Green Your Garden: The Benefits of Choosing Organic Mulch
Have you ever thought about the chemicals and toxins that may be present in traditional mulch? Not to mention the environmental impact of the production and transportation of this often-unnecessary product of traditional mulch.
Organic mulching can help you avoid these issues while providing numerous benefits for your gardens and wallet. But before I share with you why you should choose organic mulch, let’s discuss a little bit about what mulch is and why you should mulch in the first place.
What is Mulch?
Mulch is a material layer spread over the soil in your garden, around the base of your plants. It can be made from various organic or inorganic materials, including shredded leaves, grass clippings, straw, wood chips, bark, stones, rubber, or even plastic.
The purpose of mulch is to cover and protect the soil and help keep a healthy balance in your soil moisture. It also has several benefits for your plants and garden.
Mulch helps regulate soil temperature and moisture levels, creating a more favorable plant environment. It can also help prevent the growth of weeds and weed seeds and reduce soil erosion by protecting the soil from the elements. It also serves to protect the plant roots in your garden bed. Additionally, as the mulch breaks down over time, it can provide valuable nutrients to the soil (providing the mulch ingredients are not spoiled), improving soil health and supporting plant growth.
Mulch is very beneficial for many reasons and comes in different colors and textures to complement the colors of your plants and flowers. You may be wondering now what are the different types of mulch.
What are the Different Types of Mulch?
There are two main types of mulch: organic and inorganic mulches.
Organic mulch is made from natural materials that break down over time and enrich the soil with nutrients. Some examples include:
Wood mulch (chips and bark)
Made from shredded tree branches and bark, which provide nutrients as they decompose.
Shredded leaves mulch
These can be collected from your yard in the fall and provide nutrients as they decompose. This is a great, free option for the budget conscience if trees in your yard shed in the fall.
Grass clippings as mulch
Grass clippings can be collected while lawn mowing and provide nutrients as they decompose. Grass clippings are another budget-friendly option. All you need to do is save your grass clippings throughout the year and spread them in the spring.
Made from the stalks of cereal grains, which provide a light and airy mulch that decomposes quickly.
Pine needles mulch
Pine needles provide an acidic mulch for acid-loving plants such as blueberries.
Inorganic mulch does not break down and add nutrients to the soil but provides other benefits. Some examples of inorganic mulch include:
Gravel and Rocks as mulch
They provide good drainage and do not decompose, making them a low-maintenance option.
It can be used as a weed barrier and is often used in commercial agriculture.
It is made from recycled tires, which provide a long-lasting mulch that does not decompose.
The choice of mulch depends on your specific gardening needs and personal preferences. Organic mulches are considered more beneficial for soil health, but inorganic mulches can be more durable and low-maintenance. When choosing the type of mulch for your garden, consider your values, needs, and budget.
Why Should I Mulch My Garden?
Mulching your garden offers numerous benefits for your yard, your plants, and their soil. Here are a few reasons why you should mulch your garden:
Mulch helps to retain your soil moisture levels, reducing the need for frequent watering. This is especially important when plants quickly dehydrate during hot and dry weather. Protecting your soil surface to help maintain soil moisture is vital for healthy garden beds.
To help regulate the soil temperature from hot summers and cold winters, mulch insulates the soil, keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Adding mulch to your soil surface helps to protect plant roots from extreme temperature fluctuations.
Mulch is a barrier between the soil and the sun, preventing weed seeds from germinating and growing. This can reduce the time and effort you need to spend weeding your garden and minimize the chances of your weed seeds spreading or reproducing. No one likes weed growth.
As mulch breaks down over time, it provides valuable organic matter and nutrients to the soil, provided the mulch has healthy ingredients to offer. This can improve soil health, leading to healthier plants with stronger root systems.
Mulch helps to prevent soil erosion by reducing the impact of heavy rainfall on the soil surface.
Mulch can add a finished look to your garden, creating an aesthetically appealing look that enhances your landscaping.
Mulching your garden provides numerous benefits that can help your plants grow stronger and healthier while reducing the time and effort you need to spend on maintenance. Suppressing weed growth as an additional benefit will save you time and backaches.
Let’s talk about the cost-effectiveness of organic mulch. While it may seem more expensive upfront, mulch with organic materials breaks down slowly, so you won’t need to replace it as frequently as traditional mulch. Over time, this can save you money and reduce the amount of waste produced.
Making the Switch from Traditional Mulches to Organic Mulches
Switching to organic mulches can also positively impact your garden’s health. Organic mulch is made from natural materials like leaves, grass clippings, and wood chips, which break down over time and provide valuable nutrients to your soil. Traditional mulch, on the other hand, can contain harmful chemicals to your plants and soil.
Additionally, switching to organic mulches will reduce the water your garden needs by retaining moisture in the soil. This not only saves water, but it can also help lower your water bill.
By mulching with organic materials, you can also positively impact the environment. Traditional mulch production requires resources like oil, gas, and electricity, and the transportation of the product can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. By choosing organic and sourcing from a local supplier, you can reduce your carbon footprint and make a small contribution to the planet’s health. If enough small contributions are made, that is one big positive impact on our earth.
Best Suppliers for Organic Mulches Made in the USA
Below are five suggested brands that create and sell organic mulches for your gardening needs. All brands are made in the USA as an encouragement to support local businesses and minimize your carbon footprint in mulching your garden.
EcoScraps by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
Caring for the earth simply and sustainably. Ecoscraps organic soils made from composted foods. This company produces mulch from food waste, which helps reduce waste in landfills and provides valuable nutrients to your garden.
Florimulch by Big Earth Supply
FloriMulch is made from melaleuca trees, a tree that grows in the Everglades but is highly invasive, so removing them is helpful to the environment. It is resistant to termites.
Soil Pep by Mountain West
This company produces mulch made from a blend of composted leaves, grass, and wood chips, which is nutrient-rich and great for improving soil health.
The founders of Penick Organics are on a mission to empower gardeners by creating products that simplify their plant-growing experience. They make soils that plants love and will thrive in. Their goal is to make gardening easy so that families can have fun and enjoy their gardening experiences more. They do everything from premium potting mixes to garden planting and grower mixes! They sell soil in bulk or bags to retailers, growers, and landscapers in the Southeastern United States. At Penick, they make Southern soil for Southern gardening!
Gardner’s Supply Company
They believe gardening nourishes the body, elevates the spirit, builds community, and improves the world. This company produces mulch made from a blend of coconut coir, perlite, and worm castings, which is great for retaining moisture and improving soil structure.
Remember to choose an organic mulch appropriate for your specific gardening needs and consider factors such as cost, availability, and environmental impact when making your decision.
Switching to organic mulch is a win-win for our wallets and the planet. By choosing natural materials over chemicals and toxins, we can save money, improve the health of our gardens, and reduce our environmental impact. So why not make the switch today? Your garden, your wallet, and the planet will thank you!