How to Mulch a Vegetable Garden How to Mulch a Vegetable Garden

What You'll Need

It’s important to mulch a vegetable garden regularly. The mulch acts as insulation but it does a great deal more than that. By using mulch you can cut down on how often the vegetable garden needs to be watered as the mulch keep the water in the ground rather than letting it evaporate. It also helps to feed the vegetables which means they’ll grow stronger and give a greater yield.

Step 1 - Types of Mulch

You should always use organic mulch on a vegetable garden. It will break down more quickly and feed the nutrients into the soil. Organic mulch has more nutrients to offer to the soil and plants, too.

Several different things can be used as mulch and will work extremely effectively to mulch a vegetable garden. Grass clippings are excellent, as is straw. One of the very best types of mulch is lead mold. This simply means fallen leaves. They decompose into leaf mold very quickly. Leaf mold is available in the fall, for obvious reasons, but you can mulch the vegetable garden all year. Compost makes excellent mulch in a vegetable bed if you spread it over the soil. It gives excellent insulation as it tends to knit together to form a blanket.

Step 2 - Preparing

Before you apply the mulch you need to prepare the vegetable bed. Weed it very carefully as you don’t want to be mulching weeds and aiding them in their growth. Once you this is done, give the vegetable bed a good watering. It needs to be thoroughly soaked so that water reaches down into the ground to a depth of about 6 inches. For this, don’t spray the plants; instead, soak the ground around them in order to achieve the level of water that’s needed.

Step 3 - Mulching

Be very careful when spread mulch on a vegetable garden. Surround the vegetables but leave a small area of bare earth around each one. To do this, use a trowel and your hands to apply the mulch carefully. You need to build up the mulch in the vegetable bed to a depth of at least 2 inches, and possibly up to 4 inches in colder climates. Be sure to leave a small circle of soil around each plant. There’s no need to water again immediately after mulching.

Step 4 - Replenishing

You don’t need to add more mulch until most of what you’ve put on the vegetable garden has broken down. Depending on the season and the weather, this could take quite a while. You will still need to water the vegetable garden, although not as regularly as without mulch.

When you do replenish, build the mulch back up to its original level. By doing this you’re ensuring a constant supply of nutrients to the vegetables, which should eliminate the need to feed them.  You can also use compost out of the compost bin to replenish the mulch in the vegetable bed.

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