Mulching vegetables like cucumbers is a common practice. A cucumber plant needs a perennially wet soil bed, as the shortest of dry spells can harm it. Cucumber is one of the rare plants that react well to a combined mulching approach, i.e. organic mulching supplemented with plastic mulching.
Organic mulch ensures that the soil bed around the base of the cucumber plant is always moisturized. You should ensure a 4-inch thick layer of organic mulch around cucumbers throughout the year. The mulch shouldn't be in direct contact with the stem. This could cause rotting and promote internal waterlogging. Ensure that the mulch is at least 2-inches away from the stem. Organic mulch is recommended because it also acts as a natural weed prevention method. Garden waste such as shed or chopped leaves, pruned branches, pine straw and even hay can be used as organic mulch. You shouldn't mulch when the soil bed is excessively wet. Straw mulch is effective in discouraging garden pests like slugs and cucumber beetles.
Supplementing Organic Mulch
Organic mulching can be supplemented with short intervals of retailed, plastic mulches. The ideal time to use black plastic mulch is the early part of spring. After the plastic mulch has been maintained for two to three months, it should be removed and replaced with organic mulch. This alternating mulch system is regarded as most effective for cucumbers. Using plastic mulch during the summer season should be avoided. The plastic ingredients tend to decompose quickly in summer, becoming a breeding ground for squash bugs.