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Mulches for the Home Vegetable Garden

Mulching is a practice adaptable to nearly all home gardens. To mulch is simply to cover the soil around plants with a protective material, organic or inorganic ... Mulches reduce weed growth by making conditions unfavorable for germination of weed seeds and by providing a physical barrier for emerging weeds ... A thick layer of organic mulch material is especially effective in reducing the number of annual weeds in the garden, since they have difficulty penetrating such a layer ... Mulches are very useful for maintaining uniform moisture conditions in the garden. Water loss through evaporation is decreased, and soil erosion is decreased as the impact of a heavy rainfall is reduced by the layer of mulch ...Organic mulches add nutrients and humus to the soil as they decompose, improving its tilth and moisture-holding capacity ...

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Provided courtesy of the Virginia Cooperative Extension at www.ext.vt.edu.