Homemade mulch

Since we’re renting, we don’t want to spend buckets on lovely, fresh mulch for someone else’s yard every time we move. But my husband loves the nice, neat look of it. So we improvise…

In Norfolk, we ran the lawn mower over the billions of leaves that fell from the trees. (Learned that lesson. Won’t be renting in a yard of lush trees for a while. While my husband happily sails out to sea, guess who has to rake? And rake. And rake some more.)

We lumped them into the mulch beds and islands around the house, and when damp, they looked just like mulch. When dry, they looked like leaves. But they were so uniform and neatly done, it worked. Our neighbor said she wouldn’t have known they were leaves unless I told her. The neighbor beside us, however, blew them all out with his leaf blower to do us a favor no doubt since he thought we obviously hadn’t raked! I spent HOURS out there raking. I could have pulled out my hair. He did it twice.

Not so sure the property manager ‘got it’ either. He mentioned a few times he needed  to have someone come out and “clean up all those leaves.” To which I replied, “That’s homemade mulch.” Within the year, it composted down, the leaves weren’t wasted, and neither us or the owners were out any money for multiple bags of expensive mulch. I also didn’t have to use the dreaded plastic bags to put out for the city. Now that’s zero waste if I’ve ever heard it! Oh, yeah!

Here in south Georgia, we’ve been blessed with a fine carpet of pine needles. And again the landlord says, “If you run over them with the mower…” To which I jump in and say, “Oh, no! We’ll rake them and place them in the islands around the trees. You know– uniform mulch.” He just nods. No telling what he’s thinking!

But I think it worked. Hey, I say—be creative and use what you have. Why buy more when nature provides it? It’s all about thinking outside of the box, right? And I don’t mind if people think we’re weird. Different. Eccentric–I like that one best.

It would be a little easier if we owned our own home, and people could say, “You know that nutty couple on the corner over there…” but so far, the landlords have been accommodating. And people probably say that anyway. 🙂

Have you ever tried this? Do you have a trick to keep you from tracking over to the hardware store? 

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6 responses to “Homemade mulch

  1. What a waste of leaves to collect them up and put them in plastic bags…We always use the leaves for mulch every year…so much better, and we use the straw out of the donkey stable for plant protection in the winter.

    God provided good leaves and we must make good use of them.
    I have given you the Liebster Award..just let me know if you manage to get it onto your blog page.the you can tell me how to do it

    • It really doesn’t make a lot of sense to rake up your leaves and throw them out and then go buy new mulch from the hardware store—just because the mulch looks different. Mulch is mulch, right? I’d never really thought about it before until I got married and started doing yard work. Some things seem so common sense. I don’t know why in the world we dont’ do them! You do! Thank you so much for my award. I’ve never gotten one before. I’m flattered!

  2. I just had a flashback, we lived in Marietta (north ATL) a few years ago in a mature, very wooded community; the hubby relished going out there to rake in pine needles to use as mulch. I still remember the wrap-around porch on that house, it was my favorite spot. I sat there for hours admiring the lush landscape. I still miss it.

    • I read your comment to my husband and he said, “Well, we’re not crazy.” 🙂
      I enjoyed hearing your memories of Marietta. I haven’t been there but I’ve heard good things about it. You have such a way with words. I just subscribed to you! I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting your feeds. I kept having to go to your site. Well, hello! I hadn’t subscribed. Now I’ll get your cozy words weekly!

  3. Pine needles make an excellent mulch… I rake mine up and place around the base of the tree, then, I put a small amount of the purchased bark nuggetts on top–it stretches the purchased bark.

  4. Joy! That’s awesome! I love it!

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