If you have a large area to mulch, check with local landscaping companies about buying mulch in bulk. We did this year for a play area we made for our kids. It was $40 for a bobcat scoop. We got three truckloads, and it made the landscaping project significantly cheaper than if we had hired it out or bought bags of mulch.
By Camilla from Atchison, KS
It seems that every city has their own mulch/techniques/prices. Ours merged with a neighboring community and took all of our grass clippings, twigs, leaves, etc. and tried to sell 2 cu.ft. back to the area for $6.00/bag, with the small print that it also contained HUMAN WASTE SLUDGE which may be extraordinarily rich and may grow great plants, but which NO ONE wants here. Japan has been doing that for hundreds of years collecting their
villagers' "honey pots" each DAY and tossing it onto their food crops. But most Americans, even frugal ones, don't like the idea at all, so it was a bust. The last I heard, they were giving it away, and STILL had a hard time. So many of us were stopping by the local Whole Foods asking for their organic veggie peelings for our composts that they got wise and began making their own "special compost" and SELLING IT, for high prices. I'm getting to the point that I just go with whatever I have. We've had too much rain, so I'm just tossing the thin shreds of compost materials out onto bare soil, covering with a few leaves, then on to the next layer, next week. During the rain, I had to set several bags of my own kitchen wastes out, pending adding to compost. By the time the rains gave us a break, the materials already had the large
fat stubby worms that eat decomposed foods in it.
It was too disgusting and smelly, so I had to toss it all. It's frustrating when you work hard only to have it washed away or to rot before you can recycle it.
Do the math when buying mulch by the bucket, vs. buying by the bag. For the same volume (l x w x h) you might get more and still have the convenience factor when buying bags, especially if you fnd the bags on sale.
This is a good idea....however, 40 bucks a scoop is outrageous! Shop around. I *might* pay 17 bucks a scoop. To save more money on a moderate load (e-4 yards) have a friend with a truck pick it up for you for dinner and beer. Another thing about mulch- only buy the natural hardwood mulch. It looks good for a long time (unlike cedar) it breaks down slowly (unlike pine bark) it's not really "throwable" and you are feeding the soil while you enjoy your garden.
A lot of cities get their mulch from the wood and leaves and trees that the people bring in and then they shred it. Be careful if you get it from the landfill or free. It will have poison ivy, sumac, and poison oak in it. I won't let my husband put it in my beds for I am highly allergic to poison Ivy. I don't like it anyway. It is ugly.
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