Mulching is one of the best practices to follow if you’re looking for healthier plants and soil. It can regulate soil moisture while suppressing weeds and bugs.
While mulching over plants is a fairly established practice, new gardeners wonder whether it’s okay to mulch over sown and germinating seeds, and that’s where this guide comes in handy!
Today, I’ll provide you with simple answers to this question along with important tips to follow while mulching your new plants.
The short answer to this question is yes, you can mulch over sown seeds. In fact, mulching over seeds comes with plenty of advantages to the seeds and should increase the chances of your plants growing into healthy and vibrant specimens.
However, the important thing is that you do it the right way to allow your seeds to germinate freely, as too much mulch or using the wrong type can do more harm than good.
In most cases, seeds can grow easily through mulch. However, the success of germination heavily depends on several factors.
For starters, the type of mulch you’re using must be relatively light and airy to let the germinating stem shoot from passing through. Dense mulch with little gaps is not recommended at this stage.
You should also consider the type of seed you’re growing, as some of them are naturally better at growing through obstacles and pushing through a layer of mulch to grow, such as beans and peas.
As previously established, your mulch needs to have low density and provide plenty of gaps for the seeds to grow. The best types that fit the bill are the following options:
- Peat moss
- Shredded leaves and paper (untreated and unbleached)
- Dried grass clippings
- Shredded wood chips
Ideally, the best time to use mulch is during spring, especially through its final weeks. During that time, temperatures start to climb, which makes it harder for the soil to retain moisture.
It’s also during that time that many pests and weeds become active, which makes it more valuable to protect your growing seeds.
Since seeds require stability to grow properly, you should mulch right after sowing them, so you don’t disturb the growing germination later on.
Mulching provides a lot more advantages than keeping your garden neat and tidy. Here’s a quick look at some of the major advantages of mulching over your seeds:
- Mulch helps in retaining soil moisture, which is critical for seed germination and seedling growth, especially if you live in a dry climate.
- Mulching your seeds prevents weeds and pests from competing with the seedlings on nutrients in the soil, giving the plant a better chance of survival.
- By using natural mulch, it’ll break down over time adding more organic matter to the soil, which increases its fertility and encourages healthier growth.
- Mulch provides a layer of insulation that keeps the soil warm in winter and cool in summer, protecting your seedlings from extreme temperatures.
Now that you know more about mulching over seeds, here are some essential points to keep in mind for the best results.
Some seeds require extra exposure to sunlight to grow. In that case, you should allow them to germinate before adding your mulch. This includes seeds like Begonia, Ficus, Antirrhinum, and Achillea.
In hot and dry climates, mulch thickness should be increased by around 1/4 to 1/2 inch to help retain moisture in the soil.
However, as temperatures cool down, you should reduce mulch thickness to help the seeds germinate freely.
This marks the end of today’s guide about mulching over seeds. As you can see, this practice comes with several advantages but you should be careful when choosing the type of mulch.
Make sure that you always pick airy and light mulch to give the seeds a chance to go through the gaps and grow freely.
Once the plant becomes sturdy enough to support itself, you can switch to heavier mulch for further protection against the elements.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.