Mulch Your Way to A More Successful Garden


Tracy LynnAs spring turns into summer, more and more folks are working hard to get their gardens planted. Tilling up plots and planting seeds, they hope their gardens will overflow with tomatoes, melons, and squash.

Gardening is one of those summer pastimes that many of us enjoy, but if we are not careful, can quickly turn into frustration and overwhelm. Frustration comes in the form of wilting and weak plants and overwhelm from a garden with more weeds than tomatoes. To help combat both of these outcomes, I like to take a few extra steps while planting my garden to keep roots from drying out and those pesky weeds from taking over.

Mulching is nothing new to most folks. Where we live, piles of bark mulch can be seen in most, if not all, suburban yards. When you tweak things just a bit and take that mulch to your vegetable garden—that’s where the magic really happens.

We are, in a sense, looking for the same outcome from mulch as ornamental gardeners. We want to lock moisture in and keep weeds out. However, since we are dealing with food, we need to be a bit careful when choosing what to mulch with.

Let’s start with the basics.


7/9/2019 4:42:10 AM

I learned the hard way, Dave and dove in head first to gardening. I was so overwhelmed that first year and have found that by scaling back I am better able to keep things weeded and mulched much easier. I know what you mean by the chemicals and living in the country using our own materials is definitely a plus! Glad you enjoyed the article! Tracy Lynn

6/13/2019 4:31:03 AM

Mathew, good for you to get started even though it's just a couple beds. Many years ago, I started with just one such bed which over the years has expanded from that one bed in the back hard to 12 beds on a vacant lot that I purchased and three more in the backyard with a bucket garden on the backyard patio. Starting small is very wise. ***** I have another vacant lot that's just for grass clipping mulch. It is important that chemical free mulch goes on the garden. There's plenty of yard waste in my urban neighborhood but all the yards are dowsed in chemicals six times a year to keep the grass in pristine condition. There again I don't dump chemicals on my lawn so I can use the grass clippings on the garden. Actually, my lawn doesn't really look all that different that the chemical drenched lawns that surround me. ***** Have a great day with your new garden beds. ***** Nebraska Dave ***** Urban Farmer

6/12/2019 1:13:11 PM

What I am doing this year for our garden is first mixing in some composted cow manure in the soil, then laying down a layer of WeedGuard Plus with fertilizer (paper mulch) as a weed barrier, then cutting holes in the weed barrier and planting peppers and tomatoes and then adding a layer of mulch around the tomatoes and peppers. This is the first time I have done this and my mom said it looks great! She said we should have done this years ago! lol So far I only got the Peppers planted. I had to "till" the ground by hand using a hoe and a Garden Weasel and was only able to do 2 little 3' x 8' beds. I would have used our Rototiller to do the whole garden, but that is broke down and we could not get it repaired and we did not have the money to do raised beds. I did want to at least one raised bed, But something came up. Maybe next year! Hopefully we will have our Rototiller fixed! lol One thing you have to watch out for when you purchase mulch is what species of wood the mulch contains or You can even make your own mulch but be very careful which trees you use to make mulch from. Why? Some trees contain toxins that stunt the growth of other plants or even kill other plants. One that I know of is Black Walnut trees. We have a lot of those around and on our property. You can buy organic certified mulch which should not use any of the wood species that are harmful to your garden plants and are free of harmful chemicals.

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters