Seed Swaps

Free Mulch - Lessons from the Avalanche

02 Dec 2011
Sunny 37°C / 99°F

Gardening friends,

One of the things I LOVE is a bargain. Even better than a bargain is something for FREE. Some of you living in our neck of the “woods” (every pun intended), would know about MulchNet. This website is a place where you can register for free woodchips from your local tree lopper. The site does state that there are no guarantees so I had my heart set on firmly expecting nothing.

Can you imagine my surprise when I drove around the corner one day to see a mountain of woodchips, almost 1.8m tall, sitting on our verge. As the pile was so large, it had fallen across the road and needed to be cleared off.

When ever I have purchased mulch before, it has always been that black “stuff” that looks like it’s one step away from becoming soil. It looks very pretty. This pile was green! Somethings hadn’t mulched well at all (there were still whole palm fronds that looked slightly mangulated). The first lot that we put on one of the garden beds in desperate need of soil protection made the whole thing look a mess.

So, would I do this again? Yes! But I’d make these changes:
1. Ask around the people in your street to let them know that you MAY have a tree lopper delivering fresh mulch. This gets them prepared and allows you to suss out if anybody else is interested in having some should you have spare (we ended up advertising on Gumtree and had about 4-5 trailer loads taken.
2. Prepare a place just in case you get a large load (we are talking in the range of 10 to 15m3 – the size of about 20 or so trailer loads). Make sure it is out of the way and easy to identify. We’ve since recommended Mulchnet and the same size of load has rocked up for our friends. In addition, you may not be home when it is dropped off, so make sure your explanation of the place is good when entering it on the website.
3. Quality takes effort. You have to sort what can be used as mulch and what can be used as kindling. Also, the longer we left the pile, the better it looked. It’s really worth leaving it sit and mature for 2 to 3 months (and some plants won’t be able to handle raw mulch).
4. Have the right tools – this mulch needs a pitch fork. You’ll move twice the amount of mulch than if you are trying to load it in the barrow with a shovel.

I hope those of you that try Mulchnet find it as good as we did and that these little lessons will make the experience a whole lot easier.


The BEN Clan



Would you like to add a comment? Sign up for a free account, or log in if you're already a member.



Huntingdale, Perth


Previous Journals

Later Journals