The Q&A Archives: SAFE MULCH

Question: last summer we used a mulch that had a warning! Do not use around vegetables for human consumption. Naturally, we didn't see the warning until after we'd mulched the plants. Is it safe to use the garden space for beans in shells and/or green beans this year?
Also looking to plant a plum, pear or apple tree this spring. What type is good for my area. I'd like a dwarf variety if possible.

Answer: I'm not really sure what might have been in the mulch that made it unsuitable for vegetable gardens - perhaps the material had been treated with chemical herbicides or insecticides. Since we don't know, it would be better not to plant anything edible where you've used the mulch. If you still have the package you can contact the company that distributed the mulch. It would be interesting to see why they put the warning on the label. Herbicides and insecticides do break down in the presence of sunlight and fresh air so it is possible that the chemicals have degraded, but then again, maybe not. I'd plant the veggies somewhere else just to be on the safe side.

Fruit trees grow well in Ohio and there are many, many varieties from which to choose. Ohio State University has the following publication available online. Download a copy and you'll have a ready reference to take to the nursery when you are choosing just the right trees for your landscape:

Good luck with your garden~

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