Using any kind of mulch in your vegetable garden has become more and more popular and for good reasons. Thus, with something so simple as mulch you can have many benefits. From weeds suppression, water control, to garden pests control, mulch is definitely the way to go. There are two big categories of mulch: organic and inorganic ones, both safe to use in the vegetable garden. Check them out:
Organic Mulch for Your Vegetable Garden
You can obtain amazing weed control with just 2-inch layer of sawdust. This is because it contains good levels of carbon and very little nitrogen. Hence, this will be useful when you are starting the seeds. It will help keeping the moisture in.
You probably have heard about straw all over the place. Well, that is because 8-inch layer of straw will also provide fantastic weed control. This material is able to decompose quickly. This means you can do it anytime in order to keep weeds at bay. Weeds simply stays in place and the straw will improve the soil as they decay.
3. Grass clippings
You can also build up 2-inch layer of grass clippings gradually, only using dry grass. In limited quantity, clippings will decompose quickly and they will provide an extra dose of nitrogen to growing plants. However, make sure you do not use clippings from lawns because they might have been treated with herbicide. Thus, use grass clippings directly as mulch around vegetables or fruit plants, they are an excellent source of nitrogen, especially if you don’t have access to manures.
A 2 to 3 inches thick layer of leaves are the easiest to obtain, they decompose quickly and also look more attractive as a mulch. However, it will definitely improve the soil once decomposed.
A 2- to 3-inch layer of compost is a fair weed control. Most compost, however, provides a good site for weed seeds to grow. It is probably better used by incorporating it into the soil since it is an excellent soil amendment. A layer of compost may be used on overwintering beds of perennials, such as asparagus or berries, to provide nutrients and help protect crowns.
Inorganic Mulch for your Vegetable Garden
6. Black plastic
One layer of black plastic is relatively slow to decompose. Thus, you will have to replace it every two years due to sunlight which might break it down. However, as a mulch, black plastic will increase the soil temperature by about 8°F in the spring. Moreover, black plastic is easy to obtain, but is quite expensive.
Using 2 to 4 layers of newspaper is the most accessible mulch and readily available. Cover with an organic mulch to hold the paper in place. It is especially excellent using it in pathways and around newly set strawberry plants.