Make Your Own Black Mulch

Mulch around the base of a tree with surrounding lawn
  • 2-20 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-200
What You'll Need
Peat moss
Shovel or pitchfork
Working gloves
Grass cuttings
Kitchen scraps
Garden hose
Black tarp

Black mulch, or black gold, is an essential compost soil for your plants. It contains all the necessary nutrients for your plant to survive, grow well and last over the years. Black mulch is a gardener's best friend for its effectiveness in keeping flowers and plants healthy without spending too much time weeding and watering.

Aside from its practical use, black mulch is also used to enhance the aesthetics of a garden as vivid colors of plants and flowers do well in contrast with the color of black mulch. Below are the materials you need along with the instructions on how to make your own black mulch.

Step 1 - Wear your Protective Gear

Before starting to make your own black mulch, wear a good pair of working gloves and a mask. The working gloves and mask are necessary since you will be handling manure and other organic ingredients.

Step 2 - Prepare your Working Ground

Prepare the ground where you will be working on your black mulch by putting two layers of cardboard on the ground. With a garden hose, slightly dampen the two sheets of cardboard. For ease of transport, it is best to choose a working ground near the garden where you will apply the black mulch.

Step 3 - Spread the Manure

pile of manure

Spread a single layer of manure six inches thick on the cardboard using a shovel. You can use either cow or steer manure that you can purchase at your local garden center. You can use any type of manure according to your preference.

Step 4 - Additional Ingredients

Add another layer of leaves, kitchen scraps and grass cuttings on the manure. If you are adding kitchen scraps make sure not to include bones and meat, instead only add vegetable kitchen scraps. The ideal layer thickness for this procedure is four inches, give or take one inch. After adding the kitchen scraps and yard waste add a layer of peat moss two inches thick.

Step 5 - Additional Layer

At this time, additionally layer manure, kitchen scraps and yard waste together with peat moss. Start with adding the manure as instructed in Step 3 and then add the remaining ingredients at its appropriate layer thickness. When you are done applying the additional layer your pile should be about 24 inches high. With a garden hose, dampen the pile.

Step 6 - Cook the Pile

pile of compost materials and a pitchfork

Cover the pile with a black tarp for eight weeks to allow all the ingredients to turn into a damp soil-like structure full of nutrients. Check your pile at least once a week to make sure the pile is not drying out. Spray more water with the garden hose if you find the pile is drying out. It is normal for the pile to give considerable heat during the first weeks so do not be alarmed.

Step 7 - Mix the Pile

After the eighth week of cooking the pile you can now mix all the layers of the pile together using a shovel or pitchfork. Your black mulch is now ready for use.