Making Mulch- A Complete Guide

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understanding the steps in making mulch

Whoever does gardening knows that there are a few important elements involved in it. In order to ensure you are doing gardening right, you have to make sure you will be growing plants in a way which ensures that you have a strong and healthy produce. Among the different aspects, it is important to understand the importance of making mulch.

When you create mulch for your garden, you are doing one of the best things possible for the health of your plants. Also making it at home is far better than store-bought mulch. This is because it has all the elements of being organic and sustainable. This is self-sufficient and you don’t need to actually put so much effort into it.

In this article, I am going to be talking in detail as to what is mulch, it’s many benefits, how to make it at home and why is it essential.

So let’s start:

What is Mulch?

organic compost for your garden

Mulch is basically the kind of organic compost which is used to retain the moisture in the soil. You need this so as to suppress the weeds. It is also effective as it keeps the soil cool. Also it works great in preventing frost heaving. This actually happens in winters. Also you will be needing a good layer of mulch to keep the garden bed in an optimum state. The soil base also looks better when you are able to form a mulch layer which gives a strong hold to the soil’s structure.

You also need to focus on how much mulch will you be needing to spread or lay on the surface of the soil as how to cover it properly.

Types of Mulch

Now, when we talk about the kind of mulch to use, know that there are actually quite a few. Let’s look into what consists of organic mulch. This will be including:

  • Barks of different kinds. These can be either shredded or chipped
  • Pine needles are also quite common
  • Grass clippings can also be considered as a good source for mulch
  • People also make use of newspaper as mulch
  • Shredded leaves means you can make use of them in a crushed form
  • Straw is also an essential element that you can make use of

So how does it form into mulch? All this will be combined together and it will decompose. In the process of the same, it will do so much for the structure of your soil. This also helps in giving a major boost to your organic content.

It is important you understand all the ingredients being used in the mulch so as to ensure that it is providing the complete benefit to your gardening needs. Otherwise it can lead to contamination and concerns which you won’t be able to handle.

Step-by-Step Guide to Homemade Mulch

understanding the complete process to mulch goodness

When it comes to gaining the most benefits from your mulch, you should be able to create the mulch in a way which is going to be completely absorbed in your soil and will provide your soil complete benefits.

So now I am going to be talking about the complete step-by-step process through which you can create the best combination of mulch. This includes covering everything from covering the kind of mulch source you will use, how you will be prepping the mulch and how much you should be applying it.

These are a few common steps you should be considering and applying:

Make the Right Choice for Mulch Source

This is a very important step. Most essential one in fact. You need to understand how you will make your mulch. This means determining the different sources and what kind of sections will they be covering. Did you know that you can make use of short term as well as seasonal mulches. Then there are those which are actually longer-term and some people even make use of inorganic sources for mulch but these are not as effective. The material in them is just more accessible.

Among the various kinds, bark is one which is actually very useful. It is highly rich in nutrients. And it is very effective in giving your soil a major boost. Allowing for you to enjoy a garden which is highly productive and clean.

Also you can make use of leaves and pine needles. These are also really good sources but they are actually season specific. So it is hard to find them as readily as you can find the barks material.

However when it comes to realizing the mulch material, compost comes across as the most useful and effective one. It is especially for the reason that it is in itself a major combination of various organic materials which gives it a major boost.

When you make use of a combination of all these, you will be getting highly nutritious mulch which is very benefitting to the soil.  So you need to do your homework and determine the kind of mulch composition you will be needing. Also you have to understand the quantity needed when making mulch.

Collecting Your Materials

Now it comes down to collecting all the materials needed for creating your mulch. As we said, it is possible to create it from using a combination of various sources. The practical way of collection is you will be putting the leaves, lawn clippings as well as pines and other organic material together in a large pile. This includes your compost pile. It works the same way as your home-made plant fertilizers would.

A tip- when here is compost involved, make sure you are adding to that pile early on so that decomposition has taken place in the best level and the compost mixture is readily available for usage. For a compost pile, make sure it is completely moist and you should be turning it around making use of a shovel or even a pitchfork. This will allow you to break the contents of it in a proper and uniform manner.

Converting into Mulch

why making mulch is essential for healthy gardening

So now that everything has been gathered in proper piles, now comes the time when you will be converting it all into mulch. For the same, it is wise to make use of gardening tools like a lawnmower. This is especially true in the case of branches, barks, leaves and shreds.

The key is you want all the material to be broken down in a manner that it can easily convert into a productive and concrete mix. When you are leading the composting, you need to make sure that the compost pile is being mixed and mingled, so that you can use it in its optimum manner.

When it comes to making use this organic mix, understand that that your mulch compost should be ready for usage when it is in a crumbly state. Also when it is of dark brown color. And when it has begun to give off an earthy odor, than that means it is ready for use.

Preparing Ground

Next comes the step when you have to make use of the ground in a proper manner. It is important that you have prepared the ground in advance. One thing you should be careful on is that there is no old mulch in the ground. Also weeding should be properly done in the area. Only then will the effectiveness of the mulch process increase. If you don’t do proper weeding, it will be actually taking out the nutrients which your soil should be readily taking in.

Spreading the Mulch

spreading the mulch in an even layer

Now comes the step where you will spread this mulch in the area. Make sure the mulch is just about 2 inches high. Any higher will not be providing the kind of effective impact you need.

Also try not to over spread the mulch. If you do that, you will be actually killing the trees as well as gardens in a slow manner.

It is also not a wise decision that you pile the mulch so it comes across in the shape of a volcano. This will be harming the trees and your garden, instead of benefitting them. Make sure you are spreading the mulch in a even and thick layer. Just make sure you are not overdoing it.

In some cases, you may even want to opt for inorganic mulching options but it all comes down to what kind of garden are you planning to grow.  It is essential to understand the decomposition mechanism and how you will be needing for these elements to break overtime.


In this article I shared with you all the details that go into making it. It is definitely the better choice as it provides many added benefits. Also allowing you to be in control of your garden. It is not as easy venture but making mulch is one of the most important aspects of your gardening project. I also gave you an insight on the kind of mulch options you can choose from. How are they benefitting and in what ways can you assure your gardening is growing strongly and in a proper, stable manner.

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