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So, how to make mulch? Some try to avoid this at every opportunity but to have a successful garden, you really can’t.
Yes, you can head to the garden center and buy compost but what fun is that. Make your own. It’s really not that hard.
Before you learn how to make it you need to know what it is. What is mulch?
Mulching is the process of covering the ground around a plant with an organic material, such as leaves, straw, grass clippings, or wood chips. This helps to decompose the organic matter and control weeds.
It breaks down as it is exposed to water and microbes in the soil. This releases nitrogen, which aids in plant growth.
Mulch also retains moisture and reduces evaporative loss from water droplets on leaves.
Why Use Mulch?
You may be wondering why I would want to cover my plants with something other than dirt. Well, there are many reasons for using mulch.
The most important reason is protection. Keeping your produce safe from outside influences that could affect its growth.
As a young man growing up on a farm, I was always told that compost is your best friend when you want to grow the best veggies in town.
Here are just a few reasons why you will want to use it.
1. Mulch protects roots from drying out by reducing evaporation.
2. It prevents weed seeds from germinating.
3. It provides nutrients for the plants.
4. Mulch keeps soil temperatures cooler.
5. It controls erosion.
6. It improves air circulation around plants.
7. Mulch insulates plants from cold winds.
8. It adds beauty to the landscape.
9. Mulch is easy to use.
10. It makes mowing easier.
11. Mulch is inexpensive.
12. It is environmentally friendly.
13. It does not harm animals.
14. If you live in a dry climate, mulch will help conserve water.
What’s Needed To Make Mulch At Home?
So, how do you make mulch at home? There are several ways to make mulch. You can purchase bags of composted materials or you can make your own. Better still, all those leaves in your yard are gold to a garden.
There are many different things you can do with your leaves. The good news is that some of them will not require a mulcher.
For example, if you want to make leaf mold, the best thing to do is just lay the leaves out on a tarp or plastic sheet and let them break down. If you want to use your leaves as mulch, there are a few different things you’ll need.
First, you’ll need a leaf shredder or mulcher for home use.
If this is your first time trying to make mulch at home, it might be handy to have some extra bags so that once finished shredding the leaves they can go straight into the bags for storage.
And finally, don’t forget gloves!
How To Make It At Home
Making your own compost is very simple. All you need is some manure, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, and any other organic material you can find.
The more diverse the ingredients, the better the quality of the finished product.
The first step is to collect all of the materials. Then spread them out in one area where they can sit undisturbed for about three weeks.
During this time, the materials begin to break down into a rich, dark brown substance called compost.
Once the compost has been collected, you can add it to your garden beds. Just rake it into the top layer of soil and then tamp it down firmly.
If you are making your own compost, remember to keep it well-mixed so that the microorganisms can continue working.
Make It With Shredded Paper
Another way to make mulch is to use shredded paper. Shredded paper is usually available at office supply stores.
It is important to note that if you shred newspaper, you should consider removing the staples before adding it to your garden bed.
Staple removal can prevent the paper from rotting and leaching chemicals into the soil.
If this sounds like a chore and you’re in a hurry, truth is, shredding newspapers without removing the staples is okay but I’ll leave this up to you.
To make your own mulch, simply tear up the papers into small pieces.
Add them to your garden bed and mix them in thoroughly.
How To Make Mulch With Cardboard Boxes
Another option is to use cardboard boxes. You can cut the bottom off a box and turn it upside down.
Then, fill the inside of the box with your shredded paper. Tamp the paper down firmly and leave the box alone until you are ready to put it back in place.
When you are ready to plant, take the box out of its location and set it upright. Fill the empty space with potting soil and plant your seedlings.
Making Mulch With Old Tires…Really?
In addition to these options, you can use old tires.
Well, to a point. You use the tires as planters more than mulch but there’s plenty of benefits to the plants in doing it this way.
Simply puncture each tire and let it drain completely.
Then, lay the tires flat in your garden bed. When you are ready to plant, fill the tires with potting soil and plant your seedlings.
Remember to always wear gloves when handling tires. They contain rubber compounds that can irritate skin.
Other options include wood chips, straw, hay, sawdust, pine needles and even coffee grounds.
What Should You Avoid Using As Mulch?
Avoid using plastic bags, styrofoam or anything else that could be harmful to plants.
Also, never use animal waste products such as urine, feces, or blood. These substances can cause diseases in plants.
Finally, what kind of mulch do you want? Mulch comes in many different types. Some mulches are designed to protect plants from cold weather while others are meant to hold moisture in the soil. Other mulches serve both purposes.
Some mulches are made from natural materials like leaves, bark, peat moss, and sand. Others are composed of manmade materials like plastic, asphalt shingles, and concrete.
Some mulches are designed to help control weeds. Others are used to suppress pests. Still others are designed to improve drainage.
Whatever type of mulch you choose, just make sure that it is safe for your plants. If you have any questions about what kind of mulch would work best for your garden, use the comments section.