Easier Gardening With Mulch
I try to have something blooming all season - this is late spring - early summer . .
If you can't find Cedar Mulch locally, you can get it on Amazon
I'm having trouble finding Cedar Mulch locally, so it's good to know that I can get it on Amazon!
Gardening With Cedar Mulch
Back when I thought RoundUp was safe, I used it all over to rid my yard of weeds. But, now that I know better, I have to find other ways to keep weeds under control. Mulch helps keep the moisture in the soil, can repel pests and make the garden more attractive. It also breaks down and revitalizes the soil.
Over the years I've tried various kinds of mulch on my flower beds. One year I used cocoa hulls which gave the whole yard a heavenly chocolate fragrance. After a while, however, a thick white fungus formed on the hulls and it looked like it had snowed in July, or maybe we'd had an alien invasion? I found it pretty and fascinating, my family was not impressed. This was a natural way that cocoa hulls break down, but not so great in your front yard. So, I tried Cypress Mulch, but it's not native to Michigan and is shipped up from Florida or other southern states.This makes it less eco friendly (all that transport emissions, etc.) and I ended up with some strange bugs as well. I'm not fond of the dyed mulch, it's just my personal feeling that dyes are not our friends.
There are other choices. Often the road commission trims trees in the spring and fall and is happy to dump what they their mulch in your yard. One year I asked for some and came home a few days later to find a mountain of mulch covering my front lawn! It took me all summer to haul it to my various flower beds and even the vegetable garden. I never did use all of it and we had a dead spot where it had been for a year afterward. Also, there were carpenter ants in that load! Not to mention several other creepy crawlers that may be beneficial to my garden but not my nervous system. Oh, and since Poison Ivy climbs up trees, there's a good chance you'll have that lurking in there too.
Finally, I decided to spend the extra money and purchase cedar mulch and it is wonderful. It is an easily renewable resource and has a wonderful scent. It builds up the nutrients in the soil as it breaks down. But best of all, just like a cedar storage closet or cedar chest, it repels insects! It also seems to repel our 'porch cats' (strays people drop off here because we live in the country.) They don't use that area for a cat pan. After using Cedar, I have far fewer issues with slugs (who don't like to crawl over it) and other garden pests. Beneficial critters, like earthworms thrive under it as they are harder for predators to detect.
Cedar mulch is great for starting a new flower bed or expanding an established one. Place a layer of eight sheets of newspaper over the surface you'd like to convert (from lawn, to veggie garden, etc) Next, top it with four inches of cedar mulch. By spring the soil is ready to till and no weeds or lawn to dig out.
Cedar mulch is finely ground up and shredded. Cedar bark (or chips) are large pieces about an inch or two square. Bark is great for making paths in your yard, use the newspaper/bark method there as well. You can use it as mulch too, but the "mulched' cedar seems to work better for me
You can have a landscape supply place deliver several yards to your home. A 'yard' is a 3x3x3 foot piles or 'square'. Some supply places dump it where you tell them, but sometimes it ends up filling your driveway, so be specific about where you want it.
I'm a lazy gardener so buy the cedar mulch and bark in bags and buy only a few at a time so I can apply them as I need them. I've learned that one bag covers a path just slightly larder than the size of the bag, so I lay down the newspaper, slit the end of the bag and just dump it out.
I lay the bags where I want the mulch to end up, then slice the bags open in a large 'X" on the top and simply spread the mulch out from the center. This way, the plastic remains under it for another layer of weed reduction and it's a heck of a lot easier than opening the bags at the end and trying to 'shake' it out.
Cedar mulch (and bark) is wonderful stuff for your garden. It costs a little more, but is well worth it!