1. Plant-based: Straw, pine needles, cottonseed hulls, tree bark, shredded tree leaves
Best for: All gardens
Don’t forget: Sprinkle a nitrogen source, such as agricultural cornmeal, on the surface before mulching so that the mulch doesn’t rob the soil of the nutrient as it breaks down.
2. Mineral-based: Coarse sand, greensand, ground granite, lava rock, oyster shells
Best for: Mediterranean natives such as rosemary, sage, thyme and winter savory
Don’t forget: Add more of this type of mulch after a heavy rain and during the winter.
Tina Marie Wilcox has been the head herb gardener at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, Arkansas, since 1984. She also writes Yarb Tales, a weekly column for the Ozark Folk Center (
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Green Patch: Mulching Tips