How to Produce Your Mulch
– Make Mulch from Grass Clippings
– Make mulch from ferns
– Use small garden waste as mulch
– Make mulch with Ramial Chipped Wood (RCW)
– Mulch with compost
The benefits of mulching are now well known. The only drawback is that to be effective, mulch must be spread in a thick layer, and commercially available mulches can be expensive. So please don’t buy your mulch, but make it yourself! At the same time, you will recycle your garden waste and provide the earth with beneficial organic matter.
Mulch grass, ferns, small clippings, ramial wood or compost before it matures… We explain step by step how to make mulch.
Make mulch with grass clippings
Grass clippings are an abundant and renewable source of mulch. Here’s how to make mulch from them:
– Use clippings only if the lawn has not been chemically treated.
– Mow before the grasses go to seed.
– Leave the clippings spread out for 2 to 3 days in the sun, for example, on a tarp (or an old sheet).
– Use the resulting mulch in layers of 5 to 10 cm (10 cm only if the grass is very dry). – Never mulch with wet clippings, which would encourage the development of diseases.
Note: this mulch, which is very rich in nitrogen, should not be used on young plants, as it may burn.
Make mulch from ferns
Fern leaves provide a good mulch, are rich in potassium and are free of charge. You can harvest them from your garden or the woods.
Make fern mulch
– Choose ferns without little brown balls under the leaves: these little balls are clusters of fern sporangia or seeds. By picking them, you could unintentionally sow ferns in your garden.
– Cut the fern fronds with pruning shears as they are sharp.
– Roughly cut off any large leaves with pruning shears.
– Spread a layer of ferns at least 10 cm thick at the base of the plants.
Use fern mulch
– Use fern mulch primarily to mulch heathland plants (azalea, rhododendron, hydrangea, camellia, magnolia, piperis…), as the decomposition of fern leaves promotes soil acidity. However, it is not forbidden to mulch other plants with ferns.
– Also, use fern mulch to protect plants from winter cold and frost. It plays an excellent role in regulating soil temperature.
Note: in summer, you can mulch your tomato plants with pieces of fresh fern leaves, which will keep some pests away.
Read also: How to Prepare and Use Fern Slurry
Use small garden waste as mulch
Most small garden waste, which you never know what to do with, can be effectively recycled into mulch.
– Collect the waste in a basket as you harvest dry stems, wilted flowers, dry leaves from perennials, and small shrub prunings: in this case, it is a matter of pruning tiny branches (1 cm). Otherwise, the technique is different (Ramial Fragmented Wood).
– When you have collected enough, spread this waste on a tarpaulin (in the fall, you can mix debris and dead leaves).
– Use the lawnmower to mulch the waste.
– Spread the mulch at the base of your flower beds, rose bushes, shrubs, small fruit trees or in the vegetable garden.
Make a mulch with ramial chipped/fragmented wood (RCW)
RCW is primarily intended to improve soil structure and fertilization. But it is also very suitable for mulching.
– Shred mainly freshly cut hardwood tree branches, ideally with a small diameter of 2 to 4 cm (the most nutrient-rich).
– Mulch and spread the RCW, ideally from late October to mid-March.
Mulch with compost
Compost has many uses, including mulch. Use it as follows:
– Use 3-month-old compost, which is not yet mature.
– Spread it in a 5 to 10 cm layer at the foot of the plants to be mulched.
Materials needed to make a mulch