Making Cocoa Bean Mulch Making Cocoa Bean Mulch

What You'll Need
Cocoa bean husks
Hose
Trowel
Rake

Mulch is an important factor in any garden. It helps retain moisture, adds nutrients to the soil and prevents erosion. One of the many options for mulch is cocoa bean mulch. This mulch is a dark brown color and only gets darker with age. For the first two or three weeks, the mulch smells like chocolate. Another advantage is that, unlike some organic mulch, there are no weeds hidden among the husks. You can buy this mulch at a nursery or garden supply store. Or, if you live near a chocolate factory, you can ask for the cocoa bean husks. Most factories are more than happy to get rid of their excess waste.

Some concerns have been raised about the safety of cocoa mulch when there are dogs in the garden. There is a chemical contained in cocoa beans that is harmful to dogs. While there are not many documented cases, it is better to be safe than sorry. Keep your dog out of the garden if you do choose to use this mulch.

Step 1: Husks

The first thing you need to do is to get your hands on cocoa bean husks. Depending on where you go, you may find that the husks have been treated with different chemicals. For example, husks treated with oil and theobromine are very good mulch for acidic soil. If possible, try to get untreated husks, and then you won’t have to worry about the impact on your garden.

Step 2: Layer

Once you have the husks, lay a thin layer around your garden. The mulch only needs to be an inch deep to do its job properly. This mulch can be used with any plant, so there is no need to buy several kinds of mulch.

Step 3: Water

Once you have laid down the mulch, water it. Water will cause the husks to curl around each other, creating a honeycomb affect. The interlocking husks will not be easily washed or blown, away. The husks will also prevent the water from running away from the plants. This extra water will help your plants grow healthy and strong.

Step 4: Mold

Sometimes cocoa husks will mold. This mold has not proven to be detrimental to any plants, but the husks do become white. If you wish, you can regularly rake the cocoa husks. This will help prevent mold and will turn over any husks that do have mold, making it less visible.

Step 5: A Year Later

After a year, most of the cocoa husks will have decomposed, leaving nutrients in the soil. You will need to choose whether you wish to use cocoa bean mulch or another form of organic mulch. Do not let your garden grow without mulch of some kind. The mulch is what helps keep your garden healthy throughout the year.

 

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