Mulches surely help a lot in cultivating fine quality crops in your vegetable garden. However, you will find a plethora of different materials you can utilize as mulches. The problem is, how can you choose the best mulch for your vegetable garden. Lucky for you, this post got you covered!
Keep in mind that there’s no single best mulch, which works well for all plants. Various plants require different growing conditions. Hence, the best approach to choosing the best mulch is very much different for various growers.
Nevertheless, you need a few considerations to remember when choosing the type of mulch to use for your specific garden plot.
Mulching is a good practice to maintain a weed-free garden. But while mulching is common for flower gardens and landscaped areas, a vegetable garden can benefit from this practice. The only reason why not all are keen to do it on a vegetable garden is that common landscaping mulches tend to be very heavy. Since beds in vegetable gardens need to be dug and planted each year, the need to remove these heavy mulches too frequently may be too much work.
The Use of Mulch in a Vegetable Garden
A vegetable garden may reap many other benefits to the practice of mulching aside from controlling weeds. A thick layer of mulch actually preserves moisture in the soil; hence water evaporation is prevented.
If this happens, one will be able to benefit from the lesser need to water the vegetable. The practice of mulching also helps keep the soil cooler hence keeping drought at bay. The practice is known to prevent several kinds of vegetable pests from coming near.
Best of all, the use of organic mulches helps add nutrients to the soil, therefore improving soil quality and offering a good source of nutrients to the growing vegetable.
Plus, none can deny that the use of mulch improves the overall look of your garden.
Some Kinds of Mulch for Vegetable Garden
Below are some of the types of mulch you can use for your vegetable garden:
One of the most readily available mulches for your garden is grass clippings. They are rich in nitrogen, hence, great as fertilizers. They are freely available, and since they are natural, then they work best for your vegetable garden.
These help in maintaining the soil moisture, and they look really clean too. Hay is also known to prevent weeds and works really well to add organic matter to the soil once it starts to break down. Just be sure to go for seed-free hay. You should also be mindful of rodents and slugs that tend to get attracted to straw and hay.
While it is best to go for organic mulch, some prefer geotextiles or what others commonly refer to as landscape fabrics. These fabrics allow air and water to go down the soil but keeps weeds from coming. They are also clean to look at. The only problem is that geotextile tends to degrade fast; hence you will have to use a second mulch sooner.
You can mulch your vegetable garden with black plastic film. This material allows the sun’s rays to go beneath the soil, which makes the soil warmer. Because the plastic film is waterproof, it protects the fruits from rotting and prevents the growth of weed.
When is the Best Time to Mulch?
The rule of thumb is to mulch your garden during spring. But you can add it to your garden anytime you like. You simply have to remove any established weed first before putting your mulch. By doing these, you can ensure your mulching effort’s success so you can have a weed-free garden with well-established plants.
What Crop Do You Plan to Grow?
The type of much you will use depend on the crops you want to grow. You will find two types of mulch. The organic ones include shredded leaves, compost, cardboard, newspaper, and straw. The inorganic ones include garden fabrics, gravel stones, plastic, and more.
Do you have heat-loving crops? Then you can use plastic mulch, as it raises the temperature of your soil. However, you need to be extra careful that plastic isn’t permeable to water, even though they’re a good deterrent for weed growth.
Do you have cool-loving plants? Then make sure you stay away from utilizing plastic as mulch. It’s better to utilize shredded newspapers or leaves, as they reduce the soil’s temperature.
What Soil Type Do You Have?
Do you have heavy and wet soil? Then your plants won’t benefit from a moisture-retentive mulch. What’s more, neither should you utilize a plastic mulch in a sandy type of soil because water won’t seep through. It’s recommended to utilize plastic mulch for clay-soil type and shredded newspapers or leaves for sandy soil.