Earlier this month I was talking about mulch for the garden as winter approaches. If you are reading this, you have used some form of mulch during your gardening life. However, did you know that there are many other options for organic mulch to explore?
That conversation struck up some lively discussions regarding the costs of gardening, the recession, and some frugal living. In fact, many prolific gardeners have discovered how to make organic mulch for free.
Free organic mulch? Yes. Clippings from your lawn or woody prunings from other plants. Both equally beneficial to your garden. Why throw out or cart to the county dump, that which you can use, reuse, and benefit from?
Many gardeners have taken to spreading out their excess grass clippings across the rest of their yard. If you thinly spread clippings out you won’t even be able to tell that there is an excess on your lawn. The extra grass acts as a mulch by preventing evaporation and slowing weed growth. With this extra water, you won’t have to water nearly as much to keep your grass green.
If your garden needs more of an organic mulch than your lawn, it is not unheard of to rake up all the grass and transport it to your garden. By creating a small layer around the vicinity of the plant, you’ll apply all the same benefits from leaving it in your yard. My yard is rather green on its own, but I often have trouble with my plants staying green and healthy. So, rather than leave the grass clipping in my yard, I move them all around my plants. It is just a matter of choosing what your highest mulching priority is.
Sometimes, our pruning activities will lead us to have an amazing amount of branches and twigs. If this is the case, you should consider borrowing or renting a wood chipper to put all of those branches to use. After one day of intense pruning, you would be surprised at just how many branches you end up with. Rather than throw these away, you can turn them into a huge amount of mulch for your plants. However, if your pruning has not left you with that big of an amount, you should bundle it all up and save it to add onto the next batch. This is because the chipping machines can be slightly expensive to rent, and you want it to be absolutely worth it!
Over time, all organic mulches need to be replenished. This is because they will naturally decompose. Usually you can tell for yourself just by looking at it, but sometimes it can look perfectly fine but still have problems. If you start to notice any poor plant growth whatsoever, you should replace your mulch. Keep in mind that during the process of decomposition, your mulch will use up the valuable nitrogen in the soil. Without nitrogen your plants will be missing a key nutrient. There are several types of fertilizers available on the market that are specifically designed to increase nitrogen.
The use of mulches in the yard and garden is something everyone should try. Not only can it save lots of time by reducing the amount of garbage you have to transport out, but it increases the healthiness and integrity of your plants by putting that so called garbage to good use. So if you think you would be able to save a good amount of branches and twigs for chipping, or if you think that you are ready to stop raking up all your grass clippings, then making organic mulch is for you.