Types of Vegetable
Garden Mulch

Vegetable garden mulch can be used on the vegetable garden to provide protection for the soil, decrease weeds and preserve moisture.

Mulching creates a micro zone for plant roots to thrive.

As the mulch composts worms and insects help aerate the soil creating a permaculture that is self sustaining. 

 

Types of Vegetable Garden Mulch

Choosing garden mulch for your garden can involve several factors.

1. Which type of mulch to use?

2. How will the mulch look in the garden?

3. How much will it cost and how easy is the mulch to obtain?

Most organic matter can be used as mulch as well as inorganic matter. The following are just a few mulching materials. 

Grass Clippings – use clippings that have not been treated with any weed control. Weed control can transfer to the vegetable garden and effect sensitive plants like tomatoes. Grass clippings break down quickly. Don’t layer more than 2 inches deep or it becomes slimy and smelly as it breaks down.

Leaves – most leaves can be used as mulch. Leaves are similar to grass clippings don’t layer them to deep. They mat down and works best if layered between chips or straw.  

Leaf Mold – is made by composting leaves. It takes about 18 months for the leaves to break down to become what is called leaf mold a rich black soil.

Chipped Wood – is not the same as wood bark. Chipped wood is the shredded branches and leaves from tree services and from land fills or your own wood chipper. It has various sizes of pieces and knits’ together forming a soft mat after it is laid down in the garden. This is great mulch and can be laid down 6 inches deep. 

Straw – is the cut stems of grain after it is harvested. Oat and wheat straw are the best mulches. Straw can have weed seeds so know your source. Straw needs to be layer 6 inches deep. Pull the bales apart and sprinkle it over the soil.

Alfalfa Hay – is high in protein and other nutrients. Use is the same as you use straw mulch. 

Stones – yes stones can be used as mulch. 

News Paper – the black and white sections can be laid down 6 layers thick. Lay new sheets of paper on top of the old as they decompose. 

Black Plastic – needs replacing every couple of years. Lay plastic on rows and cut holes where you want to place the plants.


Mulch should be easy to acquire affordable and last. Mulch will lay on top of the soil so you want it to resist being blown away by the wind.

Mulch should be easy to acquire affordable and last. Mulch will lay on top of the soil so you want it to resist being blown away by the wind.

I prefer chipped wood. It is easy to acquire looks nice and it lasts several years before needing to be covered again. It doesn’t blow away and stays where it is laid. Wood chips keep the weeds down and the moisture in the soil.

Vegetable Garden Mulch

The following materials are what I use in my garden. They are easy to acquire and plentiful. They look nice in the garden and create a nice rich soil for my vegetables and plants to thrive in.

Medium Mulch

This is medium mulch we get from our landfill.

It is inexpensive and has varying sizes of chipped branches and leaves.

It also has compost mixed in which gives it a nice layer that sits on top of the soil.

Chipped Branches

Chipped branches are from our yard waste. We gather the fallen branches from our large trees and any from pruning.

They are run through our wood chipper and we use it to fill in spots in the garden.

You can acquire chipped branches from local tree services in your area. If it is convenient for them they will drop off loads usually at no cost. Check with the services in your area. Most are happy to unload if they don’t have to go out of their way.

Leaves

Leaves gathered from your yard make great vegetable garden mulch compost.

If you use your mower and a bagger the leaves are chopped.

The chopped leaves can be spread on top of the mulch and soil.

Leaves gathered from your yard make great vegetable garden mulch compost. If you use your mower and a bagger the leaves are chopped. The chopped leaves can be spread on top of the mulch and soil.

Grass Clipping

Grass chippings are plentiful if you use a bagger on your mower.

If you use weed control on your lawn, mulching the grass clippings is not a good idea.

The residue can cause problems for your growing vegetables.

Grass clippings are rich in nitrogen and some potassium and phosphorus. Clippings provide green material and should be layered no more than 1 to 2 inches deep.

Any deeper and the grass will become slimly and stinky as it decomposes. This can create a mess and becomes slippery when you walk on it.

Vegetable garden mulch should be easy to acquire affordable and last. Mulch will lay on top of the soil so you want it to resist being blown away by the wind.

Remember these mulching materials are not to be tilled into the soil. The mulch lays on top the soil where it creates thick layers that keep the soil moist and prevents the weed seed from receiving light.

 

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