Craft Your Style How to Make Mulch from Wine Corks

Published on June 25th, 2014 | by Becky Striepe

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How to Make Mulch from Wine Corks

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How to Make Mulch from Wine Corks

Are you a wine cork hoarder like I am? Here’s how to make mulch using your stash of wine corks and which sort works best.

Before I walk you through how to make mulch, it’s important that you choose the right kind of wine cork for this project. There are a couple of sorts of wine cork, and only one of them works for this project. You want to make certain that the corks you’re using are natural cork.

Related Reading: How Wine Corks are Made

Some winemakers have switched to synthetic (plastic) corks, and those don’t work as well for mulch. That’s because plastic doesn’t break down. You also don’t want plastic mulch on your food plants, because chemicals from the plastic can leach into the plants. Here’s a labeled photo of some corks from my stash:

How to Make Mulch from Wine Corks

As you can see, some synthetic corks can look a lot like natural ones, but don’t worry! You can tell by feel. Natural cork has a rough surface, but synthetic feels smooth to the touch. The feel it method is definitely the best way to suss out the synthetic vs. natural corks in your wine stash.

One more caveat about making cork mulch: My husband 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, this make sure you’re only using it in pots that they can’t reach.

Now that you know how to find the right corks and how to use your cork mulch safely, let’s make some!

How to Make Mulch from Wine Corks

The directions below have two options for making your 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.

Materials

  • 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

Directions

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. Miniature pirate ships, 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.

How to Make Mulch from Wine Corks

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 from Wine Corks

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.

How to Make Mulch from Wine Corks

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.



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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • Elizabeth

    I am thinking I will try my food processor to make the mulch. The Cuisinart seems to be more robust than my mixer. Did you try this and find it didn’t work?

    • http://glueandglitter.com/main Becky Striepe

      I haven’t tried it in a food processor. We’ve got the Vitamix and a Magic Bullet. Our Bullet is so old, I was pretty sure it wasn’t even worth trying, but if your food processor is good, it’s worth a go. Let me know how it works!

  • Elizabeth

    Oops! I meant blender, not mixer!

  • https://enchantmentlearning.squarespace.com Maria DeBlassie

    This is awesome! Thank you for sharing this–I can’t wait to try it on my cork collection.

  • http://ideasremixed.com/free-ebook-2/ Wendy Leep Hammond

    Great idea! I wish I had saved all the corks I’ve thrown out :-(

    • http://glueandglitter.com/main Becky Striepe

      You can always start saving them again!

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