Who Invented Mulch?

May 28th 2011

So I grew up on a farm.  Spent my days feeding pigs and cleaning pig pens. Even gathered an egg or two from the chickens.  Cats lived outside, dogs too — but you didn’t name the cats.  Okay so that’s not true — I didn’t spend all my days, all day with pigs — unless you count my brothers, their table manners left a bit to be desired.

But here’s the thing, seems like, best I can remember, most of my outside chores were farm chores, not yard chores.  We didn’t rake leaves… why rake what would disintegrate next year?  We didn’t worry about the fertilizing the grass, except for whatever came off our boots as walked from the pig pens to the house.  When it came to the year for the most part if it was green, it was good.

And we didn’t mulch.  We didn’t mulch.  Now I’ve carried over most of my yard habits from youth to maturity, much to the chagrin of my dear wife Lynn.  Or at least I should say, that I’ve carried over most of my attitudes about yard work from youth to maturity.  But Lynn loves mulch and she knows that I know how to mulch.  Whereas she’s pretty sure that I have absolutely no idea how to grow a nice thick plush yard, she knows that I know who to mulch… and she loves mulch.  This year we mulched about 5 cubic yards of mulch.

The Pile In Front of Our House

The Pile In Front of Our House

Which if you don’t know the volume of 5 cubic yards, it’s a lot.  It’s a pile about the size of a month’s worth of stuff you clean off the floor of a pig pen, that has a lot of pigs in it — which might be the reason I don’t like to mulch, it brings back memories.

Mulch — I mean think about that word, it sounds disgusting.  If it was a verb, I think it would be associated with the word cud… as in “A cow mulches it’s cud.”   When you say the word, if you sound out the “ul” syllable for two long, you will get stares.

So what I was wondering, was who in the world invented mulch?  So I googled, “who invented mulch.”  It actually started with the Clean Air Act of 1970.  The sawmills were creating too much air pollution when they burnt the saw dust and wood chips from the mill.  So the National Forest Service did a study and came up with a plan.  We’ll ask homeowners to pay to take our sawdust and put it on their yards…and we’ll call it…  Mulch.

Now here’s the deal.  I’m all for clean air.  But what about “save a tree?”  Oh for the days when life was simple.

I guess the bottom line is that, if it wasn’t for the fact that my wife likes how our yard looks when it has huge amounts of mulch covering it, I wouldn’t do it.

But I love her, so we have mulch.  5 cubit yards of love.