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The Benefits Of Garden Mulch

Photo of garden mulch material Straw is only one of the many materials
used for mulching

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Mulch is defined as, any material, either organic or synthetic, which is placed on the soil around plants to reduce the effect of moisture loss and to control weeds and erosion. While synthetic mulch is readily available from most garden centers, with the exception of black plastic sheeting, it is seldom used in the home vegetable garden because organic mulches offer many benefits, including the addition of organic matter and nutrients, to the garden that synthetic mulches do not.

Benefit Of Organic Mulch

  • Conserves soil moisture - Suppresses weeds
  • Moderates the soil temperature - Reduces plant stress
  • Eventually decomposes adding organic matter to garden
  • Maintains dry surface for garden traffic - Reduces soil erosion
  • Provides barrier reducing soil rot on vegetables - Aesthetically Pleasing

Disadvantages Of Mulching Gardens

Every system has its disadvantages, and mulching is no exception. Because mulching creates a living eco-system unfortunately it can also provide some of the less plant friendly members a very nice home. A slight change of tactic, like growing plants bigger before planting or using protection for vulnerable plant might be necessary to outwit these less desirable creatures.

Organic Materials For Vegetable Mulch

Some of the more common organic materials used for mulching are in the table below.

Common Organic Materials Used For Garden Mulch
AlfalfaBuckwheat HullsCardboard
FeathersHayLawn Clippings
LeavesMushroom CompostNewspaper
Pine NeedlesRice HullsSawdust
Stable-Barn beddingStrawWood Bark
Wood ChipWood Shavingsx

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More Mulch Pages

Types of mulch

Almost any type of organic material can be used for mulching in and around the vegetable garden. Follow this link to find the best uses for the many different types of organic material available.

Pine bark mulch

Pine bark mulch has quite a few uses in the garden but untill it has been well decomposed it is best keep off the vegetable garden growing areas

Pine straw mulch

Pine straw mulch is the leaf or pine needle of the pine tree. It was once believed that pine needles acidify the soil, this is a gardening myth and like all myths very hard to dispel

Paper mulch

Paper mulch including cardboard are one of the best weed suppressing mulches you can use in the vegatable garden.

Straw Mulch

Straw mulch is a by-product of harvesting grains and although it is extremely dry and mostly carbon, is one of the best and most often used organic materials for vegetable gardens.

Hardwood bark mulch

When purchasing this type of mulch read the lable properly, hardwood bark mulch, and hardwood mulch, are not usually the same product

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Gardening Resources

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