If you’ve got a big stash of wine corks, try making mulch with them! Here are two options for making wine cork mulch.
This is a story about the day I put wine corks into my Vitamix to see if it would break. It didn’t! But even if you don’t have a high speed blender, you can make your own mulch from the corks you’ve collected.
My wine cork stash was getting a litttttle bit out of hand. I keep my corks in an old grocery bag that’s stuffed in a drawer, and it was getting hard to close the drawer. This called for a serious cork-using project, so I decided to try something I read about a few years ago but never got around to: making mulch from wine corks.
I published a version of the tutorial below at Crafting a Green World.
Before you get down to making mulch, you need to make sure that you’re using real cork. Real cork is slightly rough to the touch and looks porous. The image below shows you what real corks look like vs. synthetic ones:
One more caveat about making mulch with corks: Dave tells me that cork mulch is something he’s seen recommended as a way to kill rats. The tutorial he read said to cut up cork and dip the pieces in grease. It also advised you not to do it if there were any other animals around because they’d eat it and die. If your fur kids like to eat mulch, make sure you’re only using your cork mulch in pots that they can’t reach.
Once you’ve got your corks and pot locations sorted, you’re ready to make some mulch!
Making Mulch from Wine Corks
The directions below have two options for making mulch. One is manual and the other uses a high speed blender. My Vitamix worked great for this project, but you’re definitely putting corks into your blender at your own risk! If you’re nervous about messing up your blender, stick with the manual technique.
- wine corks – The more the merrier! It took about 50 corks to make enough mulch for one 18? potted plant, but I did a deep layer of mulch. You could probably stretch that amount of mulch to cover up to a 24? pot.
- serrated knife and cutting board (for the manual method)
- high speed blender (for the blender method)
- plant that needs mulch
Sort your corks. See the info above on how to spot those natural corks. You want all natural wine corks to make your mulch. Save those synthetic corks for another project. Some quickie plant markers, perhaps?
How to Make Mulch: Manual Instructions:
1. Get cutting! Chop those corks up, y’all! You want to cut your corks up into about 1/4? pieces. That’s a good size to let water filter down but not let too much evaporate off. The point of mulch is to help those plants retain precious water.
2. Keep cutting. I know, it takes a long time. Put on your favorite podcast, and chop, chop, chop.
3. Mulch those plants! That’s it. Once you’ve chopped up the mulch amount that you need, spread it in a layer over your plant.
How to Make Mulch: High Speed Blender Instructions
1. Put your corks into your blender with the lid on. You’re going to blend about 12 corks at once. More than that, and you’ll end up with a superfine cork sand at the bottom and lots of whole corks at the top. Don’t use that tamping-down tool, because cork is going to fly all over your kitchen if you do that. I can tell you how I figured that out while I wipe the cork dust off of the walls.
2. Start your blender on the lowest variable speed, then quickly turn it up to the highest. Switch to high speed, and blend for 10-15 seconds.
3. Dump your blended cork into a bowl, fish out any big pieces, and repeat until everything it blended.
4. Mulch those plants! That’s it. Once you’ve blended up the mulch amount that you need, spread it in a layer over your plant.