Miniaturizing Mulch for the Miniature or Fairy Garden
Here is a common question we received from a fellow miniature gardener the other day, “How do I reclaim a garden bed that is full of weeds? Do I use landscape fabric?”
My answer: “I would go the lasagna gardening method. After you weed it out as much as possible, place layers sturdy cardboard down and pile the compost on top it. The cardboard with biodegrade eventually and you’ll be left with a fun, workable garden.
That breathable landscape fabric is a nightmare to work with over the years. We inherited a garden with it and it’s gross – and it’s always there – and it doesn’t work. The weeds will grow on top of it and root into the fabric so when you go to pull the weed, the fabric comes with it. With the lasagna gardening method, you can plant on top of it right away. No waiting. We tried it with our miniature garden, now 5 years old, and layered on top of clay soil and grass. It worked like a charm.”
But, don’t just take only my word on it. Here is a short video by a garden guru based in Ontario, Canada, Doug Green. He has also spent come quality time in the southern United States so he has a great perspective on all things garden. Doug Green, is an author and expert gardener of 40 years. He’s great to follow, we love and appreciate his frankness. His website is huge and chock-full of garden information, photos, and tips for all kinds of gardening.
And here is more information about mulching in miniature in an excerpt from the new best-selling pdf, Sophisticated
Fairy Gardening: Advanced Techniques and Imaginings, about mulching in the miniature garden or fairy garden:
“Mulch is known to be a full-size solution for weed suppression. It works by blocking the sunlight from getting to the soil, preventing annual weed-seeds from germinating and slows down the growth of perennial weeds. However, seeds blown into the garden by the wind or dropped by birds can still germinate on top of the mulch, but can be pulled easily. Examples of organic mulches include bark mulch, compost, grass clippings, pine needles or nutshells. Inorganic mulches, (meaning they don’t break down,) are rocks, pebbles, crushed gravel and crushed glass. If you are creating the fairy garden for children to play in, stay away from the crushed gravel or glass and look for tumbled glass or pebbles instead.
Organic mulch is one that naturally feeds the garden soil, like sifted-bark or compost, you won’t have to clean it up or keep dealing with it when you plant or dig in the garden bed. But you will have to reapply each year at the very least. Here are some miniaturized suggestions for mulch, or rather, suggestions that can be miniaturized.
Bark mulch generally tends to be too coarse for our miniature purpose; it’s chunky mulch that literally doesn’t fit in the miniature fairy garden. The chunkiness of the bark simply overwhelms the miniature scale. If you do use this type of mulch, think about sifting it to get the biggest chunks out using a piece of wire mesh, or by spending a few minutes sorting it by hand if it is for a small fairy garden. For larger areas, consider compost instead. Dress the miniature garden beds with it to make the plants stand out nicely and it will feed the soil and the plants at the same time. “
Like this? Then you’ll love Sophisticated Fairy Gardening: Advanced Techniques and Imaginings, it’s an addendum to our Gardening in Miniature book.
And if you are serious about all things miniature garden? Join us for your free Mini Garden Gazette newsletter published monthly. Sign up here and you’ll get a free pdf once you confirm through your email.