What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cedar Mulch

We have been spreading cedar mulch both at our vacation home and here.  Since moving here we have had a problem with earwigs, centipedes and pill bugs.  Occasionally we get the big black ants.  For that reason we spent the first year removing the old bark chips that harboured all of these critters.  Cedar mulch is quite popular in Florida so I thought it would work well here to clean up a few areas giving a finished landscaping appearance.  We spread red cedar mulch around the front of the house, in a garden bed sandwiched between the house and sidewalk, and a larger garden bed at the side by the kitchen window and stairs to the upper sunporch.  I had been dealing with earwigs getting in through the kitchen window and kitchen patio doors.  The kitchen is mainly below grade with the window about four inches off the ground.  My gosh did the cedar mulch ever smell good!

Cedar has long been used for insect control such as moths and silverfish.  The most common use of cedar is in cedar chests.  In fact we have one closet lined with tongue and groove cedar.   I don't know why I did not think of using cedar as a natural control for the problematic insects getting into our house.  Shortly after spreading the cedar mulch, the absence of earwigs was quite apparent.  I haven't seen a pill bug or centipede indoors since spreading the cedar mulch either.  I have seen a couple of small ants on the sidewalk but not the big black ants and not near the house where the cedar mulch is.  I have also noticed fewer spiders.  Now this was an easy, natural solution that solved the problems without having to resort to chemical sprays. 

I have decided that once we get moved to the new house (pending sale of this house) the first thing I will be doing is spreading cedar mulch.  It is a newer house, not on the water but has a pool and it is a bi-level so has the potential of insects getting indoors.  Now if the cedar mulch repels rodents I will be elated as the new house backs onto a field.  From experience at the last two homes, when the fields are harvested the field mice will get into the house if at all possible. 

At any rate, I am extremely pleased with the cedar mulch.  We get the nice, finished look with the added bonus of insect control.  It will need to be topped up each year or at least that's how often we do it in Florida.  It is a bit more expensive for the initial application.  We used 10 - 3 metre large bags at a cost of $7.97 each but topping up won't use as much, likely 4 to 5 bags.  It's not difficult to spread either. 
Garden Gnome