Plenty of homeowners love mulch. If you don’t use mulch, you can’t control the weeds. Shrubs and fruit trees use mulch made from wood chips or bark. Perennial beds use compost or cocoa shells. But when it comes to the best mulch for a vegetable garden, mulching gets complicated.
Deciding the Best Mulch for a Vegetable Garden
Over the years, newspapers, burlap, leaves, and oat straw have performed as vegetable garden mulch. Oak straw looks excellent but is pricey. A newspaper blows around and looks messy.
Burlap is effective. The material goes over the newspaper. If you use leaves, most of them will blow away. Research shows that mulch may increase growth by at least 25%. It’s worth considering other options.
Selecting the Right Mulch
Not all vegetable plants have the same growing specifications. For example, eggplant, peppers, and melons are excellent with black plastic mulch. Used at the beginning of spring, the plastic increases soil temperatures and aid in warming the air circulating the plants.
However, many plastic mulches don’t let water inside. This process means that as the season moves forward, your plants might go thirsty. Insufficient moisture can harm your plants, creating blossom-end decay on veggies, and reducing your harvest.
Cool-weather vegetables, like kale and broccoli, don’t need the additional heat from plastic mulch. These veggies do better with leaves or straw.
If you reside in a warm area, use plastic mulch cautiously. Elevated soil temperatures can stress your plants. In hot weather, many crops might be more beneficial with a soil-cooling mulch like straw or shredded leaves. On the other hand, if you live where the summertime is damp and chilly, using a moisture-absorbing mulch can be catastrophic.
Be sure to let the soil warm and dry out a bit before putting on a layer of soil-cooling mulch. Based on where you reside, this could mean waiting until June or July. Consider using plastic mulch during the early springtime. It will increase the soil temps as well as aid in drying out the soil.
Consider your garden’s soil conditions before choosing a mulch. Many veggie plants don’t fare well in wet, thick soil. So, be sure not to cover up with a mulch that is moisture retentive.
Contact Tampa Tree Service for more suggestions on vegetable garden mulch.