WHAT IS Mulch?
The earth is made up of several layers. There are more mineral layers and more organic layers. Mulch is the very first layer. As you walk through the forest, mulch is what you see on the ground all around you. It covers the earth and protects it.
There are different types of mulch, and they will work in different ways. It is up to you to study them and choose the one that best suits your situation. But we’re ready to give you a helping hand to start your research.
Mulch is great for supporting the microbial life on your soil. Green mulch is ideal for your plants to feed on “healthy” bacteria. This type of mulch is very attractive to this type of bacteria which consists mainly of dead leaves and insects. It will balance the pH of your soil in a natural way and can improve the assimilation of nutrients by the root zone. Bacteria love a neutral pH.
Brown mulch consists of dead plant material, such as wood chips and straw. This type of mulch does not mix as well with soil, which can be a benefit. Brown mulch is very attractive to fungi, and fungi love acidic environments. Therefore, a balance of mulch is crucial to achieving an ideal pH.
HOW DOES MULCH WORK?
In order to understand how mulch works, we first need to understand a crucial concept: that of a plant’s life cycle. During the period when a plant is alive, it consumes nutrients from the earth in order to develop and keep itself alive. The nutrients are then redistributed in the soil as the plant dies and decomposes. Growing cannabis with the intention of harvesting essentially and forever prevents the return of nutrients to the soil.
So, with the mulch, you will allow the return to the soil of the nutrients that your plants will need. On top of that, you will also be building up an essential layer necessary for maintaining a healthy earth. This extra volume of organic material will keep the soil cool and moist. With the layer of mulch, the water will not evaporate as easily. You’ll also allow the roots to grow closer to the surface than ever before. This area that was previously avoided due to the heat of the drought and its exposure can now be fully explored by the roots of your plants.
USING MULCH FOR Plants
Now that you understand what mulching can do for your plants, let’s learn how to use it correctly for your plants Considering how much the type of mulch can affect the pH, using it improperly could cause more damage than benefit.
During the growth phase, green mulch will be your best option. Raising the pH to a value of 6.7 will help boost the growth of bacteria. This is important for the nutrients intended for the growth of your plants. But don’t overdo it. A good 5 cm of mulch is sufficient. As you move towards the flowering phase, you may want to lower your pH. Making it more acidic, with an ideal pH 6.4, brown mulch will improve the assimilation of micro-nutrients and trace elements. This is exactly what you will need to harvest juicy buds.
Another thing you should be aware of is what is in your mulch. Whether you make your own or buy it from a specialty store, just know that what it contains is what you will end up consuming in your finished product. Stay away from treated or painted wood, as well as anything inorganic.
A PLASTIC MULCH
When we talk about the wolf… There is one exception, it is plastic mulch. It may sound contradictory, but the use of plastic in agriculture is nothing new. It even has a name: plasticulture. You may be familiar with its use in covering greenhouses. It costs much less than glass and can be even more effective. Using a single layer of plastic can provide better thermal insulation.
But when it comes to mulch, the plastic version is simply the act of covering the soil surrounding the plants with plastic. Much like a greenhouse, covering the ground with plastic allows it to retain more moisture. This is made possible by the fact that the plastic acts as a kind of shield protecting the earth from the sun and preventing water from escaping.
Growers will use different colors of plastics for different effects. Black plastic is most often used. Its only interest is to retain a maximum of humidity. Unlike vegetable mulch, as you might expect, plastic mulch does not provide nutrients to your soil. This is not a replacement, but rather a practical solution when your main problem is water retention. If your nutrients and pH are right, you might not want to play with a vegetable mulch and risk messing everything up.