Mulching raised beds

Old wheelbarrow full of rotting hay in a field

The hay from the Ornamental Forest Garden could have been gathered sooner but it’s good enough for mulch

Reinvigorated by Ruth Stout’s ‘No Work Garden Book’, I’m back to mulching all the raised beds.

Someone on @GdnBloggers recommended Ruth Stout’s No Work Garden Book, and it has been a true delight, full of little mulching nuggets of practical wisdom. I picked the book up for about £3.20 incl. postage from World of Books but YMMV, as it’s currently selling for £202.58. Pick up an affordable copy when you can.

The essence of the book, an ironically ground-breaking no-dig classic, is mulch everything, with whatever you have to hand. She often uses a hay mulch, which is something Charles Dowding advises against because it can encourage slugs in a damp, UK climate. But as it’s the only mulching material I have at the moment, it will do for now.

Six raised beds mulched with old hay

Raised beds mulched! It’ll be a slugfest but it will do for now

To be honest, there’s only certain plants that need protection from slugs, mostly young beans and squashes & courgettes. I’ll mulch these with garden compost when the plants are young, then switch to a hay mulch from the Makeshift Meadow.

Black and white photo of grass meadow

The Makeshift Meadow in the original forest garden, source of hay for mulching in the summer