat up in the fall. Straw or sawdust can easily become a problem if left on the dirt too long. Even on top of the dirt, straw or sawdust will deplete the nitrogen out of the dirt.
Besides preserving water, mulches have other benefits. Mulches can easily both cool down or heat up the dirt. In late spring or early summer we can easily place clear or dark plastic material over our garden beds. Just cut holes in the plastic material to plant your summer vegetables. The plastic material will heat up the dirt and allow vegetable seeds to germinate faster and the plants to improve faster.
As the summer heats up, cover the plastic material with straw or compost or other organic material about three inches deep. This will cool down the dirt during the hot months. When the summer fades into fall remove the organic Compost and expose the plastic material, so the dirt will stay heat and your vegetables continue to improve.
That is an example of how to use mulches in your garden and how to increase your growing season. Even if you do not use the plastic material layer, a cooling Compost in the summer is very important and can easily benefit your garden.
Mulches can easily also prevent weeds by suffocating weed seeds. With three inches of Compost, very few weeds will improve and those that do improve can easily easily be pulled out.