Project Reports


Agri Business

Farming Videos

Subsidy Schemes


Download App

Agriculture Farming

Vegetable Farming

Fruit Farming

Livestock Farming


● Poultry Farming

● Fish Farming

● Goat Farming

● Dairy Farming

● Beekeeping

● Pig Farming

● Sheep Farming

Mulching Vegetable Crops – A Full Guide

Introduction to mulching vegetable crops

Mulch is an organic or inorganic material laid on the soil surface to control weeds. The process of spreading mulch material around the plants is called mulching. During growing season mulching regulates the soil temperature and aids for slow evaporation of the moisture content. In winters the mulch protects the plants by regulating the temperature.

A step by step guide to mulching vegetable crops 

You need to make a note that not every mulch is suitable for every vegetable crop. Different types of mulches suitable for different crops based on the season for example warm-weather crops such as peppers and tomatoes are benefitted from plastic mulch. These help in making the soil warm during spring and later from splashing soil. Cool-weather crops such as cabbage, lettuce, etc. will be benefitted by using organic mulch. The organic mulches are water permeable and prevent the evaporation of moisture content in the soil. 

A guide to mulching vegetable crops.
A guide to mulching vegetable crops.

Mulching does magic in the vegetable crops as it is an excellent weed controller, water retainer, temperature controller. Mulching benefits vegetable crops in numerous ways. Early spring, winter, and fall are the great times to lay a mulch blanket. Sometimes there are specific reasons to choose appropriate mulch for the vegetable crops. Below is the list of mulches used in vegetable crops.

Types of mulch used in the vegetable crops

Mulching vegetable crops with grass clippings

The trims of your lawn will mostly have grass clippings which form an excellent mulching source for growing vegetable plants. The grass clippings are evenly spread around the stalks. The grass clippings form a mat together and protect the plant from heat. Make sure that you place the grass clippings away from the stems of tomatoes so that the water can reach the roots freely. 

Mulching vegetable crops with straw

Straw forms a great mulch for tomato plants and other vegetable plants. Mulching tomatoes with straw is a good choice for retaining nutrients and moisture content in the soil. But there is a problem if you use straw as a mulch the seeds in the straw might become the weed plant. To overcome this problem you need to check out the source of straw in the bales. There are different types of straws among which golden straw and wheat straw makes a good choice for vegetable plant mulching.

You need to place the straw of 3-6 inches around the tomato plants. Avoid touching of stems and leaves as there is a chance for fungal spread. 

Mulching of vegetable crops with shredded leaves

Composted fall leaves is an excellent mulching material for any type of vegetable crops, especially for tomatoes. Mulching vegetable plants with shredded leaves form excellent protection from weeds and also increases moisture retention. 

Peat moss mulching in vegetable crops

Peat moss adds nutrients to the soil by decomposing slowly during the growing season. Peat moss forms an attractive top dressing for any home and crop centers. Make sure that you water thoroughly before spreading the peat moss around the vegetable plants. Peat moss absorbs the moisture content from the soil hence, it is mandatory to water your plants thoroughly before spreading the peat moss.

Mulching with pine needles

Pine needle mulch has proved that it is a great option for growing vegetables in the crops. The pine needle mulch will reduce splashing on the lower surface leaves of the plant with reduces blight. This also helps in suppressing the weeds, regulates soil temperature, and conserves soil moisture. You need to spread the pine needle mulch of 2-3 inches loosely around the vegetable plant. Maintain 6 inches from the base of the plant to create mulch free zone around the developing stem.

Pine bark mulching in vegetable crops

Pine bark mulch is efficient in maintaining dampness in the soil. Pine bark makes an attractive appeal in the crops and also keeps the soil cool by suppressing noxious weeds. Pine bark mulch is an excellent organic mulch that offers longevity to the crops. Pine bark mulch when used for tomato plants gives tasty tomatoes with increased yield. It is recommended to spread a 3-4 inch layer of pine bark mulch around the tomato plants. Too much pine bark mulch harms the plant. Make sure that you leave a space around the base of the plant because if the pine bark mulch is stacked around the base causes rotting and also attracts the rodents that are fond of bark. Hence, the pine bark mulch should be placed 8 feet away from the base of the plant. You also should use the old mulch as the dried ones will have more capacity of absorbing water and allows the free passage of water or air to the soil.

Mulching with newspaper

Newspaper mulch is used for complete weed control in vegetable farming. You need to lay up to 8 layers of newspaper around and between the plants. This prevents the germination of existing weed seeds in the soil. As the newspaper is light in weight it may fly away so you need to top it with 2 inches of straw or wood chips.

Cardboard mulch 

Cardboard is safe to use as a mulch for the vegetable crops, especially for tomatoes. The main advantage of using cardboard mulch is it kills pesky weeds and helps in the growth of the earthworms. Cardboard also kills the lawn grass which is proper for the farmers to grow vegetables. Make sure that you use the corrugated cardboard as mulch because a few wax-coated cardboard will restrict the water and air penetration into the soil. 

Cedar mulch 

Cedar mulch forms the exceptional long-lasting where it cannot be replaced with any other mulches. Cedar mulch is fibrous and knits well around the plant preventing soil erosion, retaining moisture, and inhibits weed germination. Make sure that you place the mulch as per the requirement because too much of mulch can cause stagnation of water in the soil that causes root rot in vegetable plants. Cedar mulch also helps in repelling the insects along with spiders and other bugs.

Living mulch

The cover crops that are grown in empty vegetable beds for the next season are commonly referred to as living mulch. The living mulch is about the crops that are grown in between the main vegetable crops within the same growing season. An example of living mulch is vining vegetables such as pumpkins, potato plants, and other vegetable plants that spread themselves wide. Pumpkins, melons, squash, cucumbers, and zucchini will shade out and smoother weeds. These plants bind the soil to the earth and maintain the moisture condition in the soil. You can plant these vining veggies in between the taller plants like tomatoes, corn, pepper, and even sunflower plants. A crop that is mulched with living mulch requires less watering, and little cultivating space but the yield will be to the maximum amount. 

Living mulch can increase porosity, enhances soil retention, maintains warm soil temperatures, minimizes weed growth, and adds slow release of the nutrients. 

In case if you miss this: How To Make A Compost Pit, Benefits, Composting Process.

How should I mulch my vegetable crops? 

Adding mulch to the vegetable crops is not necessary but it plays a key role in yielding larger fruits and vegetables. But mulching with the proper mulch to the vegetable crops is more beneficial than adding other kinds of weedicides. There are also few problems with the mulching as they might attract some larvae also promotes fungal and mold growth. But comparatively benefits of the mulch are more than these problems. You can also find proper solutions for the problems that arise due to mulch. Improper mulching might lead to several problems for the new farmers. So you have to spread the mulch properly based on the type of vegetable plant in your crops. The best time for mulching is after the ground has thawed and also when the soil is still moist. 

Apart from this, it is recommended to mulch the crops after the plant has started growing. You can mulch your crops during spring or any time in summer through the fall. 

How deep the mulch should be in the vegetable crops?

Mulching should be 2-3 inches deep, if you mulch less than 2 inches then you will not get the benefit of weed control or protection. On the other side, too much of mulching i.e., more than 3 inches will bury the base of the plant and prevents the water from getting into the soil. 

What is the proper method of mulching in vegetable crops?

The important step in mulching is making the pile of mulch around the base of the plant in the crops. If the plants are partially buried then the mulching might end up with major issues like pests, rotting, and other diseases. So it is very important to keep the mulch away from the base of each plant and make sure that it should be pretty enough for plenty of air circulation around the stem. Make sure that none of the mulching should touch the stem. 

How often should I replace mulch in my vegetable crops?

It totally depends upon the type of mulch you choose. The organic mulching materials like grass clippings, straw mulch, and shredded leaves easily breakdown and adds minerals and nutrients to the soil than hardwood mulch. These lightweight organic mulches should be replaced at least once in a year and sometimes more often because they decompose quickly. Wood mulch can be replaced every 2-3 years. If it is not time to replace your crops mulch then you can just fluff it up by using your hands or a rake to give a refreshing look for your crops. If you use plastic mulch then you need to replace immediately after the yield because the plastic often gets brittle and will be hard to remove as it will breakdown into smaller pieces.

How to mulch a vegetable crops?

To mulch the vegetable crops you need the following tools and supplies. These include mulch, bow rake, farming gloves, and other tools used for farming. 

Step by step procedure for spreading the mulch in your crops

It is best to spread the mulch when the soil is moist rather than dry. Below is the step by step procedure to spread the mulch in your crops.

Step 1: Remove the large weeds that are growing in your crops. Do not worry about the smaller weeds as they will be smothered by the mulch.

Step 2: Edge the crops bed before covering your crops with mulch. Edging your crop beds will help to remove the grass that is creeping in the crops.

Step 3: Spread the mulch by leaving some space around the base of the plant ensuring none of it is piled around the stem. The mulch should be spread carefully between the vegetable plants in the crops.

Step 4: Watering after mulching the crops is optional but if the material of the mulch is totally dry then you need to water it appropriately. This will make it down and helps not to blow away along with the wind. Watering the mulch also helps to maintain the moisture in the soil and ensures that it comes in contact with the soil so it can smother all the weeds.

Benefits of mulching in vegetable crops

Benefits of Mulching.
Benefits of Mulching.
  • Mulching helps to conserve soil moisture by decreasing the evaporation of water in the soil.
  • It improves soil texture by preventing soil erosion during heavy rainfall or strong winds.
  • Water is allowed to slowly infiltrate through the mulch.
  • It attracts the earthworms and the soil gets more nutrient and aerated.
  • It is excellent in controlling the weeds other than the chemical weedicides or the mechanical systems used to pull the weed.
  • Black plastic and newspaper are the best for controlling perennial weeds.
  • Mulching moderates soil temperatures by insulating the soil and keeps it cool. During winters, the mulch maintains the soil temperature warm and helps in the plant development in an effective way thereby raising the soil temperature.
  • It adds nutrients and increases the moisture-holding capacity.
  • Organic mulches are more beneficial compared to the inorganic ones. This is because they decompose and improves soil tilth. Composted organic mulch increases the nutrient content such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and other trace elements in the soil content.
  • Finally, mulches keep vegetable crops clean and less exposure to diseases and pests. It prevents the fruits, and vegetables from contact with the soil. Soil-borne diseases are effectively controlled by mulching.

In case if you are interested in this: Organic Square Foot Gardening, Design, Ideas, Tips.


  1. After spending some time on your blog I thought I utilized my time in a correct way by reading the correct blog about Mulching vegetable crops.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Agriculture Farming

Fruit Farming

Livestock Farming

Vegetable Farming

Project Reports