I am always a little taken aback how much of a difference it makes to have a nice fresh layer of mulch over everything. Of course, there are practical benefits to mulching your paths, too. Weed growth is suppressed, boots get less muddy in fall rains, spare weeds and foliage “disappear” in a few days as they dry and rot, bare feet land softly should you need to run out and shush an overly ba-gawky chicken at 6:30 in the morning.
I’ve noticed more and more households are mulching with free tree-clipping wood chips instead of the expensive (and sometimes freakishly colored) cedar bark mulch. I’m guessing the economy has something to do with this. Free costs much less than expensive. My local town used to mulch public garden beds and park areas with purchased compost produced off-site but now they mulch all the larger plantings with wood chips from municipal tree removal.
It’s interesting to observe that, as more people mulch with wood chips, the appearance of this cheap, functional and “ungroomed” option begins to look more respectable, so more people are willing to try it. Which in turn makes it look yet more normal, so even more people try it…and so on. Sort of like urban veggie gardening itself, actually.
What, if anything, do you use to cover up your garden floor, and do you like it?