Spring Clean Up and Mulching

28, Mar, 2014 Darrah Cole

One last good raking and a layer of composted mulch is our version of spring cleaning.


Spring clean up with volunteers

This week we have been finishing spring cut backs of the dormant perennials and grasses. We leave these standing throughout the winter to provide both visual interest, habitat for beneficial insects – we found a praying mantis egg sack one day! – and food and nesting material for birds. Now is the perfect time to clear out the last year’s growth, making room for the early bulbs to bloom, and the new foliage to emerge and grow.


A volunteer holds a branch with the Praying Mantis egg sack. We relocated it in the garden after we finished our work.

AHPspray mulching

Blowing mulch into the beds

AHPmulching truck

Everything is trimmed to the ground, raked up and loaded into the truck. We deposit all the biomass and spent plant material into a large bin at our parking lot where it is regularly picked up and composted by a local landscaper. Next we apply a layer of composted mulch, often procured from the same landscaper, over the beds. This is one of those jobs we contract out to a local business – they supply both the right sized equipment and skilled workers. Groundscapes Express does a great job of moving mulch into the garden beds evenly and with minimal mess. The mulch slowly adds nutrients to the soil, retains moisture to reduce water use and, even better, it assists us in our organic weed maintenance by smothering a good portion of annual weed seeds. All this and it looks great too.


Smaller jobs require a more hands on approach