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Green Living

COMPOSTING MULCH FOR GREENER GARDENING

Looking to do a bit of gardening this summer? Try composting mulch for increased results and do the environment a favor at the same time.

Gardening is already a great way to go greener. When you grow your own foods, you eliminate shipping costs and avoid harsh chemicals finding their way into your diet. Make your garden an even greener spot by using your own kitchen scraps. Whether you have a simple herb garden or a full-blown vegetable patch, composting mulch gives you rich soil and lush plants.

How to Mulch

The process of mulching ranges from the very simple to the complex. The cheapest and easiest way to mulch is to designate a spot in your backyard and create a mulch pile. Save your kitchen scraps and coffee grounds and dump them in the mulch pile. Wait it out, and nature takes over. To start composting mulch with a mulch pile, choose a spot that gets an even amount of sunlight and shade, ideally out of the way near the edge of your backyard. Your mulch needs heat, moisture, and wind protection to work at its best. Mulch piles can be a little stinky, so choose a spot as far away from any outdoor gathering area as you can. The mulch pile isn’t ideal for all backyards. You may not have the space, or you may have neighbors who object. 

If you do a bit more gardening than most, or have a larger area to cover, composters are available. These large buckets hold your scraps and break them down into fine mulch faster than the mulch pile method. These machines keep an even temperature to provide an ideal environment for composting mulch with kitchen waste. They are also covered to prevent odor, making them ideal for small or shared backyards. If you live in a shared home or apartment complex, get your neighbors to chip in! Gardening doesn’t have to be a solo activity and neither does composting mulch. The benefits will make themselves known if you all enjoy a dinner together from produce that you all worked on!

For the kitchen, mulching buckets are widely available to help you separate the mulching scraps from the rest within your kitchen. These tiny buckets, often made of ceramic or stainless steel, provide an easy place within reach to store your kitchen scraps until you carry them to your mulching area. Some countertop compost buckets even come with biodegradable bags to reduce the time needed to gather all the scraps. Find these buckets online or in your local health food store and start composting!

What to Mulch

Not all kitchen scraps lend themselves to composting mulch. Meat scraps are not something you want to include. Firstly, they just smell plain rotten after a few hours in the sun. Secondly, they can attract scavengers to your backyard. Vegetable and fruit scraps are ideal. Onion skins, carrot tips, apple cores, and eggshells are a few examples of good mulch materials. Used coffee grounds or loose tea leaves are also great. Just keep an eye on how many coffee grounds you include versus actual vegetable scraps – you don’t want your mulch pile turning into a coffee ground receptacle!

Not everyone has the space for a full-blown garden of fruits and vegetables. Even a small herb garden, nestled in pots on your porch or even a window box, can enhance your meals. Using your own mulch enhances the quality of your produce and cuts down on waste at the same time! The process itself is as simple as separating compost friendly scraps from the rest of your kitchen waste and throwing it in a pile or bin. Enhance your gardening experience this summer by composting mulch!

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