Q. Is landscaping mulch toxic to people?
Mulch is not toxic to people but if using ground tree bark mulch which is available commercially, sometimes it is aged incorrectly(in tall deep piles that decompose anaerobically) so that it contains gases that can burn the plants in the garden. If the mulch smells sweet and fresh, rather than sour, the mulch is okay. If the mulch has a sour odor and sometimes is sodden and wet, spread it out on a tarp to air and then it will be okay to use. As for mulch in the vegetable garden, the best mulch would be mulch from your own mulch pile, formed with aged leaves and grass clippings that have not been exposed to pesticides and herbicides. Using your own mulch assures you that you vegetables will be pesticide free.