This is the first year that I have used mulch on any of the gardens. The beds are now mostly mulched. The initial results are very promising. I acquired the mulch from a neighbor that was using it as fill to build up a bank on his property. The look of this mulch is completely natural with no dyes or additives. There are still pieces of leaves mixed in.
Mulch has covered the beds for just a little over two weeks and already the signs of healthy soil below are beginning. Pill bugs have begun to arrive. There are an ok amount of ants, and no sign so far of aphid farming. When the mulch is pulled back the soil is still moist after a few days without rain, and earthworms are easy to find. Even the plants have taken a better shade of green. I should also note that I used a healthy 1 1/2 to 2 inches of mulch to cover.
Another good side effect of this action is that I have hardly had to pull any weeds so far. There is even one tomato plant that I was sure would bear no fruit that has begun forming fruit.
There is one bed however that could not be fully mulched yet. It has beets and carrots that were too small, and would have been covered.
In this picture you can clearly see the plain soil, already Being compacted from rainfall on the right. In the center bottom you can also see the first path that has been installed. The plants in this bed were started from seed late in the season. They are close to fruit, but are being slowed down a bit due to a cold snap in the last few days.