Whether you’re creating a vegetable garden or decorative garden beds, taking the time to apply mulch is going to give you a much healthier garden. With mulch, gardens have fewer weeds and resist drought better than unmulched gardens. When you go to buy this popular landscaping material, it is important to note that there are two common types: organic and inorganic mulch. Within those two categories there are even more types of mulch, and each has its own advantages. Know the differences between landscape mulch types and you’ll pick the right one for your garden.
- Crushed Seashell
While you may not initially think of crushed seashell for garden mulch, it is a great inorganic option. Mulching with crushed shell will give your ground cover a striking white contrast for plants with bright shades. Even plants that are a standard green will look different when paired with white crushed shells. You can also use the crushed shell as nutrients for your garden, as calcium from the shells enter the soil when they decay. Try crushed seashell for garden mulch and you’ll have a nutrient-rich, aesthetically pleasing mulch.
- Wood Chips and Shredded Leaves
The most common form of mulch is perhaps wood chips. You’ll typically find wood chips in bagged mulch and at community sites giving out mulch. They’re a popular choice because they are an organic mulch that gives garden beds a very natural look. Shredded leaves also make a great organic mulch and are easy to collect from your own yard.
Using compost as mulch will do wonders to enrich your soil and make your plants thrive. If you have enough of it, using compost is a great solution for an organic mulch. However, if the compost is too dry, it won’t be a hospitable place for plant roots. To combat this, spread a thin layer of compost around your plants and top it with another mulch, such as shredded leaves, to keep it moist.
- Rock Mulch
Like landscaping shell, crushed rock is another popular type of inorganic mulch. While crushed rock won’t provide nutrients for the soil, it will stand the test of time. Most people don’t think of rocks when they hear the word mulch, but finely crushed gravel or river rock makes an excellent choice for a modern, minimalist garden space.
While these are three popular options for mulch, there are many more that gardeners use to help their plants along. Black plastic film is very effective at creating a microclimate for vegetable gardens, and straw can make a fantastic organic mulch. Choose a mulch that works for your garden’s work and function, and you won’t regret it.