Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Homemade Mulch

The warmth outside today got me out in the garden. What a beautiful day!

I've decided that I will no longer buy mulch in a bag (or bulk bin) for myself. Since I have a small garden, and ample resources at my disposal, I will use what I have to make my own mulch. My aim is to have a good litter layer over my soil. Hopefully this will minimize watering during the heat of the summer and will deter slugs this spring.

Resources at my disposal:
  • evergreen boughs from my winter containers
  • pine cones (Christmas decor extras) collected from various gardens where I work
  • cuttings from my rose and ninebark bushes
  • leaves not yet composted from last fall 

Necessary tools:
Too coarse to add to perennial beds
  • sharp hand pruners (secateurs), loppers if necessary
  • my garden bin
  • time and elbow grease
For now, I've used my winter container material.  These pine and cedar boughs are not overly large, but since I have perennials, I need to break it down to incorporate it into the small space.  So, I've cut it into smaller bits.  Otherwise this size would work great under large evergreens, or in the back of a shrubbery bed. It didn't take long - just half and hour. It was a great way to enjoy the 10 degrees plus today. Spring is coming!
I will have more than enough for my hostas
Slugs attacked my hostas in the darker corners of my little garden, and with this pine and cedar mulch, I think I will be able to keep them at bay. (The pine needles and rough pine bits scratch slugs' skin, hopefully keeping them off my perennials.)  Once I see the Hostas peek out of the ground, I'll scatter about 2 inches of this around so once the leaves emerge, it won't be noticeable.

If you don't want to spread this mulch in the garden, cutting up your garden waste this way accelerates decomposition.  The smaller the bits, the quicker they will become compost. (Evergreen needles have a natural resin that takes longer to decompose, that's why it's a great resource for mulch. However, if you want to compost it quicker, cutting it up speeds up the process.) I used to add all my winter greens into my city yard waste bin, now the leftovers will go on my garden or in the compost bin.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great suggestions! I've got to try pine as my dog loves to eat the bark chips!


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