7 Organic Mulches for the Vegetable Garden

Organic mulches can help your vegetable garden retain moisture, inhibit weeds, and promote soil health. Consider these seven types.  


Straw is cheap, readily available, and easy to spread, making it a popular vegetable garden mulch. It breaks down slowly, benefiting the soil over time.  

Clippings of grass  

Regular lawn mowing can turn grass clippings into vegetable garden mulch. Be sure the grass hasn't been treated with herbicides or chemicals that could harm your plants.  


Fallen leaves mulch well. Shredding them with a lawn mower or leaf shredder speeds decomposition and prevents matting. Due of their faster decomposition, deciduous tree leaves are favored.  


Finished compost is a superb mulch and soil supplement. As it breaks down, it enriches soil and retains moisture.  

Bark Shreds  

Bark mulch is durable and appealing. Hardwood bark breaks down slower than softwood bark, so look for shredded bark. Fresh wood chips can bind nitrogen in the soil as they decay.  

Pine Straw  

Pine straw is needles from pine trees. As an acid, it works well with acid-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers. Lightweight, spreadable, and slow-decomposing.  

Paper or Cardboard

A layer of newspaper or cardboard under other mulches can reduce weeds. Wet them well before applying mulch to hold them in place and promote decomposition.  


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