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cocoa hulls

I picked up bag of cocoa hulls mulch from the nursery thinking it would make for a good mulch and then I searched the forum and came across a few entries that are making me think again. My questions are

- is this kind of mulch at all good for veggies or do they change the soil drastically?
- I don't have any pets but my neighbors do have cats that occasionally walk through my yard (we have fenced yards here). I have raised beds. Do you think cats rifle through raised beds? I simply don't know and would hate to jeopardize the health of any animal.
- what else is out there that would make a good mulch in my zone (Sunset zone 17, USDA zone 9)?


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Someone else just asked about cocoa bean hulls. Here was my response

But don't use the cocoa bean hulls if you have dogs.

They are chocolate-y flavored enough that the dogs will eat them and like other forms of chocolate, they are toxic to dogs.


It was in this thread


I think it's kind of expensive, smells pretty strongly of chocolate at first (maybe not all bad! :) ) and tends to mold if used in a thick enough layer to suppress weeds.

For growing veggies, I think a "greener" mulch is preferable (see the greens vs browns sticky in the compost forum, greener meaning more nitrogen rich, vs brown is more carbon rich). That would be things like grass clippings, coffee grounds, hay. The cocoa bean hulls or wood chips are better for around your shrubs and perennials.
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Hi Minoti, I can only help you with one of your questions. My cats and dogs hang out in my raised beds. They don't often, usually they do when I'm gardening and they're saying hi, but they do. I recently brought some mulch (dry grass and stuff) in from work and one of my cats goes crazy for anything that comes from there so he was rolling around in it something chronic.

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Although it's a bit old, I think [url=https://extension.usu.edu/smac/files/uploads/Safety/CocoaBeanMulch.pdf]this[/url]will answer your questions. I also read on this forum where it one of the mods said not to use it around cats either.

Stick with the hay and grass clippings, the latter if which is free (just make sure it is not from any chemically fertilized lawns :wink:.
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