Your Mulch Primer For Fun Gardening

Your Mulch Primer For Fun Gardening



I am by no means an avid gardener. Though my parents had green thumbs and met while working at a seed company, I must not have spent too much time with them in the garden. Still, everyone who owns a home has a garden and taking care of it is essential to how well your home looks.

I just wish I could say some nice things about my gardens.

One area that I’ve been exploring lately is mulch particularly after having trimmed back the plants in my side garden and then realized that I’d soon have to do a lot of weeding to keep it looking nice. Besides, we just came out of a drought and I want to find ways to retain water every time that it rains.

Organic v. Inorganic

Many homeowners make the weekend trek their local hardware store or home center to buy their mulch, coming away with bags of stuff that is either organic or inorganic. Never mind the various colored stones you can also buy: there are dozens of choices when it comes to picking the right mulch.

Before you run off to the store, you may have a ready supply of mulch in your yard. Though my yard is full of hard wood trees, one neighbor’s yard is filled with pine trees and I get my share of pine needles on a regular basis. Though I hadn’t thought about it, friends have convinced me that pine needles are the way to go, therefore I saved a trip and a whole lot of money.

Natural v. Unnatural

Some of the other “natural” choices you may already have on hand include: manure, compost, straw, paper, and grass clippings. Unnatural or manmade mulch can include: newspapers, fiberglass, wood chips, asphalt, and aluminum foil.

I don’t know about you, but putting anything in my garden that isn’t natural seems a bit odd especially if you’re growing vegetables. I haven’t seen any evidence of creating a toxic mixture by using aluminum foil in my tomato garden, but that isn’t one experiment I’m willing to try. Ultimately, I want something that releases nutrients as it decomposes.

How To Order Mulch

If you do need to buy mulch, you can also order it and have it delivered to your home. Certainly not the cheapest option, but it could be the most efficient. Unless you have the right kind of vehicle to haul bag after bag, you could end up wasting gas and expending more time than you needed going back and forth between your home and store.

Should you decide to order mulch, you will order by the cubic feet. To get the right amount of mulch, multiply the length and width of your garden by the depth of mulch. For example, if your garden is 12×10 (120) and you want three inches of mulch, then your number would be 360. Divide that number by 3 and you’ll need to order 120 cubic feet of mulch.

Once your mulch is in place, you’ll have a garden that is healthier, distributes water more evenly, and is essentially weed free. Not a bad mulch primer from a brown thumb, eh?

Further Reading

Guide to Selecting a Garden Mulch

Ideas For the Exterior Home


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Categories: Home Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".