Mulches perform many duties in the garden by suppressing weeds, controlling water runoff, helping to control some garden pests, and also by creating a more attractive garden space. We put cardboard on the ground and let it get nice and wet and sit for a long time. You might find them similarly useful among your vegetables. When I do this, I usually see some surprised, scared pill bugs wondering where their home went. The best vegetable garden mulch is the one that works best for your plants and soil. Mulch is a wondrous substance which can be made from more or less any organic material and provides a multitude of benefits, thus fulfilling the ‘Multiple functions for Each Element’ (5) and ‘Multiple Elements for Each Function’ (6) principles. Thank you! ... Bark mulch is readily available at the store and from tree trimming services that chip up the wood they remove from people’s trees. This practice delivers countless benefits to a vegetable garden and garden beds.. A good mulch can retain temperatures in soils, prevent heat from getting into the ground in hot weather, thus retaining moisture. The most common way of using woodchips for gardening is to spread them on the ground as mulch. Sometimes experimenting in the garden leads to the perfect solution. Even where I have compost as mulch, the soil still compacts a bit. Hardwoods -- including oak, hickory and hackberry -- feature a dense structure that keeps water out and is less appetizing to wood-eating insects. Share it with your friends! Tender, new growth too soon will just result in more winter dieback. I mulch my vegetable garden differently than my flower gardens. Wood chip mulch is best for mulching trees and shrubs, perennial flowers, orchards, and for the walkways in flower and vegetable gardens. Thank you for your post and for sharing your knowledge. Read the label carefully, hardwood bark mulch, and hardwood mulch, are not the same product. Any mulch that has been dyed to enhance the color is usually derived from shredded pellets and other wood products, not bark. It is so odd, there are new blooms happening now, just like your new blog post is talking about. Back to the one downside that I’ve experienced with wood chips, that is, garden pest habitat. Of course, mulching within the rows of vegetables, right around the plants, accomplishes the same, especially if you don’t dig. Because of this, some trees are adapted to resist these threats, using plant-safe chemicals to ward off nonplant threats. The compost, on the other hand, will improve the soil fertility and structure, retain moisture, suppress weeds, etc. Organic and inorganic mulches are available as vegetable garden mulch options. But when it comes to the vegetable garden, mulching gets a bit more complicated. The main idea behind winter mulching is to keep the ground frozen by shielding it from the warmth of the sun. If you have plants that are underdeveloped or have not yet germinated do not cover with mulch. In vegetable garden pathways or in orchards, sawdust and wood chips are hard to beat as perpetual mulches (see Use Wood Mulch to Build Great Garden Soil). "Could 'moldy' straw be used as a winter mulch for vegetable garden. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes. You may have heard the advice that it’s bad to walk on your garden soil while it is wet. Goodness. […] My. It can also be harmful to people spreading this mulch and animals who dig in it. I don’t do anything with the wood chips throughout my vegetable garden except occasionally rake them back if they’re encroaching on a bed that I want to plant or that I want to spread compost on. A vegetable garden is more than just a weekend hobby. If using mulch with fine particles that are 2mm or smaller, mix it with chunkier mulch with a particle size greater than 5mm. The only field research I’ve ever seen was this cool 15-year study done over 50 years ago on a farm in New York where it was found that using wood chips as mulch on vegetables had higher yields compared to no mulch or cover crops. If you need to make your soil more acidic, pine needles will work best. Thank you! But when I haven’t let the chickens do that I haven’t noticed problems due to the grubs. Have a look at the structure of the wood-chip mulch under this cauliflower plant. I had to scrape the wood chips back farther from them and then the replants did better. Grasses can be stopped by cutting them short, then laying down a few layers of non-gloss wet newspaper, or cereal boxes, pizza boxes, or corrugated cardboard before adding the wood … I recommend that you use the chips as a mulch on paths between your garden beds or as a mulch around plants on the soil surface . I am not sure if this is kosher, but could I ask you about how to deal with Apple Tree Fire Blight here? My fruit trees and shrubs get mulched with bark or wood chips, and I mulch the perennial beds with cocoa shells or compost. Why Mulch the Garden in Winter? But which is the best vegetable mulch? Your email address will not be published. My garden has never shown a nitrogen problem after a mulch of wood chips was added. Your email address will not be published. You get water-holding capacity and fertility and no mud on shoes and cleaner lettuce, etc., but you also get the negatives above, unfortunately. This was shown clearly to me a couple of winters ago when I raked the wood chips off a path that I’d been using for years. 2) Bark Mulch or Wood Chips. If the wood chips are fine (small particle size) and you rototill them into your garden soil, they will probably tie up nitrogen and you will probably not like the results. I have used SluggoPlus but the damage continues. This gives them the ability to sit in or around the soil for months without rotting and composting. After years of gardening using raised beds, we moved to a new property and did the ‘no till’ method for the first time. Using wood mulch in your vegetable garden can be good or bad, depending on who you ask. X Wood chips can be blown around in windy areas and can start to look messy after a time. These areas are far away from the house, but your repeated warnings about wood mulches have made me cautious. This mulch comes in a hard block. I finally decided to go with a load of mulch from our tree pruner. But when it comes to the vegetable garden, mulching gets a bit more complicated. They’re mainly a problem here in spring. So much time and energy can be devoted to keeping a garden healthy and growing, and a big part of that is adding mulch.But which mulch is the right kind for your vegetable garden? Two main types of wood are available, hardwood and softwood. It is essential that wood chips be used properly. Worst and Best Wood Chip Mulch for Your Vegetable Garden. Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress. Pressure-treated wood is an alternative to naturally decay-resistant woods but should not be used in vegetable gardens because some types of pressure-treated wood contain arsenic. As a tree grows, it forms two consistencies of wood, sapwood and heartwood. This works well, but it’s not perfect because chickens don’t particularly like pill bugs. Using CCA to treat wood was banned in 2003, but many times this wood is still taken from demolitions or other sources and recycled into dyed mulches. To make … We are about to put down some small bark chips, but I wanted to run it past you first. If I leave the chickens over a bed long enough they will unearth and consume all of the grubs, no doubt. Pretty much anything you can use for mulch on the vegetable garden, you can use for herb gardens, flower gardens, and fruit trees. Then we put horse manure, organic compost and soil. I did search for Fire Blight on your blog first ;^) The vegetable garden mulch you add breaks down over time and increases the organic matter in your soil which in turn increases the amount of biological activity. Much cheaper and has a variety of wood chips, small branches and leaves. In the hot summer, you need this for garden success. Yes, I would forget about the myth of wood chips stealing nitrogen. 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