Make Your Own Mulch! (From a Ground-Up Tree Stump)

Picture of Make Your Own Mulch! (From a Ground-Up Tree Stump)
So, this summer I had an interesting project on my hands.  

There was a dead tree in my backyard, and when it was cut down, we got the stump ground up and it left me with a giant pile of dirt and tree parts in the middle of my yard.  

So i decided to make mulch out of it.  
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Materials Needed for this Project:
1) a Shovel
2) a Metal Rake
3) Buckets (1 or 2 will do)
4) a Wheelbarrow
5) the Ground

Step 2: Fill Up the Wheelbarrow with Water

Picture of Fill Up the Wheelbarrow with Water
The wheelbarrow should be filled about 3/5 the way full of water.

Step 3: Add Your Dirt/Bark/Ground Up Stump to the Water

Picture of Add Your Dirt/Bark/Ground Up Stump to the Water
So this is where the (really easy) science comes into play.

Wood floats in water, and dirt doesn't as much.

So when you add the dirt/bark/ground up stump into the water in the wheelbarrow, the wood and bark float to the surface of the water, and the dirt settles to the bottom of the wheelbarrow.  

So, once you have added the dirt/bark mix into the water, take the rake and mix everything so there is no mountain of dry material in the wheelbarrow, everything has to be underwater.  You can always add more water too.

Step 4: Rake Out the Mulch

Picture of Rake Out the Mulch
First things first, you want to get the mulch off the surface of the water.  This is easily done by taking your rake and dipping it into the water, and then raking whats floating on the surface into a nearby bucket.

Step 5: Rake Out the Mud

Picture of Rake Out the Mud
Now that the mulch has been taken out of the mixture, you need to take the mud off the bottom of the wheelbarrow so....

A) you have dirt for gardening and other yardwork
B) so that you only have water to put the next shovelful's of dirt/stump into.  Putting more dirt in without cleaning mud out reduces the effectiveness of this process.  The deeper the water level, the more effectively wood and dirt seperated.

Once again with the rake, rake the mud from the bottom of the wheelbarrow, let it drain, and rake it into a container or, in my case, the ground. 

WayneEarl2 years ago
Excellent able, but a question: why not simply not rake it all, add less water and more time, the end product would then be all very nutrient rich soil?