Often interchangeable amongst beginner gardens, both mulch and compost are naturally made substances that can be used to make your garden nice, rich, and beautiful.
However, while one is used to help your plants retain moisture and suppress weeds, the other meanwhile is a natural fertilizer for your soil so plants would be able to get all the nutrients they need to flourish. While mulch is important when making your garden look beautiful, compost is good for “feeding” your garden, so to speak.
This is why it is essential to understand the difference between mulch and compost so you can know when each option is better for your landscape. Which is why we created this handy guide!
What Is Mulch And How Is It Made?
In short, mulch is made out of organic materials placed on the top of the soil as a protective covering layer. It is usually made from inert materials like leaves, tree bark, stones, or any type of material that decomposes slowly, making it suitable for garden use. It is a great way to separate plants so they won’t compete for space and resources, and, in the same vein, also prevent weeds.
When To Use A Particular Type Of Mulch?
If you want to prevent weeds from growing in areas that don’t have a lot of soil, be sure to use a fresh organic mulch made out of wood chips and tree bark and place it around your trees and shrubs.
If you want to stabilize your garden from washout, or soil erosion, feel free to use a mulch made out of stones.
While it is a good idea to apply mulch to your lawn, keep in mind that adding too much mulch to your lawn or garden can hurt your plants. So when in doubt, be sure to consult with a landscaping professional so that you would know as to how much mulch is too much mulch.
What Is Compost And How Is It Made?
Otherwise referred to as humus(when dark brown and smelly), compost is organic matter that has been decomposed. This can include anything from grass clippings to kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps. They are usually darker than mulch and are used to fertilize, —i.e., feed your plants so that they would grow up to be big and strong and (hopefully) provide you with some delicious fruit in the long run.
How Do I Get Or Make Compost?
While there are many ways to make compost, one of the most common ways that people make compost is by putting organic Plant-origin matter into a pile, adding composting bacteria and/or worms, watering it, and then stirring it when the temperature inside the pile reaches between 130 and 150 degrees F(~54 to ~65 degrees C). You can get worms from any bait store/section, and you can get composting bacteria either online or at your local garden store.
It is important to only use plant-based organic matter for composting as adding animal-based organic matter will cause problems. If you want to learn how to use animal matter for composting be sure to look up “biodigesting.”
When making compost, time is your biggest factor. So if time isn’t on your side and you’d rather buy compost check with a local farmer, or garden store, do it. Although it is much more cost effective to make your own with vegetables, you’d otherwise throw away.
Though this process may seem time-consuming, it is nevertheless a great way to reuse your leftover food and gardening scraps while adding nutrients to the soil.
So Is One More Important than the Other for My Garden or Lawn?
Absolutely not! In order for your lawn to be healthy and happy, you need to use both mulch and compost. Otherwise, your plants would not grow as well.
So tell us, fellow readers, what types of materials do you use to make either your mulch or compost? Do you find any of our advice on recognizing the difference between the two as helpful? Feel free to let us know in the comments, below!
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