How to Make Your Own Homemade Mulch / PBS-TV’s Garden Rx shows you how to save time and money by making your own homemade mulch and how to use it.
Mulch plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and thriving garden. Not only does it help to retain moisture in the soil, but it also helps to suppress the growth of weeds, regulate soil temperature, and enrich the soil as it decomposes. While there are numerous mulch options available for purchase, making your own homemade mulch is a cost-effective and sustainable alternative. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making your own homemade mulch, as featured on PBS-Tv’s GardenRx.
1. Gather Materials: To make homemade mulch, you will need several materials:- Organic matter: This can include leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, straw, or pine needles.- Gardening tools: A rake, wheelbarrow, and shredder (optional) will make the mulching process easier.- Moisture: If your organic material is dry, you may need to water it down slightly.
2. Choose Your Organic Material: The first step in making homemade mulch is selecting which organic material to use. Leaves, grass clippings, and wood chips are readily available and work well as mulch. They decompose slowly, providing long-lasting benefits to your garden. Pine needles are another excellent option, particularly for acid-loving plants like blueberries or rhododendrons. Straw is a lightweight mulch that works best for vegetable gardens.
3. Preparation: Once you have chosen your organic material, it’s time to prepare it for mulching. Start by raking up leaves or collecting grass clippings. If using wood chips, you may need to shred them into smaller pieces using a shredder. This step is optional, but shredding the material will help with decomposition and create a more uniform mulch. In our video example, we used a weed-wacker in a trash can half full of leaves to make a great mulch.
4. Spread the Mulch: Before spreading the mulch, it’s essential to prepare the area properly. Remove any existing weeds or debris from the garden bed. Ensure the soil is moist but not too wet. This will help the mulch retain moisture and prevent it from drying out too quickly.
Spread the mulch evenly around your plants, creating a layer that is about 2-4 inches thick. Take care not to pile the mulch directly against the plant stems or trunks, as this can lead to rot or disease. Leave a small space around the base of each plant to prevent moisture buildup.
5. Maintain and Reapply:Homemade mulch will decompose over time, providing nutrients to the soil. However, it’s essential to monitor the mulch regularly and replenish it when necessary. Over time, the mulch layer may become thinner, and weeds may start to emerge. Adding a fresh layer of mulch will help suppress weed growth and maintain moisture levels in the soil.
Making your own homemade mulch not only saves money but also allows you to recycle organic materials from your garden and kitchen. By following the steps outlined above, you can create a sustainable and effective mulching solution.