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!