Mulch refers to material that is laid on the soil where plants are growing to cover it. It is done for the following reasons; retain soil moisture, eliminate weeds, improve soil fertility, and enhance the aesthetics of the garden. The best mulching method for a raised vegetable garden must not impede the growth of plants here. If you’re one of the people who want to take charge of what goes into their mouths but don’t know what the best mulch for a raised vegetable garden is, this article will help you. Let us see some of the mulches currently in the garden sphere.
1) Grass clippings
Grass clippings are typically waste matter from mowing lawns or fields. However, they can be used in a vegetable garden in two main ways. These are fresh grass and dried grass. Fresh grass will add moisture to the soil. It will also help in cooling while replenishing nutrients in the ground. Grass clippings are the best mulch for a raised vegetable garden where grass fields are extensive. Dried grass clippings are more effective at decomposition hence give off more nutrients faster. They also keep the soil cool but to a lesser extent than fresh grass.
- Grass mulch keeps the soil cool
- It adds nutrients to the plants
- Aids in water retention by the soil
- Completely organic hence it is eco friendly
- It is a very cheap mulch solution.
- Decomposes easily in the soil releasing nutrients quickly
- Decomposing fresh grass gives off an odor
- Grass could potentially attract toads
- Needs to be replenished as it decomposes at a fast rate
2) Sawdust and wood chips
Sawdust and wood chips are undoubtedly the most common mulch being used in vegetable gardens in the world right now. Sawdust and wood chips come from different trees, and they are formed in different shapes and sizes. Minerals and nutrients in this mulch are easily leached in the soil and at a fast rate. The sawdust keeps the earth cool too. Sawdust and wood chips are the best mulch for a vegetable garden where pets walkthrough.
- Nutrients are easily leached into the soil.
- They are easily compatible as size can be pre-determined
- Supply specific nutrients directly to the soil
- Eco-friendly and completely organic
- They would need to be replenished often as they decompose at a fast rate
- Sawdust and wood chips are relatively pricey for organic mulches
- Might harbor harmful pests
3) Tree and bush leaves
Fallen leaves from trees and bushes are an excellent organic mulch, especially when they are shredded into small pieces. They can also be applied as mulch whole. Like grass, leaves can be used fresh or dried, depending on the gardener’s preference. In raised vegetable gardens, they would give a natural green look to the area. They are the best mulch for a healthy vegetable raised garden by decomposing and providing nutrients to the soil. Bush leaves can also be collected and applied in the same ways as above. What an excellent way to dispose of leaves instead of burning them.
- Give the garden a natural outlook
- Improve the fertility of the soil
- It’s an easy way to dispose of leaves
- Helps in water retention by the soil
- Might need to be supplemented with additional nutrients
- Fresh leaf litter may form a slimy layer due to the moisture within
4) Rocks or gravel
Rocks or gravel are inorganic mulch that is more commonly used in vegetable gardens in the suburbs or even urban areas. They are most effective in aiding water retention. Rock mulch is the best mulch for a raised vegetable garden where aesthetics are necessary. Application of rock and gravel mulch is mostly made on gardens where plants with strong stems are growing to prevent damage to them. However, they absorb the suns heat and make the soil too hot and dry for plants. They do not increase the fertility of the soil since they are inorganic and do not decompose, but are the best mulch for a vegetable garden of drought-resistant plants.
- Make the garden look more beautiful
- Increase the water retention ability of the soil
- They are long-lasting as they don’t decompose
- Help in suppressing weeds in the garden
- Useful for mulching drought-resistant plants
- They do not add any nutritional value to the soil
- Damage the stems of plants if applied carelessly
- Very pricey to obtain these rocks
5) Rubber mulch
Recycled tires are made into rubber mulch by shredding and cutting them into tiny pieces. Although they are inorganic, they do have their upsides. For one, rubber mulch comes in different colors hence make the garden beautiful. Rubber mulch is the best for a raised vegetable garden where people like to walk through. It is also useful in aiding water retention and generally keeps the soil cool to some extent. Rubber mulch can also effectively suppress weeds in the garden. It’s also not a conventional means of mulching, and this makes the garden look unique.
- Highly effective in suppressing weeds
- Makes the vegetable gardens very beautiful
- Helps the soil in water retention
- Keeps the ground cool to some extent
- Lasts long as it does not decompose
- An excellent way to recycle old tires
- Might release toxic chemicals in the soil
- Inorganic and does not decompose
- Adds no nutrients in the soil
- May contain flammable contents
In the search for the best mulch for a raised vegetable garden, we have come up with the examples mentioned above. Their boons and banes have been objectively discussed in-depth too. Deciding as to which is the best of the above comes down to checking and rechecking the pros and cons of each. As a result, the best mulch for a garden in a raised bed has to be grass mulch. In addition to being organic, it is readily available and relatively the cheapest option of all. Also, it is readily available in the home and in huge amounts too.