Mulch is important for trapping moisture in areas which experience long periods of dry weather. It is good practice to cover your seedlings with biodegradable mulch in dry areas.
However you can use other forms of mulch.
You can put mulch over grass seed on sloped land, flat land and the like provided it is biodegradable or environmentally friendly.
As an experienced farmer or a newbie gardener, you should incorporate mulching to your routine. Read on to learn more about how to go about it.
Also CHeck: Bag Or Mulch After Overseeding
Can you put mulch over grass seed?
As an effective way to lock in moisture, mulch can help your seedlings have a sustainable water supply. When you combine fertilizer and mulch, you are guaranteed to have seedlings that grow well.
You can use sawdust, shredded paper(non glossy) or light peat moss.
Spreading at least ¼ inch of your chosen mulch is adequate enough for you to use to cover the grass seed.
A biodegradable seed mat is ideal for a sloped area- it won’t slide and it already has its own seed therein.
Polythene as an alternative
Polythene can be used instead of compost and other types of mulch. Ideally, it should be of a different color other than black. This will help keep the soil at a good temperature. Also you should raise the polythene cover as soon as you see the seedlings sprout.
When you notice that it’s a bit too warm outside, raise the polythene mulch to keep the seedlings cool- this also applies to the soil.
Covering grass seed using mulch can greatly reduce the washing away of the seeds when it rains. It also helps them germinate because the soil retains the moisture- a necessary ingredient for seeds to grow.
How to prevent seeds from washing away
You may have a situation where you have already planted your seedlings and you want to water them. The problem is that they keep washing away- heavy rain pour can also contribute to this.
In the event that this happens, you can reduce the amount of seedlings being washed away by applying the following methods:
- Compacting the soil around the seedlings.
This can be done using a lawn roller. Simply add water to it about half full, then roll over the seeds.
- Use organic cover
You can purchase straw from your local gardening store. Cover the seeded lawn with ½ inch of straw, evenly spread.
These two methods are the most effective way to prevent your seedlings from being washed away. The main aim here is to reduce the chances of your seeds being wasted by the elements or man made interference.
What to do when your seeds begin to sprout
You have done the work of preventing seeds from being washed away. Now when you notice that they have taken root by sprouting, it is time for you to make more adjustments for them to grow properly.
Most seeds don’t need light to germinate however, they need it to keep growing. Remove the covering placed to reduce the chances of the seeds getting overheated.
Let’s look at some of the measures to take once the seeds begin to sprout:
- Remove covering
It goes without saying that an overheated environment is not good for newly germinated seeds. Therefore, your first action is to remove the covering.
If you were using a humidity dome, the moment you see signs of germination, remove it immediately or your seeds may experience damping.
- Ensure adequate lighting is provided
Your seedlings need light to grow, not to germinate as we mentioned earlier.
If you had your seeds planted indoors, it is time for you to give them direct light outside. Where this isn’t possible due to harsh weather conditions, you can use growing bulbs that act the same way as sunlight. Provide your seeds with enough growing space. When they become taller, raise the height of the growing bulbs accordingly.
- Growing pots and medium
For the health of your seeds and seedlings, you are required to consider repotting your seedlings once they have sprouted.
This ensures that your seedlings have enough room to grow without the risk of competing for the limited resources. A soilless sterile mix with a pH of 6.2 can provide nutrients to your seedlings and seeds. Where you find that the soilless sterile mix is devoid of nutrients, you can add fertilizer.
Do not use soil from the garden from the previous season. It may still contain diseases that may not have died. These are fatal to your seedlings. Older more mature ones may resist the danger but seedlings will not survive.
- Avoid at all costs, excessive moisture
It is ok to keep your seedlings hydrated, the soil well watered. However when you overdo it you risk killing the seedlings in an attempt to keep the moisture intact. The best practice is to use a regular spray bottle at specific times. Keeping the soil well drained will also help reduce the chances of damping.
Damping is a disease that kills the seedlings and seeds due to overwatering.
- Thinning out seeds
This applies when you have limited space to grow your seedlings. You don’t want to overcrowd your garden and have your seedlings compete for space and other resources, so thinning is whereby you reduce the numbers of your seedlings. This will ensure that they all grow well and healthy.
- Hardening your seedlings
Right after sprouting, some seeds thrive in very specific environments. By hardening off the seedlings, you are gradually exposing them to conditions outside of their norm. This makes it easier for you to transplant certain seedlings like carrots and the like.
Benefits of a cloche
What exactly is a cloche or garden cloche? Simply put, it is a plastic or glass cover used to protect plants/ seedlings from the extremities of the environment. These extremities include but are not limited to;
As you can see it is a very important tool to have in your garden. Some cloche have the ability in design, to keep moisture from escaping- very handy in dry weather.
So what are the benefits of having them in your garden?
- You can be assured that no pests will make away with your seedlings. Its design is made to keep away foraging pests that can be quite determined to steal from your garden.
- Extreme weather conditions such as strong winds and bitter cold are a thing of the past when you introduce a cloche into your garden. The covering that is specific to each seedling keeps the harsh elements at bay while still providing your seedlings with what it needs to grow- light and moisture.
- The protection from drought is essential for your seedlings to grow. Lack of water and moisture retention can hinder the growth of your seedlings. The design specific nature of a cloche ensures that the moisture in the soil is retained within it for a prolonged period of time.
A cloche can be made from a plastic bottle that is cut from the bottom and placed facing upwards on top of the seedling.
It is important for you to note that a cloche serves as no guarantee during winter or frost. Secondly you need to be extra careful when using a cloche for your seedlings. You are creating a greenhouse effect and this needs care.
Consider how you will water your seedlings with a cloche cover. Do you remove it at the risk of releasing all the heat you had created?
How will you determine the size of the cloche to use- is it a one size fits all scenario?
Moreover, what kind of plants can be grown using a cloche?
The above concerns are valid and should be taken into consideration before you use a cloche.
For instance you can make a small hole at the base of the cloche to help you water your seedlings without drenching the leaves with water.
Another tip is that you can get a larger size bottle to use as a cloche cover when you have a bigger plant.
When it comes to frost, you can add a blanket on top of the cloche during really cold nights- again no guarantees here, but it’s a fighting chance as you get a sustainable solution.
A cloche creates greenhouse effects on the seedlings and so overheating can occur when you do not monitor the weather. When you notice it is a bit too warm, go ahead and remove the cover just until it becomes cooler. Keep in mind the moisture levels of the soil are realistically kept at a constant.
To some degree, gardening practices were derived from trial and error and for the most part as a newbie gardener you should be ready to make mistakes: to some extent. With the knowledge you gain over time you will find your rhythm and come up with your own anecdote.
Seedlings require just as much attention as the seed itself. From the planting to the sprouting stages, all are necessary for the successful harvest or outcome.
Always do your best to keep learning new and updated technologies to help you in your gardening journey.