READY TO MULCH: Keep on top of your garden weeds by mulching.
READY TO MULCH: Keep on top of your garden weeds by mulching. Alison Paterson

OPINION: Mulching is magic

AS WE swing straight into summer - because we can't call this hot and windy weather spring - the importance to mulch cannot be underestimated.

Keeping the vegetable garden is a challenge at the best of times thanks the Houdini-like efforts of the Feather Riot (trust me, this a whole other column), but staying on top of retaining moisture and suppressing weeds is vital to making sure all your hard work is not wasted.

On the weekend I spread a couple of bales of sugar cane mulch nice and thick over the vegetables, herbs, fruit trees and other plants to combat the extreme weather.

It's amazing how effective mulch can be in keeping my seedlings going.

The other secret to mulching is not to let it make contact with trunks or stems so water can get through but it won't rot the plant.

Another excellent mulch to use are beneficial insect attracting reacting plant including borage, calendula, marigolds and cornflowers, which are scattered in between all the silverbeet, spinach, pumpkins, beans and peas and the many passion-fruit vines (last count seven).

I figure the less bare earth the less weeding and it fills me wit such joy to see the all the different bees, butterflies and dragonflies flitting about.

While the Lismore Waste Centre is closed I'm having to be more inventive about how to keep up with the mulching as I was good for at least one whacking big trailer-load of that black-gold compost-mulch a month.

Despite having three plastic compost bins and wooden open bin (thanks to the Kiltman who built it from some some scraps of timber left behind bythe previous owners), I seem to go through mulch very quickly.

Of course the Feather Riot contribute through their amazing fertiliser which we run through the bins as well as the used sawdust from their Cluckingham Palace and the straw from their run.

Our soils has a lot of clay and pug which absorb practically everything we throw at it. It can be costly to buy but it's worth every penny.

PS Thank you to everyone who has nominated a great gardener for this column.

We start the profiles next week - keep them coming!