Thursday, March 9, 2017

Why Hemp Mulch is Better for Vegetable Gardens

By Katy Garton


Organic mulch has been used on gardens for centuries to create a better growing environment by improving soil fertility. There are different types of organic matter that can be used, such as straw, shredded leaves and manure. However, there is a new competitor that is blowing away traditional mulches – hemp mulch.
No carryover herbicides or insecticides
Mulch can contain chemicals from its origin. Unless you are using mulch that has come from your own property, it is hard to know if there is residue of herbicides or insecticides in mulch. Hemp mulch is made from stalks of the industrial hemp plant. Hemp plants have a unique ability to consume and destroy weeds wherever they grow. Therefore, the use of herbicides during growth is unnecessary. Hemp is also naturally resistant to most insects, eliminating the need for pesticides in growing crops.   
Hemp is naturally biodegradable
Biodegradable simply means to be consumed by microorganisms. Not only does hemp mulch return to the soil as a natural source, but it adds humus to the soil. This process influences the bulk density of soil and contributes to moisture and nutrient retention. The pH neutral characteristics of hemp create a soil-rich base for future crops. Earthworms are drawn to the micro-organisms and biota properties of hemp mulch, while predators such as snails and slugs will shy away.
Weather Resistant
Hemp mulch creates a barrier against heat and cold, encouraging young plants to grow. The surface of hemp mulch generally stays drier than other types of mulch, which aids against frost damage. Because of lignin and pectin content, hemp mulch better protects plants against wind damage. Four to nine months is the average time span that hemp mulch remains durable against certain weather conditions.
Ease of Use
While some types of mulch are brittle and sharp, hemp mulch is soft and easy to pour and sprinkle around existing plants and along garden edges. This property allows more controlled digging and planting. Hemp mulch is 50% more absorbent than other types of mulch and will degrade faster, making fall clean-up a breeze.
Aesthetic Appearance
Hemp mulch makes a pleasing display of crops or container gardens. However, it is very accepting to other forms of mulch if you wish to change the appearance. Because hemp mulch does not cake or crust under moisture, an even distributed look remains intact throughout the growing months.
While growing hemp for mulch is still in its infancy in the States, countries like Romania, Tasmania and New Zealand are actively growing quality, unspoiled crops of industrial hemp for mulch. Hemp suppliers in Australia, Canada and the United States offer organic mulch made from hemp as a superior alternative to other types of mulch.

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