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Q: Is it possible to plant seeds and mulch at the same time, or should I wait until after the seeds have come up?
—Barb, Worthington, Minnesota
A: Roger Cook replies: If you mulch at the same time you plant seeds, chances are your seeds won't germinate. The mulch can literally smother new seedlings, or keep the soil so cool that the seeds can't germinate. I know it's hard to mulch after the seeds have germinated, but you will have to take your time and carefully mulch around the seedlings.
One solution is to germinate your seeds in flats or six-pack trays. Then you can mulch your beds first, and then, when the seedlings are properly rooted, plant them through the mulch and into the soil.