There are many ways for you to take good care of your garden, watering, applying fertilizer, catching bugs, etc. But one way to fully optimize the plants is by using mulch on top of the garden soil. However, it only works if you choose the best mulch for vegetable gardens.
In this article, we will walk you through the six top-rated options on the market to find out the right one for your needs
Here are the best mulches for vegetable garden you can buy in 2020:
- Best Overall: EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack
- Best For A Long-lasting Result: FibreDust CoCo Mulch, 11- Pounds
- Best For Spring: Hull Farm 50150
- Best For Moisture-retaining: Wood Smith USA 100% Natural Cedar Chips
- Best For Weed Control: Warps NHP350
- Best For Root Growth: Window Garden Fiber Mulch
|6 Best Mulches for Vegetable Garden|
|EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack|
Best For A Long-lasting Result
|FibreDust CoCo Mulch, 11- Pounds|
Best For Spring
|Hull Farm 50150|
Best For Moisture-retaining
|Wood Smith USA 100% Natural Cedar Chips|
Best For Weed Control
Best For Root Growth
|Window Garden Fiber Mulch|
Best Overall: EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack
- Hold together better than normal straw - a special biodegradable natural bonding agent called Tackifier
- Give better protection for seeds - prevent evaporation, speed up germination, and avoid weeds
- Able to be stored outside – UV-protected plastic packaging
- Large coverage area – 500 square feet
- A little pricey
For those medium to large vegetable gardens that have just seeded, this mulch is highly recommended.
Different from normal straw, it is held together thanks to a special biodegradable natural bonding agent called Tackifier. Therefore, the mulch brings much better protection to your seeds against animals, birds, strong wind, and heavy rain.
Besides, it prevents evaporation, meaning that less watering and faster germination.
A big bonus for its package which is made of UV protected plastic so it can be stored outdoors with no problems.
|EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack Specifications|
2.5 CU FT
Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack
500 sq. ft.
A special biodegradable natural bonding agent called Tackifier
The EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch is the best overall performer in our list. It’s simple to use, easy to store, prevent seeds from being eaten, washed out, or flown away, and more.
Best For A Long-lasting Result: FibreDust CoCo Mulch, 11- Pounds
- Plant-friendly – 100% coconut husks with no additives
- Ideal for mulching sloped areas – not float
- Convenient to use – not attract insects
- Not recommended for those gardeners who also have dogs - Toxic to dogs
- A bit costly for the amount
This mulch comes in a compressed block of 11 pounds, which is neat to store and move around. It is made completely of coconut husk with NO additives and because of that, the mulch lasts very long – up to 3 years with no requirement of refreshing.
The biggest selling point is it’s much better than the bark mulch which commonly floats, especially under the rains. This doesn’t and it can be used on sloped vegetable gardens with peace in mind.
Not to say that it gives a nice rust-like color on the ground, adding to your garden some extra aesthetics. What we like the most is it doesn’t attract insects at all.
Each 11-pound bag of mulch is enough for two cubic feet of area, which is great for small gardens.
|FibreDust CoCo Mulch, 11- Pounds Specifications|
100% Coconut husk
6 square feet of coverage at 2" depth, or 4 square feet at 3" depth
100% coconut husks with no additives
We love using this mulch in a small low-maintenance garden because it’s 100% organic, long-lasting, and doesn’t float.
Best For Spring: Hull Farm 50150
- Keep water and prevent weeds efficiently – made 100% of cocoa shell
- Long-lasting and money-saving – up to 6 months
- Not burning vegetables - the fertilizer ratio of 2.5-1-3
- Turn to mushy looking stuff under regular heavy rains
- Attract fungus gnats
The reason we greatly suggest this mulch for spring and summer use is because of its material. 100% organic, it is made from the outer shell of the cocoa bean, known for exceptional weed reduction and water conservation.
Cocoa shell, on the other hand, doesn’t disappear into the soil as other types of mulch as it breaks down very slowly (4 to 6 months), therefore, you don’t have to refresh it too regularly and save more.
What makes us very rest assured to use it is the fertilizer ratio - 2.5-1-3, which is very ideal for mulching without burning the veggies.
The biggest bonus is it keeps cats from peeing in your vegetable garden because they don’t like walking on the shells.
|Hull Farm 50150 Specifications|
2 Cubic Feet
Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch
24 square feet
Made 100% of cocoa shells
This is an excellent mulch with decent performance in weed reduction and water-retaining, making it the best choice for spring and summer use.
Best For Moisture-retaining: Wood Smith USA 100% Natural Cedar Chips
- Good at water retaining – made of natural cedar chips
- Versatile to use – able to be used as a mulch, animal bedding, and cat litter
- Reliable – made in the USA
- Easy to be blown away by strong wind
Another type of mulch that is also very good at water-conserving is natural cedar chips.
Compared to cocoa shells, this is superior a little bit because it doesn’t turn to a mushy looking if water, and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
It is made in the USA so gardeners can rest the heart about its quality.
An interesting thing is that natural cedar chips are not just used as a mulch for vegetable gardens but also an animal bedding or cat litter due to its moisture-retaining nature. It is, in other words, very versatile to use.
|Wood Smith USA 100% Natural Cedar Chips Specifications|
4 1/2 Quarts
100% Natural Cedar Chips
12 potted plants of varying size
100% natural cedar chips
If you are looking for a natural mulch with extraordinary water-retaining capabilities, the Wood Smith USA 100% Natural Cedar Chips are a potential contender.
Best For Weed Control: Warps NHP350
- Control weeds effectively – made of 100% black plastic
- Give permanent results – break down super long
- Simple to use – zero maintenance
- Not eco-friendly
- Easy to be blown away by gusts
This mulch bag is a bit different from other counterparts here. It’s not organic or 100% made of a natural ingredient but is black plastic with the major benefit of weed control.
By giving an excellent cover to the soil surface and surely not containing weeds in it, this mulch gives the most effective results for this purpose of use. Compared to bark chips, stones, or others, this gives more permanent results.
Don’t worry, it still allows nutrients and water to go into the soil. The mulch generally doesn’t disturb your vegetables’ growth, just the weed’s.
We love it because it's zero maintenance with a drip waterer underneath and makes our veggies grow like crazy.
|Warps NHP350 Specifications|
Made of 100% black plastic
The Warps NHP350 is our top choice for weed control, due to its huge coverage with permanent results.
Best For Root Growth: Window Garden Fiber Mulch
- Enhance root growth – prevent root rot and soil compaction
- Prevents soil mold, weeds, and soil splash effectively – made from organic fibers and coconut husks
- Aesthetic – deliver a beautiful cinnamon color
- Have a strange odor
We highly recommend the Window Garden Fiber Mulch for your vegetable garden during its germination stage.
This mulch bag is made from organic fibers and coconut husks – a perfect combo to boost the plant roots to grow healthily and quickly by reducing root rot and soil compaction. Besides, it prevents soil mold, weeds, and soil splash effectively.
Another notable benefit is less watering requirement because coconut husks and fibers conserve moisture while reducing evaporation phenomenally well.
Using it, you’ll find yourself have more free time while your plants are still happy.
|Window Garden Fiber Mulch Specifications|
long-lasting coconut husks and fiber
Organic fibers and coconut husks
For those who are in need of something for root growth, the Window Garden Fiber Mulch is an affordable yet effective option to try.
How To Choose The Best Mulch for Vegetable Garden?
The mulch must be compatible with the soil in your garden for the best outcome. Therefore, when choosing mulch, you need to think of the soil condition.
For example, if the soil in your vegetable garden is wet and heavy, which tends to dry out as the season progresses, you shouldn’t opt for thick, moisture-retentive mulch.
The second factor to take into account when picking a type of mulch is the weather where you live.
Choosing the right mulch for the weather will help the mulch bring the best benefits for your vegetables. For instance, plastic mulches are not for hot climates. Vegetables grown in a hot climate will benefit from a soil-cooling mulch like straw or shredded leaves.
Different crops will develop the best with different mulches. For example, black plastic mulch is perfect for melons, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers.
When you apply black plastic mulch in the spring, it will raise the temperature of the soil and warm the air surrounding the plants.
But plastic mulches are mostly not water-permeable, meaning when the season progresses, your vegetables may be thirsty. To overcome this problem, you can install a sub-surface irrigation system beneath the plastic mulch or use overhead irrigation.
You can remove the plastic mulch in late July and apply water-permeable mulch instead so your plants will get water and retain moisture.
Remember to never apply plastic mulches for cool-weather crops like greens and broccoli. Instead, use paper mulch, newspaper, shredded leaves, or straw.
Which Brands Make The Best Mulch for Vegetable Garden?
This is among the best brand to buy mulch from. Founded in 2002, FibreDust aims at providing renewable, organic, eco-friendly mulches for growers.
Hull Farm is a family-owned and family-operated business that offers cocoa bean shells as mulch for your garden. The brand has been around for three decades, providing different mulches for evergreens, landscape needs, and flowers.
This brand has an inspiring story behind that highlights the importance of how your food is grown. With extreme care for your health, Window Garden’s products will help you grow clean and healthy vegetables.
Which type of mulch is best?
Out of many types of mulch, choose the one that must fit the vegetables in your garden. Go with mulch with larger chunks as it decomposes more slowly and besides, pick bark-type mulches over shredded-wood types.
What is the best mulch to prevent weeds?
From our list, it is the Warps NHP350, made from BPA-free black plastic. To know the reason why we picked it, please read the detailed review in the first section.
Is it OK to mulch a vegetable garden?
Yes, it is. Depending on the types of mulch you choose, it will help enhance the root growth, prevent weeds, boost germination, or more.
Can I use wood chips for mulch in my vegetable garden?
Yes, you can.
It absorbs water very well and can protect your garden from heavy rain. But notice that they can create a great environment for pests to grow, especially slugs, snails, earwigs, sowbugs, and pill bugs.
Is colored mulch safe for vegetables?
Yes, it is.
In short, colored mulch, or dyed mulch, is harmless for vegetables but you have to consider the wood that dye is applied on, which will affect your vegetables. This comes back to the question of choosing the best mulch as we addressed above.
Now that you know how to choose the best mulch for vegetable gardens, make sure you have considered all key factors before finalizing on one type. Then, buy the right type of mulch from the right brand for the best outcome.
A healthy vegetable garden will provide you with safe, healthy, and tasty dishes, so pay close attention.