Imagine being able to pick fresh lemons, limes and oranges right from your patio! Read more »
Cutting overgrown grasses by more than an inch or two at a time can create unhealthy brown and bald spots in your lawn – or ev... Read more »
Kids are eager gardeners. They love to experiment with colorful flowers, have an adventurous sense of design, and getting dirt... Read more »
Our Shear Ease® Grass Shears include a patented mechanism that prevents the blades from jamming or sticking when you’re trimmin... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
Our Easy-Pour Watering Can offers both capacity and control. The 2.6-gallon volume holds a generous amount of water that is eas... Read more »
Put your crafting skills to work and create a beautiful and unique fascinator that reflects your personal style. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Mosaic tile frames are a beautiful way to display photos. Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Detail Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that p... Read more »
A colorful, roomy bag is just the thing you need to carry all your belongings for a day at the beach. Read more »
Keep the kids busy on a road trip with their own art bag full of inspiration and the essentials. Read more »
This easy pillowcase dress looks adorable with pretty fabrics. Plus, it is super simple to put together, even if you have not... Read more »
Only our Stitcher Scissors provide precision and control that meet the needs of the most demanding sewers and quilters. Micro-T... Read more »
Our Seamstress Scissors are the perfect all-purpose scissors for anyone who cuts fabric frequently. The smooth action of these... Read more »
Choose our Dressmaker Shears for long, smooth cuts through multiple layers of medium to heavy fabrics. Extra-long blades maximi... Read more »
Looking for a sure cure for bored kids - make sparkly sea creatures! Read more »
Open-ended activities like this Busy Book can keep kids occupied in the back seat of a car AND spark fun family conversations! Read more »
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Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
The beautiful mood lighting of lanterns at outdoor gatherings is fabulous, so why not craft up a set to use this summer. Read more »
Treat your children to their own special tent hideaway, then stand back and watch as the fun and adventures begin! Read more »
Make a thoughtful gift for someone this summer! Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Great for beginners, the unique design of this tool makes cutting perfect shapes from fabric a breeze — since you’re not managi... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
To better understand the roles of each in our gardens and landscapes is to realize they share similar properties but ultimately one should not be substituted for the other. Think of mulch as the icing on the cake and compost as the ingredients that make the cake taste so good.
Let me explain why the two play important but separate roles in the garden. Let’s start with a better understanding of what compost is and what it does. Since I like to eat and cook almost as much as I like to garden, that’s why I use the analogy of baking a cake. Lets start with the ingredients. Like sugar, a little goes a long way but it’s oh so important to making the difference between a great dessert and one that might look good but no one wants to eat. Well, compost is the sweetener of garden soil. In practical terms, compost is part of your soil, rather than something that is intended to simply cover it like mulch. No matter what condition you soil is in originally, whether excessively heavy and compact or too loose and sandy, compost always makes it better. When mixed with native soil, it breaks up heavy clay to help it drain better. In sandy soil just the opposite happens. With compost in the mix, water doesn’t drain nearly as fast, giving plant roots a chance to absorb moisture before it’s gone.
Compost is chock full of disease fighting organisms and the essential nutrients your plants need to thrive, without the need to use supplemental fertilizers. If you’re an organic gardener, or simply trying to use fewer chemicals, compost is your answer. In my garden, a half-inch layer worked a few inches into my garden soil twice a year is all I need to keep my plants growing strong all season. A little bit really does go a long way. But in order for it to work its magic, it needs to be where the roots are. If you place compost only on the surface, like mulch, it will help, but to really be effective, it needs to be incorporated where the action is.
In the spirit of our baking analogy, mulch on the other hand is the icing that makes the cake all the better. Just imagine having a choice between a slice of cake without icing and the same cake with icing. Unless you’re counting calories, you’ll go for the frosted cake every time. Well in the garden, you should always add the “frosting”. Although organic mulch, like leaves, shredded bark, or straw, will eventually break down and add important nutrients to your soil, the primary purpose of mulch is for it to cover your soil, to protect it and plant roots growing there from extreme temperatures, retain vital moisture, suppress weeds and soil-born diseases. And like icing, it’s aesthetically pleasing…very pleasing!
In my book, it doesn’t matter what type of mulch you use as long as it’s organic. You’ll never find me using shredded rubber tires for example as a substitute for what nature has to offer. Although it might sound appealing to use something that never breaks down so you don’t have to replace it, that’s exactly why I don’t use artificial mulch. Although it works, anything I put on my soil has to improve what’s in my soil when it eventually breaks down.
So there you have it. With compost, just like you could spread sugar all over the outside of your cake in place of frosting, you really don’t want to do that. It’s better mixed into the batter where every bite counts. And as for mulch, like icing, you want something with a little more bulk that has the staying power to weather whatever comes along. That’s why mulch is typically something that spreads rather easily and stays in place once its down. So for me, the best gardens use compost and mulch. Both are very important but serve different roles. It’s not an either, or…it’s both!