There is one thing that above all else has helped us in the creation of our garden over the past few years. Mulch. It is the single most effective way to eliminate competition from grass and other unwanted plants when young trees and shrubs are developing. It also helps to keep the soil moist in dry spells and many types of mulch feed the soil as they break down. Our aim is to create a forest garden, a place with many useful trees, shrubs, groundcovers and vines growing together, mimicking natural woodland. As the years progress the need for mulching will be less and less. The natural leaf litter and the shade cast by the growing plants will eliminate the need for most types of mulch. But for now it is essential.