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Mulching

Using mulch has many benefits. Mulching your garden protects the plants by keeping the soil cool and moist, and also helps the soil conserve water, prevent weed growth, and resist insects. Also, as mulch breaks down, it provides nutrients to your soil for your plants. Dried grass clippings, shredded leaves, pine needles and straw are some mulches that you can gather yourself. Purchased mulches include pine bark, cotton seed hulls, and wood chips.  Avoid mounding the mulch around the base of the plant, as it can lead to disease. You can apply the mulch after plants have been planted in the soil or seedlings established in your garden.