The case against commercial garden soil and mulch

I have learned over the years that commercial garden soil and mulch are not the best products to use in my garden beds  By commercial I mean purchased in bags or loads from nurseries or even garden centers.  Every time I have used these products, I ended up with more weeds in my gardens.

 

So, if you shouldn’t use the commercial garden soil and mulch in your gardens, what should you use?  Instead of the soils and mulches that are available in bags from your local garden center or delivered in truck loads, I currently use the following plan.

In the fall I use shredded leaves as a mulch throughout my gardens.  In the spring I spread composted manure around all my emerging plants.  Be sure to use well-composted compost or manure in this step to avoid stinking up your neighbourhood. The extreme heat levels in the composting process kills weed seeds.  This is a very important factor.  You could use your own compost pile, but ensure it has matured to the weed-free level.  For large volumes, I use this variety of composted cattle/steer manure, particularly because it does not smell bad.  It is available at Home Depot.

commercial
composted cattle and steer manure

This process adds both nutrients and humus to existing soil which improves its quality immensely.  The proof is in the beautifully healthy looking plants and lack of weeds.