I have mulched my property for many years and the mulch is dark or red and we have had trees die. Can you recommend a place that I could find a safe eco friendly mulch? I live in Muskoka and I do require a lot of Mulch so buying the bags is not enough I would need to buy bulk. Also, I have had my own vegetable garden for a long time and I would like to know if you could suggest a place to buy manure or compost? I have had mushroom compost in the past but I feel that it was not as organic and I would like based on the place I was getting it.
Thank you for your questions on mulch and compost. While Toronto Master Gardeners does not recommend particular retail outlets, you might check on line for companies which deliver mulch. If you buy mulch in bulk, it is typically less expensive that buying in small qualities. You might also consider attending Canada Blooms ( on at the CNE from March 8 to 17). There are often vendors, including those which sell soil and mulch, offering show deals. Finally, you should not have to buy mulch each year; you can add to and improve your existing vegetable garden soil with compost which you make yourself and/or pick up free from several sites around the city.
When the soil has warmed, add a 5-8 cm layer of organic mulch to combat weeds, retain soil moisture and improve the soil. To prevent fungal disease, keep mulch away from crowns of perennials, stems of shrubs and trunks of trees. Chopped and composted leaves, grass clippings, or backyard compost and grass clippings work very well, or you can purchase a good commercial product such as shredded or composted pine bark.
In partnership with the City of Toronto, the Toronto Master Gardeners developed a series of Gardening Guides / Fact Sheets on organic gardening topics. To read the Guide on using mulch in your organic garden, just click here.
To find a landscaping professional to help you with your garden, visit Landscape Ontario here. That site contains excellent gardening information as well as lists of member companies providing services in landscape design, construction and maintenance, as well as specialists in lawn care, irrigation, lighting, tree care, snowplowing and interior landscaping. You will also find a list of local garden centres.