A Guide to Mulching Brassicas

When you start growing your own vegetables, mulches become way more interesting than you might have thought possible. There is almost infinite variety in the way we cover the ground around our plants and a lot to learn when it comes to what the options are and which options might be best for which plants, in the particular climatic and environmental conditions where we live.

By Oregon State University

When you talk to various experienced gardeners, almost every one will have a different option on whether to mulch or not to mulch. Many will also have a tried and tested solution that they will vociferously tell you is by far the best option. The fact of the matter is that you will know better than anyone, after a few seasons, which solutions work in your garden and which do not. There is no substitute for experience and no pleasure more rewarding than really getting to know your own garden.

That said, let us take a look at some of the mulching solutions for brassicas that have done well and which you may wish to implement in your own garden. If, that is, you decide to mulch brassicas at all...

The mulch you will choose from brassicas will depend not only on the characteristics of the plants themselves and the location in which you are growing them, it will also depend on the expected weather conditions. For example, for some places water shortages can be a problem in the summer, while for others, too much water can be the problem! In some gardens, retaining water in the soil will be a massive priority, while for others, weed suppression or pest problems will be a bigger priority.

By Arpent Nourricier

Another thing to consider is the availability of materials. The mulch you use should ideally come from within your garden or from the surrounding area, not be packaged up and transported from the other end of the country. For some, straw or similar may be an abundant resource, for others, seaweed or bracken may be readily available. One of the most common mulches used for brassicas is locally available to most if not all gardeners – grass clippings. Another common mulch – well-rotted manure – will obviously be far easier to obtain for country dwellers rather than city folk. A good home compost will be a good mulch in a number of respects, though of course this will not effectively stop weeds in most cases and can in fact make them worse. (If you have problems with weed seeds in your compost then a good hot composting system could help.) Chicken manure mixed with some compost or other material will also be a good choice for brassicas.

The key thing when mulching brassicas is to remember that brassicas are extremely hungry for nitrogen. Anything that adds nitrogen to the soil will be beneficial to your crops. Grass clippings are great for this reason. Anything rich in nitrogen can be laid around your brassicas, so remember, forget any adamant advice, use what is readily available to you and experiment to see what works best where you live.