Mulching The Vegetable Garden

Mulching The Vegetable Garden

The vegetable garden is growing “like a weed”, in fact its growing a few of them too! I’m really pleased with the progress of most of the garden so far. There are a couple beds that need some attention but I have almost all the beds mulched with a hardwood mulch to keep most of the weeds at bay and moisture in the soil. Mulching your garden will save you all kinds of time and aggravation over the course of the summer. If you don’t do it now, you will wish you did! I was tempted to go with pine needles this year but never got around to gathering some. Any organic mulch will work. Organic mulches break down over time and gradually improve the soil which for me makes them vastly superior to plastic mulches and gravel mulches. The only downside is you have to replace them when they breakdown, but then they are feeding the soil, so it’s worth it in the end!

Here are a few things to think about when mulching your raised beds:

  • Use an organic mulch like pine straw, straw, leaves, grass clippings, or a hardwood mulch. 
  • Avoid the colored mulches. I did that last year and didn’t see any benefit. I don’t know if they have harmful chemicals in them or not but they are a little more expensive.
  • Put your irrigation system (soaker hoses and drip lines) under the mulch. Keeping the hoses under the mulch keeps the water under the mulch which reduces evaporation. More water to the plants root systems means more vegetables for you. That’s always a good thing!
  • If you choose to use a plastic mulch (I prefer organic) put your irrigation system in first so it can go underneath the mulch. 
  • If you use grass clippings make sure you are using them from non-chemically treated lawns and from grass that hasn’t gone to seed. Unless you like fescue in with your tomatoes, I don’t!

If you haven’t gotten your mulch down yet it’s time to start, things are only going to get warmer here in Tennessee!


Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 4 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Mulching really does help in the veggie garden! I don’t have to use nearly as much water on my patch, and anyway the plants just grow deeper roots to find it for themselves.

  2. I am going to try mulching this. What exactly is “plastic” mulch? We actually have pine wood shavings that we take out of our chicken coop and mix into our compost. We usually wait a few months before using it so the nitrogen doesn’t kill the plants.

  3. I didn’t think to mulch the veggie garden beds. That’s a good idea, it would have the same benefits as it does for my ornamental beds. Duh! 😉

  4. I've never mulched the vegetable garden because I have so many earwigs and slugs.Just gives them more places to hide, not to mention box elder beetles *shivers* This year I bought cedar mulch.Maybe i should try it on the veggies?

  5. Mulching with wheat straw last year kept all weeds out of the veggie garden. I used the hay bales from my fall display and then recycled it into the garden as mulch! Served two purposes…

  6. I'm a big fan on mulch, I use grass clippings, straw and I really love sweet peat.

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