My garden has suffered from lack of water. Upon this problem I have meditated muchly.
Solving it is a hobby -- a creative hobby.
While there was little precipitation and I was on a tight water budget, my garden also suffered from
- too much wind
- too much sun
The winds were unusually vicious and emanating from unfamiliar directions.
While I could shade my plants -- and that's another story altogether -- I wondered if I was mulching as much as I could mulch.
I wondered if there was a limit to mulchology?
Because the weather had been so dry, my supply of grass clippings from local mowing contractors weren't being delivered. I had engineered my garden to be grass-clipping-dependent, and when that supply line collapsed I lost control.
So in desperation I mulched with anything I could get.
Each week I traversed the neighborhood collecting junk mail and threw the rolls of newspapers onto my garden beds. (That's right, the rolls of papers -- I don't flatten them out). I collected banksia pods to scatter on the garden. I gathered tree branches and brush cuttings from wherever I could get them and laid them atop the other materials.
Between the garden beds I laid out rejected wool and cotton cloths I snaffled from the local Op shop.
Among the mulched materials I sprinkled a generous amount of blood and bone and now that the rains have come, I carpeted my beds with fresh helpings of grass clippings.
Now my mulch layer is in places over 6 inches thick. To reach the soil underneath I have to claw through the mix, parting my way through solids -- but this 'mix' is changing and settling in.
This means that when I plant a seedling it lives not only in a hole in the soil, but is surrounded during its infancy by a wall of stuff. A wall of 'junk' and 'rubbish'.
It has its own terrestrial sinkhole address with built in kindergarden protection from wind and hot sun.
I have been experimenting with radical mulching methods for some time (see my Mulching posts here) in order to turn my seaside sand into soil. And each time I 'push the envelope' it seems to work despite my eclectic (one could also say 'desperate') use of materials.
In fact it always works! -- that is without recourse to worrying too much about all the NPK stuff.
I suspect that when you mulch like I do the break down is so casual that I may have lazy time soil ecology working for me.
Since I've started to to lay down all this stuff my garden has changed and taken on a new life.
While I have been inspired by Hugelkultur (my 'logs' are in the main, made from paper) I thought I was a lone nutter until I came upon this piece: Growing food in a mulch pit.
Granted, a garden full of newspapers and rags may not be aesthetically pleasing to the eye but a coat of grass clippings can do wonders to your backyard style.