Making your own mulch is an excellent way to save a lot of money in the gardening department. Here are 7 tips on creating mulch with items you can easily find around your house. If you’ve already made your own mulch and would like to share your experience, feel free to do so!
As long as your mulch-holding structure has at least 3 solid walls, it will do just fine. It’s actually much easier to turn organic mulch when there are only 3 walls in place. Having a fourth wall seems to get in the way of the pitch fork or shovel that is used to aerate organic mulch.
Mulch can be made from sawdust, grass clippings, wood bark, shredded cardboard, pieces of newspaper or magazines, or straw. Layering a variety of substances will provide different nutrients for your plants as the mulch begins to deteriorate. If you are going for aesthetics, then you might want to stick to just one type of mulch.
A number of synthetic materials can be used for mulch as well, but this type of mulch is strictly for suffocating weeds and preventing them from growing at all. Synthetic mulch won’t add any nutrients to the soil, but it also won’t break down as quickly as mulch made from organic matter. Shredded garden hose, rubber tires, or even plastic bags all make excellent synthetic mulch.
Although grass and dried leaves will eventually dry out enough that they will crumble on their own, chopping them into smaller pieces will make the mulch more uniform in size. Running the lawnmower over clippings or leaves a few times is all it takes to create a nice looking pile of mulch.
I’m sure the neighbors are more than willing to allow you to stop by and bag up their newly fallen leaves, collect any grass clippings laying around the yard, or pick up a sack of newspapers that you’ve asked them to save for you.
Using kitchen scraps in your mulch pile will allow you to create a nutrient rich mixture. Dairy and meat products rot and attract wild animals a lot quicker than rotting fruits and veggies. It’s also much better to only use fruit and vegetable scraps when you are making mulch that will be placed around plants, so as to eliminate any nasty smells.
Fresh manure isn’t good for plants because it can cause the temperature of the soil to increase by a great amount. Plants will burn up in the soil where fresh manure is added. It’s a good idea to either purchase manure that has been cured and bagged by a local nursery or obtain manure from a farmer who has aged the manure for at least an entire year.
I hope these 7 tips provide you with the knowledge necessary to successfully make a batch of mulch for your gardening needs. Do you prefer organic or synthetic mulch more?
Top Photo Credit: mael_iosa
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