We will have 3 yards of mushroom compost delivered this week. When I begin filling my first wheelbarrow, I will think about the mulching techniques I have learned from many and various
gardeners over the past 10 years...
What I have learned so far:
1. This is a lot of work! So make it count for double the time & money: add nutrients while you mulch.
2. Apply it 2-3 inches deep to suppress weeds for the growing season. You still may get some, but usually they are easier to pull out of the loose mulch than the firm soil.
3. Make sure to leave your plants some wiggle room. Apply the mulch deeply, but leave it at least one inch away from the crown of the plant. Leave 2-3 inches of space all around tree trunks.
4. Do not apply hot compost (meaning mushroom compost or other nutrient rich sources) to woodland (e.g. ferns) or silver-leaved plants (lavender).
5. For garden areas in which you want to encourage self-seeding plants, use a garden fork to "tickle in" some compost over those areas. Christopher Lloyd talks all about this in his book Succession Planting for Year-Round Pleasure. He also covers many other aspects of ornamental gardens. (It is my favorite garden book\!)
6. If you are mulching with well-rotted mushroom compost, be sure to save some extra for patching you lawn, topping off your vegetable beds (or containers), and even your ornamental containers.
7. You know you are a real gardener when just thinking of rotted plant and animal material gives you excited butterflies in your stomach... as opposed to the queasiness that most people feel in their stomachs.