Good quality hardwood bark is made from 100 percent tree bark from trees like oak, maple, cherry hickory and birch trees.
It is not chemically treated, has no dyes added to enhance the color and contains no ground up pallets which unfortunately is a common practice. The colors can vary by the blend of trees used in the mulch from a deep rich brown to light brown in color.
Hardwood bark can be purchased in various sizes from many garden supply outlets. If you have a sawmill close by it is probably available in bulk.
Coarse-ground types retain their use longer than the fine-ground types. It also adheres nicely to the ground, keeping it from being washed away by the rain.
The finer grade mulch, often labeled as double or triple shredded is more effective at stifling weeds.
Mulch is used for insulating the ground, weed control and adding aesthetic value to the landscape.
Barks in general, including hardwood bark contains a great deal more nutrition for your plants than other wood products like wood chips. As it decomposes it does add some value to the soil in your garden.
However, while hardwood bark decomposes faster than the bark from softwoods they are still most useful around the vegetable garden rather than in it.
Using this bark for paths and other non growing areas will give it time to decompose to the point it can be added to the veggie garden as soil conditioning organic matter.
While not the best option for growing vegetable seedlings, well decomposed hardwood bark is a good component for other potted plants and flowers.
Hardwood bark can be found at any local nursery or garden store, major retailers with garden centers also carry several varieties of mulch. Read the label carefully, hardwood bark mulch, and hardwood mulch, are not the same product.
Any mulch that has been dyed to enhance the color is usually derived from shredded pellets and other wood products, not bark. It has no place in the vegetable garden if you are wanting to add it to the garden later on.