Is it okay if I use pieces of cardboard from old boxes to mulch around plant beds? Just wondering if this would restrict oxygen and water from the soil.
Cardboard is being used more and more often as an ingredient in bio-efficient composting mulch. This article provides more information: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/sheet-mulching-in-gardens.htm
I mulch between garden plants with grass clippings. Last year I saw some large white grubs in the garden. They were easily over an inch long and about 1/2 inch in diameter. I also saw holes of the same diameter on the soil surface, and assumed these were from the grubs. I saw small clumps of fresh grass clippings pulled down into these holes. Do grubs do this? If so, what kind are they, and do they do any harm to garden plants or the lawn? Thanks for any info.
This article should help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/lawn-grubs-how-to-get-rid-of-grub-worms.htm
I heard about mushroom soil. Can that be used as mulch?
Most likley this would be mushroom compost. Here is more information: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/mushroom-compost.htm
Is it best to plant flowers first, then mulch, or mulch first and then plant?
Normally, it is better to plant first and then apply your mulch. However, if you already have mulch in place, you can simply move it away from the planting area, dig your hole, plant and then replace the mulch.
I recently spread a thick layer of pine mulch and now several of my plants look yellow and sickly. Do you think it could be the mulch? I don't know if it was composted or not. Thanks for the help.
I have not heard of pine mulch causing such a reaction. However, if the layer is too thick, it could be choking off the oxygen allowed to get to the soil and, thus, affecting the plants. Also, if the mulch layer is too thick and the soil doesn't drain well, such as heavy clay, it could be holding too much moisture in the root zone, causing the yellowing of the leaves. I have also seen cases where the pine mulch attacted neighborhood dogs to the area, relieving themselves and spraying the plants with their urine. Thus, burning the foliage just enough to turn the leaves yellow before they die off.
Can you plant flower seeds on top of mulch? Will they grow?
Mulch (assuming here that you're talking about organic mulch) does not have the kind of texture that is good for nurturing roots. It's too open and coarse in structure, and not chemically active, and does not retain moisture in the manner that soil does. Of course, there are some very strong plants that grow when their seeds are just sprinkled on top of the mulch -- usually we call them weed. But for most flowers, you need to scrape the mulch aside and plant in the soil. This article has general info and references for mulch: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/mulch/benefits-of-using-mulch.htm
We are in the process of removing a rock bed from in front of our house (along the patio). We are digging this up and the old weed barrier that was there (from previous owners). Once all of this is removed, the trench is about 6-7 inches deep. If I plan on adding flowers and plants to this bed and topping off with a new rock or mulch, how deep should I keep the trench? Should I fill it back to being level with the lawn with dirt and compost? Or should the rock or mulch be a few inches deep?
I would refill the trench with fresh dirt and compost, leaving about an inch or two for the addition of any rock or mulch after planting.