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Who is using Cocoa Shells?

May 22, 2009

Yesterday I helped with a garden that was finished with cocoa shell mulch.   I have seen it and even had it used on projects regularly in in England, but here in the greater Boston area, it simply is not that prevalent.  I am on a hunt to buy it locally (I just contacted my favorite chocolate maker that attends my farmers market) or at least source it in large and wholesale quantities.  Anyone have a good contact?

cocoa shell garden mulch

image by littlewinggg

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  1. Sprout says:

    My mom used cocoa hulls for decades! Yummm….! And she always got them at the now defunct Spag’s.

  2. michelle d. says:

    I don’t use it for a variety of reasons.
    1. It molds.
    2. Dogs are allergic to it and I don’t want to take that chance .

  3. kim says:

    I was just thinking about cocoa mulch this morning when I was at Vallente’s Farm in Needham, they have bags of it.

  4. Sheila H says:

    I agree wtih Michelle. It’s toxic to dogs if they swallow it and it’s expensive. I prefer using chocolate (dyed brown) mulch. They last longer if applied at 4 inches thick (3 years).

  5. Fern @ Life on the Balcony says:

    I was going to say the same thing as Michelle. It has the same effect on dogs as chocolate.

  6. Tyson says:

    I worked for a retail nursery that did a good business in selling cocoa husks. We had a chemist (who now teaches AP Chemistry at a local high school) who did her research and determined that the husks have 3 x the amount of the chemical found in chocolate that provokes an allergic reaction in dogs. Which means they would have to consume 1/3 the amount found in chocolate to have a fatal reaction. With that in mind, it does smell lovely, and is a great deterrent to cats who have a penchant for relieving themselves in garden beds….they can’t stand putting their paws in the stuff. Also very attractive, but short lived in windy areas. Blommers out of Chicago distributes.

    • rochelle says:

      I don’t have a dog (and no plans to get one) –so I am not going to worry about that at least at my own home….but will make sure I mention it to a friend who is using them who is planning to get a puppy later this summer.
      Also, I read that if you soak them with water when you lay them down, they will then lock together as they dry and prevent the wind blowing effect – also only need to spread about 1″ think- so perhaps you need less of these than regular mulch.

  7. louise garwood says:

    I have seen them used in many Metrowest Boston residential garden settings. Typically a high end product, advantage only being in the aesthetic, a more refined appearance compared to bark mulch. Usually client has irrigation in beds which moistens them enough to not do the pre-wetting you mention rochelle. And yes an inch or two covers very well. I like the look and smell.
    BTW – came across this: didnt know if you had covered it..Outdoor rugs by Loire Manne
    any info on this product? Looks potentially cool.

  8. I will only use chocolate mulch- to find it I emailed these guys and they told me it was made at the factory down the street. Ahem. Embarrassing. But they can tell you who has it near you.
    I have a dog too, he’s smart enough to not eat mulch. Imagine that.

  9. louise garwood says:

    hey check this out…buckwheat hull mulch…

    • rochelle says:

      Louise, I used buckwheat hulls for the first time last week….they were so great to spread…very lightweight and they had a beautiful silky look once installed. Except for the price, I will definitely want to use them again.

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