If you’re new to gardening and are wondering what mulch is and how it can benefit and beautify your garden, then read on. Utilizing mulch in your garden is a time saver, and by arming yourself with this valuable information you can begin to learn the different types of organic mulch and how they can each contribute to creating a healthier and gorgeous garden!

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  • Two Kinds of Mulch – There are basically two kinds of mulch, organic and inorganic. Organic mulch contains things that were previously alive such as chopped leaves, grass clippings, pine needles, paper, straw, wood chips, sawdust, and shredded bark. Inorganic mulch includes things that are not alive or previously alive such as stones, black plastic, and gravel just to name a few. Both types of mulch help with decreasing the amount of weed growth but organic mulch is the only type that improves the soil over time as it breaks down and deposits nutrients into the soil. Inorganic mulch on the other hand doesn’t break down into the soil. This type is usually much better for insulation and for plants that love heat.
  • Shredded Leaves Mulch – Shredding the fallen leaves on your property results in lovely mulch that’s rich in nutrients for your soil. To shred the leaves you can either use a machine such as a vacuum mulcher, or you can gather the leaves together and run your lawnmower over it to chop them up.  You can even use a shovel to break them up.
  • Chopped Wood and Bark Mulch – If you don’t feel like making your own, you can always buy bags of wood chips and shredded bark at your local gardening store. The wood chips even come in different colors if you like. If you want to make your own, collect the fallen tree limbs from your property and chop them up into small pieces using a saw. If you have a lot of large sticks, you may want to rent a wood chipper for this to make wood mulch.
  • Grass Clippings Mulch – Using your freshly cut grass clippings as mulch is another great option when selecting mulch for your garden. You can either collect your clippings with the help of a rake or you can use a machine such as a vacuum mulcher . When using grass clipping, it’s always a good idea to spread some clippings on your lawn to use as a natural fertilizer.
  • Pine Needles, Straw, and Hay Mulch – Pine needles in your garden make great mulch, allow water to pass through easily to get to the soil and they break down slowly. Straw and hay are good options too if you’re growing a vegetable garden. However, be aware if using hay, make sure it’s weed and seed free or else you’ll create more problems in your garden.
  • The Many Benefits of Mulch – As there are many different types of organic mulch, there are also many benefits to using this stuff.

1.      It helps the soil to retain water, reducing the need to water.
2.      Keeps the soil cool and moist in summer months.
3.      Once the organic mulch breaks down, it releases nutrients into the soil.
4.      Hinders the growth of most weeds.
5.      Promotes earthworm activity which contributes to the nutrients of the soil.
6.      Hinders the freezing and thawing of the soil in the winter months.
7.      Contains the dirt and keeps it from splashing onto the flowers and vegetables.

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Using mulch in your garden is a great addition to your gardening routine. It will save you time on the amount of labor you put forth in your garden. Best of all, the end result will be happier, healthier plants and vegetables.

By Clarissa Sanderson, a lover of aesthetic landscapes and gardening solutions who enjoys writing on the weekends.