Finding the best mulch for your vegetable garden is essential in helping your crops grow quicker, stronger, and with bigger and better yields.
Mulch comes in a variety of forms, including grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, and bark. The best mulch will also help improve your soil moisture, regulate its temperature, improve fertility, and its appearance.
Mulch also helps reduce painful garden weeds and a variety of pests too. It’s safe to say mulch is the best friend of a vegetable gardener!
But with so much choice, you might wonder how do you decide which is the best mulch for your needs? What mulch will help strengthen your vegetables?
We’ve picked 10 high-quality products that offer the perfect cover for your vegetable garden’s needs. Whether you’re growing carrots, potatoes, onions, and more, we’re confident the below recommendations will increase your yield tenfold.
The Top 10 Best Mulches for Vegetable Garden:
1. Dr. Earth All Purpose Compost
The truth is in the name as this compost from Dr. Earth has all the potential to create the perfect growing conditions for your vegetables.
From improving soil quality and growing conditions, the results of using this compost are healthier plants, which grow to their potential and yield richer produce.
We particularly love how this organic mulch is made. Rich in green-fed earthworm castings, valley grown alfalfa meal, cold water kelp meal, and a plethora of organic nutrients, this compost is 100% natural.
Dr. Earth’s compost can meet a variety of your garden’s needs, including as standard mulch, to help break up clay soil, and to also improve your soil’s overall texture.
Beneficial soil microbes including mycorrhizae further help your vegetables thrive and will no doubt take any stress away in feeding and caring for your crop.
As well as for your vegetable patch, this compost can be also used for a variety of garden projects including flowers, over-seeding lawns, and planting trees and shrubs. The perfect investment for all your gardening needs!
2. EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack
This biodegradable, organic processed straw is another fine choice for a vegetable garden mulch.
One of the most impressive features of this mulch is the tackifier. Tackifier is a bonding agent that allows the straw to hold together, improving its strength and protecting grass seeds from wind and wash-out.
Simply leave the straw in place after the seed grows. This natural bonding agent is also biodegradable meaning there is absolutely no clean up required to using it.
As with all mulch, it feeds the soil as it degrades. The straw will also help protect seeds from birds and other animals, helping to maintain seed numbers and speed up germination. 99% weed-free, applying the mulch is incredibly easy given the straw is cut twice and processed.
The result is a healthy garden that requires less watering and maintenance. It’s safe for both children and pets, and the bag is UV protected and can be stored outside – a bonus we think you’ll enjoy.
This mulch is an ideal choice for all your vegetable needs including planting seeds and preventing both soil erosion.
3. Longleaf Pine Straw
A sustainable mulch from tree farms and made 100% natural pine straw, this pine straw is an effective mulch for any vegetable garden.
We particularly love the eco-friendly ingredients used in the formula of this mulch. Longleaf pine needles are an environmentally friendly alternative to wood mulches, as no trees are harmed or cut down.
The pine needles used are harvested after needles fall to the ground. The mulch arrives loose, is easy to store, and is cleaned before packaging.
Less debris included means there’s more value to this mulch in every pack. It covers over 100 sq. ft. and manages 2-3 inches of depth, which is ideal for many vegetable garden needs.
Longleaf pine straw is considered a premium straw due to its extremely long needles (14 inches). Similar to many organic mulches, it is useful in regulating soil moisture, soil temperature, and preparing the soil for upcoming cold winter weather and drying winds.
It’s an ideal mulch for elevating your vegetable patch, as it helps grow stronger plants with higher quality yields. It also has a lovely, natural appearance that can be used to improve the aesthetics of your vegetable garden.
4. Blommer Cocoa Shell Mulch
This cocoa shell mulch will have your vegetable garden looking healthy, strong, and smelling divine.
Cocoa mulch is particularly helpful in improving soil vitality. The brown color is also very attractive and can dramatically improve the appearance of any vegetable patch.
Made up of the outside shell of the cocoa bean, this mulch admits and retains water, but never becomes soggy – the perfect solution for gardeners who find it taxing to manage watering plants.
Cocoa mulch also helps regulate soil temperature, keeping it warm in winter and cooler in the summer months. It also is effective in keeping pesky weeds at bay by limiting their access to sunlight.
If you want a vegetable patch which smells as divine as the crops it produces, along with looking spectacular, this is the organic mulch for you.
5. FibreDust CoCo Mulch
Made from crushed coconut husks, this mulch has a huge number of benefits that will drastically improve the quality and health of your vegetable garden.
Cocoa mulch is especially useful for sloped surfaces, as it does not float. After hydration, each block expands to about 2 cubic feet of mulching medium, giving you incredible value and longevity.
Because of its high lignin content, this coco mulch will also outlast competitor bark mulch and can give you up to 3 years of benefits without needing to refresh it.
This mulch is safe for pets and children. We also like that this mulch does not attract additional insects, meaning you won’t have to invest in pesticides or monitor your plants for damage; the perfect vegetable mulch.
The rust color of this mulch can also dramatically improve the color of your landscape, all the while adding nutrients to your vegetables. A win-win situation for any gardener!
6. Charlie’s Compost
Charlies Compost is a stable, mature compost packed full of microbial life and nutrients which will improve the fertility and health of your vegetable garden.
Ingredients to this mulch include chicken manure, corn stalks, straw, forest products, hay, clay, and benefit microbe inoculants. This variety ensures a multitude of benefits to your vegetables.
You might be wondering, why should you consider using chicken manure? Chicken manure has the highest amounts of nitrogen, which gives plants their green, leafy glow.
Chicken manure also contains higher levels of phosphorus and potassium than any other animal manures.
Chicken manure also contains helpful bacteria that break down organic matter. The high nutritional value of this organic mulch means it is particularly effective for vegetables and soil recovering from cold, winter weather, or nutrient deficiency.
The results? Strong nutrients will transform every crop in your vegetable garden, with yields being bigger and arriving quicker than expected!
7. Envelor Organic Coco Coir Briquettes
With excellent moisture rendition, this organic mulch ensures vegetable crops grow healthy and yields arrive quickly.
These coconut coir briquettes are made with sustainable cocoa husk particles and fibers. With a neutral pH value, they result in stronger roots and faster plant growth.
These coco bricks also have a highly permeable, fibrous texture which allows for greater aeration and moisture drainage. Excellent moisture retention makes it an ideal potting soil for hydroponics, container gardening, and landscaping.
Not only that, but it will also reduce water bills, making this organic mulch both cost-effective and environmentally beneficial.
The porous texture equally makes this mulch a great choice for vegetable crops in pots too. This mulch can also be used as a soil amendment to improve soil’s physical appearance and chemical makeup.
The briquettes are low in natural salt, and with a balanced pH and minimal odor, this is an ideal mulch to stimulate plant growth in a healthy and fast way.
Like many organic mulches, expect to find fewer weeds among your crops and leaves to have more vibrancy and growth.
We love that the instructions for using this mulch are incredibly simple, allowing you to get to work straight away. Just add 1 gallon of warm water to gradually expand the blocks!
8. Cedar Mulch Granules
Made from 100% organic cedar trees, this mulch is a natural alternative to safeguarding your garden from destructive insects including fleas, ants, mites, and mosquitoes.
This mulch can repel insects for up to 8 weeks, in an environmental-friendly way. Not only that, this organic mulch doesn’t harm the many beneficial insects you want to visit your garden, including pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Whilst being an insect repellent, this mulch is still very safe for plants, children, and pets alike. Ingredients are naturally-sourced, plant-based, and non-GMO. Ingredients are also highly refined, making the mulch more hypoallergenic and skin-safe!
This mulch covers up to 3,500 sq. ft. and will meet the needs of a variety of garden sizes and types. Like many organic mulches, the cedar granules will also help limit weeds throughout your plants and help protect seeds from extreme weather.
By enhancing your vegetable garden’s appearance, smell, and its resistances to harm, your crops will flourish from the very start and throughout the growing year.
9. Spongease Coconut Coir Compressed Block
Made from pith and coconut husk fiver, this mulch makes for the perfect potting soil for all your vegetable’s needs.
Washed multiple times to achieve a near-neutral pH, this block will suit any type of plant you want to grow. The coco fiber in particular helps plants absorb many more nutrients, so expect quick and strong growth from the start.
Light and fluffy, this coconut coir provides vital oxygen to the roots of your plants, allowing them to take hold and grow even faster – a perfect mulch for springtime.
The sponge-like properties of coconut fiber allow it to absorb up to 10 times its’ weight in water. Unique microscopic tubes that fill allow excess water to pass through.
This creates air space, providing vital oxygen to plant roots. Increased oxygen and efficient and effective drainage mean plant roots will take hold stronger, and the plant itself will grow quickly and firmly.
This organic mulch is made from renewable coconut husks, an abundant resource, and so is the perfect choice for an environmentally conscious gardener. Suitable for home and commercial gardening, be it for growing vegetables, fruits and berries, landscape plants, and more.
10. Super Moss (01500) HeirBloom Coco Mulch, Mini Bale (0.6 ft3)
Promising to grow bigger plants with more bloom and fruits, this coco mulch is long-lasting, easy to use, and free from soil-borne diseases.
This mulch will keep nasty pests such as slugs and weeds away from your growing plants too, allowing them to thrive in peace. It does so by promoting strong, vigorous root growth in your plants.
This mulch also specializes in moisture-locking and can absorb 33% more water to prevent harmful conditions such as root rot in your plants.
The mulch will not harden or reject water like standard peat soils. With improved water efficiency, you can reduce the cost of watering plants with no penalty to their health.
What kind of plants does this mulch suit best? Being pH neutral, this mulch is well suited for a variety of plants, from hanging baskets to indoor potting and more. And given its natural pest-control, it can easily help your outdoor vegetable garden thrive.
The mulch itself is easy to store. These eco-friendly bales can be kept hassle-free for years and become hydrated in a matter of minutes.
Why Use Mulch in Your Vegetable Garden?
Mulch is a layer of material that gardeners apply to the surface of the soil. Mulch layers are usually 2 inches thick and will help your vegetable garden in several ways, including:
Retain soil moisture – mulch forms a layer above the soil, this helps limit water evaporation from direct sunlight.
Regulate temperature – a layer of mulch can help retain heat, especially during the colder nighttime.
Nutrients/Fertilizers – many mulches contain essential nutrients for plants which can help them grow stronger. Mulch can also help replenish nutrient-deprived soil by breaking down over long periods.
Reduces weeds – mulch can help limit weeds by creating a layer above the seed of a weed. This prevents the weed from receiving any sunlight and thus stops germination.
Weather protection – a layer of mulch can also give protection to seeds from direct sunlight and wind.
What Are the Different Types of Organic Mulch?
There are several different types of mulch to choose from. Each comes with its benefits and appearance to suit a variety of needs.
Bark mulch, for example, comes in a variety of different sizes and is a great mulch for insulating your soil, as it is both thick and hardy. As it decomposes, it can also help improve your soil’s fertility.
Cocoa mulch is a popular, organic mulch. It gives off a very sweet smell and is visually very attractive in many garden or vegetable patches. Cocoa mulch also provides great nutrition to your plants.
Straw mulch is another popular mulch as it holds moisture very well and regulates the temperature of the soil efficiently. It’s also a very nice color than other mulch, offering gardeners more choice!
Animal manure comes with a host of nutrients and helpful bacteria that help promote plant growth and the quality of the soil in your vegetable garden. Chicken manure is often cited as the most nutritious manure mulch.
Lastly, compost mulch is a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly way to improve your vegetable garden’s produce. It relies on using food and garden waste to resupply the soil with nutrients. Many commercial compost products are specifically designed to maximize nutrients and so are a great choice for environmentally conscious gardeners.
Organic vs Inorganic Mulch
Organic mulches, like the products we have mentioned above, are natural materials usually made up of plants or byproducts of animals.
They decompose over some time, with many releasing vital nutrients back into the soil for plants to absorb and benefit from. While organic mulch will eventually need to be replaced, it is a great way of recycling natural materials back into the environment.
There is a huge variety in the different types of organic mulch you can buy. This gives you greater flexibility in finding a suitable mulch for your plant’s needs.
Whilst many organic mulches offer a host of benefits, some focus specifically on core features including providing nutrition, whilst others on pest-control.
Some organic mulches emphasize appearance and smell, while others strengthen plant roots and stems.
Synthetic or inorganic mulch are non-natural or human-made materials, such as rubber, plastic, and fabric. They are a lot more straightforward in that they serve fewer purposes.
Some people prefer inorganic mulch because of its appearance, low maintenance, and because it is longer-lasting.
Overall, we think that organic mulch will benefit your vegetables much more than inorganic mulch. The additional nutrients will act as a fertilizer, and with a host of other additional benefits, crops will grow quicker, healthier, and bigger.
When Is The Best Time to Add Mulch?
It’s always a good idea to plan when you will add mulch to your vegetable garden. Planning allows you time to buy your supplies and maximum the mulch’s impact.
Whilst each product will have recommendations on when to add mulch that you should follow, there are two seasons in particular in which you should be mindful of to give you a general idea:
Spring – adding mulch in spring will help prevent weeds from growing in direct competition with your crops. This is also a great time to add slow-release nutrients for your seeds and soil to absorb, giving crops a head-start in establishing themselves before summertime.
Fall – adding mulch in fall helps protect soil from the upcoming harsh, cold weather of wintertime and of drying winds. It can also help prepare your vegetable garden for the new year by gradually improving soil quality and fertility in the lead up to new seeds being sowed.
Organic mulch is essential in creating a healthy, strong, and bountiful vegetable garden.
Great for the environment and your crops, organic mulch revitalizes soil and prevents harmful things like weeds, extreme weather, and pests from destroying your crops and your hard work.
Not only that but by helping to regulate everything from temperate to water, organic mulch can decrease the amount of time you will have to spend maintaining your garden.
It stands to reason that choosing the best vegetable garden mulch is a very important part of developing your vegetable garden. From our list of recommendations above, however, we are confident there is an option suited to your garden’s needs.
From compost and straw to cocoa shells and animal manure, each one will help elevate your garden’s health, progress, and yield, leaving more time for you to enjoy your bounty.