How to Make Mulch
First of all, some of you may be wondering “What is Mulch?”
Mulch is a layer of ground/chopped up plant material, like grass clippings, chipped wood, tree trimmings and/or leaves applied to the top of soil. It’s like an organic “blanket”. Mulch is excellent for conditioning soil and moisture retention.
Mulch becomes compost after it decomposes. Compost happens to be the best fertilizer available next to worm castings. Manure like cow, steer, worm and bat are also very good but you have to buy these. Mulch is free.
So how do we make mulch?
The absolute easiest way to make mulch is with grass clippings. It’s also the cheapest…basically free. I grow grass and weeds in my back yard for the sole purpose of creating mulch for my garden and yard. I used to pull out the weeds in my backyard but now I let them grow and then mow them down to make mulch. Weeds grow really fast.
Best Mulch Materials
- Grass clippings
- Chopped up branches or bush clippings
- Wood chips
- Straw or hay
- Cardboard or newspapers
- Coconut Coir
If you don’t have any materials to create your own mulch, you can usually get wood chips from any landscaping company, free. I found 2 in Phoenix, Arizona that will give away free wood chips and tree trimmings free if you bag it yourself. They also offer the option to buy a truck load for $80. That’s pretty cheap!
Before mowing…or pre-mulch.
Here is a small pile of grass/weed mulch after mowing my backyard with an electric lawn mower.
My backyard used to be dirt because I would pull out every weed that grew. It was an endless chore. Now I water them and let them grow. They make excellent mulch/compost when mowed down. I’m also growing Bermuda grass too. Hopefully the grass will spread over most of my backyard. It also grows fast and makes great mulch/compost.
You can make mulch from just about any plant material except fruit. The best is leaves, grass, weeds and tree trimmings though.
Why Use Mulch?
Mulch is a great soil conditioner. It decomposes and turns into compost which is a great fertilizer with lots of nitrogen. Mulch also reduces water evaporation from the soil which means plants will get more water for a longer period of time. Mulch helps prevent soil from drying out. You have to water less when you cover the soil with mulch.
Here’s another bonus that I discovered recently. If you want to start a vegetable garden from seeds then Mulch is the secret. I tried planting seeds in Jiffy Peat Pots without success. They dried out very fast even though I watered them everyday. So I planted some watermelon seeds in my garden and covered the area with grass mulch. I watered every other day. 7 days later I had watermelon sprouts. It’s like magic.
One more benefit is weed prevention. Mulch will reduce the number of weeds that will grow in any area. So how does it do this? Mulch not only prevents weed seeds from growing but also will kill adult weeds or grass. Weed seeds germinate and then start to sprout but a layer of mulch will prevent the sprouts from getting sunlight and will die. If you cover grass or weeds with a thick layer of mulch they will die and decompose.
How to Use Mulch
Mulch is simple to use. You just spread it over garden soil in a 2-4″ thick layer. Now water as you normally would but only when the soil under the mulch is dry. Mulch will eventually decompose into the soil so you’ll have to add more as the layer gets thinner.
For weed control only and not in a garden or area where you are growing plants, just spread any type of mulch over the soil. You don’t have to water or do anything but pluck the occasional weed. You will see that weeds will just not sprout up and existing weeds start to die. Over time you will have less and less weeds in the mulched areas.
Another thing I learned about Mulching….Cedar Mulch is great for weed control and BUG CONTROL. That’s right Cedar has a sap that is toxic to bugs. I mulched the perimeter of my house with Cedar Mulch. The cricket population around my house almost disappeared entirely for the past 4 years in a row. And yes, the weeds have just about disappeared too. Try Cedar Mulch.
Cedar Mulch around the house in the backyard stopped weeds and reduced the cricket population drastically.