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Old 04-26-2011, 06:31 PM
 
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What is the best mulch to use around plants in a vegetable garden?
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:12 PM
 
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I don't know! I'd love to see other answers.

I'm using compost as mulch this year.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:25 PM
 
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I like to use compost covered in straw. The straw makes a clean bed for squash, tomatoes, etc.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
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I'm a beginner vegetable gardener, but I have a book. I've actually had the book for years, but it's my first year planting a vegetable garden, so I finally decided to read it. If I remember, I'll post the name/author when I get home. It's about growing fruits and vegetables, and there's a section for each fruit/veggie. There's also a general section about soil preparation, pests etc.

Anyway, the book says that "grass clippings" make good mulch because the clippings break down in a way that does not leach nitrogen from the soil. I guess it's good as long as you mow often enough to ensure there aren't dandelion seeds in the clippings.

Hope that helps.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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There's really no "best" mulch. It depends on what you use the mulch for--is it primarily to keep weeds down? If so, landscape fabric is most effective. It's also very effective for warming the soil. But it doesn't add any nutritional value or soil structure, so if that's what you want then an organic mulch is better.

Pretty much any organic plant matter will be effective, but obviously some materials break down faster than others. Grass clippings are great, but not if the lawn has been treated with chemicals. Hay/straw works fine too, but they can have seeds. Leaf mulch is also great--breaks down quickly, and provides lots of nutrients.

I've read studies about leaching nitrogen, and it seems this is way overblown. First, the mulch generally sits on top of the soil, so it's not even an issue until it gets tilled into the soil. Second, the leaching effect is slight, and is more than outweighed by the benefits of mulching and adding organic matter to the soil. Besides, even if you do experience low nitrogen levels, it's easily corrected with a shot of fertilizer. So I wouldn't worry so much about what type of mulch you use--just go with what you like.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Tampa Bay Area
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Depends where you live, what's available and what's cheap.

For me I use pine straw to in a feeble attempt to fight alkalinity.

I also use vinyl lattice as it keep a 90 pound black lab loveable pest out of veggie beds. Does that qualify as a mulch?
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
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BTW the book I have is the Barnes and Noble Fruits and Vegetables guide from 2003. It seems pretty good, but there's a section where they discuss the pawpaw, and have a photo of...a papaya.
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