What is Cocoa mulch? The cocoa bean mulch is the hull material left behind after cocoa beans have been roasted. The roasting process makes the cocoa hull mulch more environmentally friendly.
Incorporating cocoa bean mulch in your garden involves careful application, as the shells can be abrasive. Plus, cocoa mulch is very toxic to pets.
But it offers moisture-retaining, nutritive, and aesthetic benefits whether you apply cocoa bean grounds as yard mulch or add it to potted plants.
The 411 on Cocoa Mulch
Cocoa bean mulch, made from the discarded shells of cocoa beans, is an effective and organic way to add nutrients to the soil, retain moisture, reduce weeds, and protect the root systems of your plants.
Many gardeners appreciate the smell and aesthetic of cocoa bean mulch, and many environmentally-minded folks choose cocoa bean mulch to aid in the process of recycling organic “waste.” Outside of gardening, cocoa bean shells can also be used in the pharmaceutical industry and the production of energy.
In 1937 the Hershey Rose garden opened. Cocoa shells were used in both the Rose Garden and estate plantings. More on mulching roses.
How Do I Make The Perfect Garden With Cocoa Bean Mulch?
Whether you’re a seasoned landscaper or thinking of ways to make your yard nicer, you may want to consider using cocoa bean mulch.
You can use cocoa mulch under and around bushes and around the base of trees as well. If your backyard gets a lot of shade, this mulch will help to cover up dilapidated areas and bring them back to life. You can also use it in potted plants, which tend to get dry quickly.
Tips For Working With Cocoa Shell Mulch
As stated before, cocoa bean mulch effectively blocks weeds from growing. However, you don’t want it to stop the good things from growing too! So wait to put the mulch down until you have everything in the area planted and sprouted. You don’t want to be digging and re-digging as it will be messy.
Apply mulch close to plant stems. The sharp edges of the hull may cut the fragile plant stems. One inch of cocoa mulch gives lovely coverage to your garden, even though the package calls for two.
Once it’s down, wet it immediately, so it binds together. Your cocoa bean mulch layer should be damp but not saturated, as this will cause mold to form.
You should also wear dark or old clothes to put it down as the mulch can stain your clothing – just as a chocolate bar would. Due to its dry nature, you will want to put it down on a day that is not very windy because it may blow around and cause you trouble.
Don’t worry, though – once down and wet, it holds together really well.
By following these guidelines, you should be well on your way to creating a beautiful and vibrant garden with cocoa bean mulch.
What Are The Benefits of Cocoa Hull Mulch?
Cocoa bean mulch lasts long and doesn’t fade. However, it will slowly decompose over time. When this happens, the mulch slowly releases nutrients that are absorbed by your plants and flowers.
Shortly after you spread this mulch in your garden, you will start to notice new growth and that your plants and vegetables are larger, more vibrant, and much healthier.
You need not worry about weeds with cocoa bean mulch. Once you spread it on your garden and it’s wet, it binds together and suffocates any weeds that want to sprout. Who needs Round-Up when you have a natural weed killer?
The hulls of cocoa beans not only have a pleasant smell. In no time, you will have a yard that is not only beautiful but has a pleasant aroma too.
NOTE: it won’t smell forever. The smell usually lasts around three weeks.
Tips For Purchasing Cocoa Mulch
When purchasing cocoa beans, you want to make sure it is stored sheltered from the rain. When left outdoors (even if confined to bags), it can develop fungus. If the bag feels heavy when you lift it, someone probably left it out in the rain.
Choose bags that have an intense chocolatey smell — not the ones that smell musty! Also, choose bags from the middle of the stack as they will be the driest.
Cautionary Tips for Cocoa Bean Mulch
You’ll want to be sure to wear gloves and be wary of the fair amount of fine dust these bags of mulch can create, especially if you plop one down that is open.
The application process may not be suitable for children or pets, such as dogs. Cocoa bean mulch is toxic to dogs and will cost you a trip to the vet and possibly your pet’s life.
After all, chocolate isn’t good for dogs, even in ground-up mulch form when it’s delivering nutrients to your garden.