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Bugman05
Alabama Fan
Member since May 2020
37 posts

Mulch for vegetable garden
Got a 100 square foot garden going great, but the rain we've got the last 2 days has me spoiled and not wanting to water everyday so what do yall use? Veggies are already flowering so plastic is tabled for now, straw a good option?


jyoung1
LSU Fan
Lafayette
Member since May 2010
1691 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
Grass clippings


Bugman05
Alabama Fan
Member since May 2020
37 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
I've got to cut it tomorrow, issue is I live in the middle of a field and have maybe 1sqft of grass and several acres of weeds. Since I'm out in the sticks I've never worried about it. I'm assuming that would be problematic?


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20
TheBoo
Nicholls St. Fan
South to Louisiana
Member since Aug 2012
2626 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
Any mulch will retain water.

Pine bark mulch is under $3 a bag at the Lowe's.


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22
CrawDude
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2019
1971 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
Straw, not hay, is good. I typically use wheat straw if available or pine straw. Sometimes tree leaves.


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11
CheEngineer
LSU Fan
Louisiana
Member since Aug 2019
976 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
Leaves are what I like.


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30
Shoalwater Cat
LSU Fan
Pville
Member since Dec 2017
380 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
Chopped pine straw from Cleggs.Breaks down over time. About a 3-4" layer. Just /till/mix back in the soil for next garden. Adds a little acidity to the soil. Never use colored mulch.


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gumbo2176
Member since May 2018
6152 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
Grass clippings and oak leaves make a great mulch. Easy to spread around existing plants and when it breaks down it adds lots of nutrients to the soil.

I get my grass clippings from the local cemetery when the cutters go to mow the grass. They bag it all up and I can pick up a dozen or more large bags of clippings every time they cut.

I have a traditional row garden and I will often lay cut up cardboard boxes between the rows and put grass clippings and oak leaves on top of it to hold it down and then spread over my rows the clippings and leaves.

It holds moisture so I don't need to water as much and keeps weeds at bay. When it's time to plant in the fall, all that stuff has decomposed and is simply tilled under.
This post was edited on 5/19 at 12:59 am


FlyinTiger93
LSU Fan
Member since May 2010
1531 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
Cedar mulch repels bugs, somewhat.


TU Rob
Troy Fan
Birmingham
Member since Nov 2008
10302 posts
 Online 

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
quote:

Grass clippings and oak leaves make a great mulch. Easy to spread around existing plants and when it breaks down it adds lots of nutrients to the soil.



Did this a few years ago. I have a large oak out in the front yard, and around November when all the leaves were on the ground, I raked them into a pile and shoveled them into an old plastic trash can. As I was shoveling them in, once it got about half full I would stab them with the shovel repeatedly to smash them down, and it broke them up at the same time. It took me 4-5 trips with the can packed full, and I just dumped it all into my garden area and spread it evenly. Watered it all down with the hose to keep them from blowing away. The next spring, just tilled it all again. Most of it had broken down but I tilled it into the dirt. Had an awesome garden that year. I don't bag my grass so the oak leaves were a great option.


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gumbo2176
Member since May 2018
6152 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
quote:

Cedar mulch repels bugs, somewhat.


The problem with cedar and other bark type mulches is they don't really break down well and don't add much in the form of nutrients to the soil if they do.

The biggest issue with oak leaves if when collecting them you often get acorns too and they tend to sprout heavily if you have a lot of them mixed in with the leaves. One way to speed up the decaying of the leaves is to pile them up and hit them with a mulching mower to really grind up the leaves and in turn cut up the acorns too so you have less of them popping up in the garden.
This post was edited on 5/19 at 1:43 pm


deeprig9
Member since Sep 2012
39709 posts
 Online 

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
What I don't like about your method is:

1- Not very decorative for a typical suburban setting.

2- If you get an inch of rain, only a half inch actually gets down into your soil because your style of mulch soaks it up. If you live in a wet area, maybe that's not an issue for you.


I prefer pine bark because I like the look of it, it doesn't soak up as much water from the rain, and you can actually get two seasons out of it, if you mulched thick enough the first time. After that second season, yes, it can still be tilled into the soil and it will continue to break down.

Also, I live in pine tree central so pine bark is cheap, maybe it's more expensive elsewhere.


gumbo2176
Member since May 2018
6152 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
quote:

What I don't like about your method is: 1- Not very decorative for a typical suburban setting.


This is for a vegetable garden, not a front yard flowering garden that neighbors see on a daily basis.

Who gives a rats arse what the mulch in a vegetable garden looks like as long as it keeps weeds down and helps retain moisture?

Oh, and living in S.E. Louisiana, lack of moisture from rain is hardly ever an issue.

ETA: Also, wood bark mulch causes a nitrogen deficiency in soil which is not a good thing for vegetable plants.
This post was edited on 5/19 at 4:15 pm


Centinel
Alabama Fan
South Carolina
Member since Sep 2016
25258 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
quote:

ETA: Also, wood bark mulch causes a nitrogen deficiency in soil which is not a good thing for vegetable plants.


To echo what gumbo said, if it's for a vegetable garden you want to use the best mulch you can get that's going to break down readily and amend the soil, which is a mix of brown (carbon) and green (nitrogen).

A mix of grass clippings (green) and leaves (brown) would be ideal. Or you can do what I did and run down the guys doing tree trimming in my neighborhood and get them to dump a load of the ground limbs, leaves, etc. at your house. Absolutely perfect mulch for a garden or anywhere your primary focus us vegetable/fruit growth, and free.



gumbo2176
Member since May 2018
6152 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
quote:

To echo what gumbo said, if it's for a vegetable garden you want to use the best mulch you can get that's going to break down readily and amend the soil, which is a mix of brown (carbon) and green (nitrogen).


Finally someone who knows about mulch for a vegetable garden like the OP was asking about.


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Cowboyfan89
McNeese State Fan
Member since Sep 2015
8421 posts
 Online 

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
quote:

Also, wood bark mulch causes a nitrogen deficiency in soil which is not a good thing for vegetable plants.

There's plenty of research that shows this is not the case. It might cause a slight deficiency at the surface, but otherwise, it's negligible and won't have much effect on your plants.

I use nothing but leaf litter and pine straw in my garden, and rarely have a nitrogen issue. The idea that a nitrogen deficiency occurs is because the microbes breaking down the wood mulch use nitrogen during the process. Those same microbes are working to breakdown other residue as well.

Still, I prefer leaves and pine straw because they are cost efficient (i.e., FREE).


dallasga6
Georgia Fan
Scrap Metal Magnate...
Member since Mar 2009
24025 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
I use the bagged soil conditioner you can get at Home Depot or Lowes. Does a good job of weed suppression and breaks down quick to till in at seasons end.

Pic taken with about 1/2 of my lil garden mulched, was waiting on beans and okra to finish...



cgrand
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
HAMMOND
Member since Oct 2009
21477 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
I use whatever is in my yard, leaves and pine straw.
anything is fine, really


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deeprig9
Member since Sep 2012
39709 posts
 Online 

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
Dallas, show them your newspaper/junkmail mulch.


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10
PillageUrVillage
LSU Fan
Mordor
Member since Mar 2011
10478 posts

re: Mulch for vegetable garden
quote:

Also, wood bark mulch causes a nitrogen deficiency in soil which is not a good thing for vegetable plants.

There's plenty of research that shows this is not the case. It might cause a slight deficiency at the surface, but otherwise, it's negligible and won't have much effect on your plants.


Wood uses nitrogen to break down. So, if you till it under, it’ll use the nitrogen in the soil. Sitting on the surface, it won’t rob nitrogen from your plants in the root zone.

I use the cheap no float mulch from Lowe’s. Have been doing that for years.


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