When it comes to gardening I always use mulch especially in my raised bed vegetable gardens and a lot of people ask me what’s my favorite type of mulch to use in the vegetable garden. While I don’t stick to just one type I do have my preferred options. So in this article, I’m going to show you what those are and why I like to use them so much.
Now before we talk about which mulch I prefer the main point is that you’re using mulch, because any natural mulch is better than no mulch at all that said there are pros and cons to each option.
Straw mulch for garden
Overall the years I’ve been gardening I’ve decided that I like using straw a lot because you get a lot of coverage for your money.
It’s easy to spread and it’s really lightweight and that’s super important for me because I start a lot of seeds and I don’t want the weight of a heavy mulch on top of those seeds that are trying to break through the ground they need all the help they can get, so you don’t want mulch to be the problem.
But the nice thing about straw at the end of the season you can leave it in place and let it improve the soil right where it is or you can gather it all up and add it to your compost pile.
Best bagged mulch product for Garden
There have been plenty of times I’ve used a bagged mulch product, like finely ground pine bark. It’s often sold as a soil conditioner but no matter what you call it I like that it’s very fine and light. So it’s also good for tender plants and emergence seedling.
But I especially like using this type of mulch because it’s easy to spread and quickly works to improve your soil as it breaks down.
And if you’re worried that pine bark might rob nitrogen from your soil don’t be. As a mulch just sitting on the soil surface that’s not an issue.
From time to time I’ll use a bark mulch or a wood mulch basically arborist wood chips for the most part. Now those are the chips at the end of the day from the tree services that take down the trees and that truck gets loaded up with all that mulch.
Well, they have to put it somewhere and if you ask them a lot of times they’ll deliver it to your property for free.
Why I don’t use mulch
Now the reason why I don’t use it as mulch in the vegetable garden is that it is heavy and because I start a lot of seeds that are not a good thing that weight is going to inhibit the germination of those seeds plus it’s not my favorite look in the garden and around here that needs to be a consideration as well.
The upside of using mulch
Now the upside is the price is right they are free and if you’re not starting a lot of seeds then that’s not an issue either.
So the good thing is as that mulch breaks down if you don’t mind the look it’s gonna work to improve the soil and that’s always a good thing.
But let’s talk about my favorite mulch. It’s shredded leaves.
My Favorite Mulch for Garden (shredded leaves)
I love the fact that they’re plentiful and free every fall and I especially like how easy they are to work with, especially after you shred them with a mulching mower or string trimmer.
The added plus is that I know that they’re free from pesticides and they’re an incredible soil amendment as they break down to improve my garden beds.
And while we’re on the subject I should tell you that any mulch going into my bed under my watch has to break down eventually to improve the soil. So it’s always a natural mulch and although rubber and stones and shells may be a mulch they’re not breaking down to improve the soil and therefore they’re not a mulch for me.
How important is it to mulch your garden [Benefits of Mulch]
The art of mulching, or the reason why we mulch. Mulch has several benefits.
- Mulch will help with the reflection of the sun. Also, Mulch being a darker color, will not cause that reflectivity, and thus will help to hold moisture in the soil. The moisture will help in the growing process of the plants.
- It’s also good for erosion control, to help keep things from washing away. Mulch, such as cedar mulch, and hardwood mulch, do not wash away, do not blow away. They stay firmly in place, and they do an excellent job, as far as controlling erosion.
- They are pervious, and water will go through them and reach the plant, but in addition to reflecting the sun, holding moisture in the soil.
- Mulch is also good for helping to keep the temperature of the soil cooler. When the soil is cooler, the roots are more active with the plants.
- Another great benefit of mulch is it does a fantastic job of keeping the weeds away. It’s not full proof and perfect, but for the most part, a mulch bed never has a weed problem.
There are all sorts of different mulches on the market. There’s a cypress mulch, there’s a pine bark mulch, there’s the hardwood mulch, from the hardwood trees, oaks and so forth, and the cedar mulch, among others.
I prefer cedar mulch because cedar gives you one more thing. Cedar is a natural insecticide, so now you’ve got five things if you use cedar mulch. So those were the five good reasons to mulch beds and trees.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this article. Please share this article with your friends and family. Happy Gardening!