Best Mulch for a Vegetable Garden

Best Mulch for a Vegetable Garden

When it comes to mulching a vegetable garden, there are pros and cons to each type you might use. Joe Lamp’l walks through his recommendations and demonstrates application. Plus – check out Joe’s Vegetable Gardening playlist:

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Joe Lamp’l, the “joe” behind joe gardener is the creator, host and executive producer of public television’s Growing a Greener World. Watch episodes of his Emmy Award-winning show on our sister channel, GGWTV (


  1. Frank S Perks on September 17, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    PS: I bought a bale of hay for our wild rabbits that visit out back yard. But I will have a lot left over by this summer. Glad I can use it in my gardens…

  2. TABJ on September 17, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    Corona, season after season? Sounds bout right

  3. Ty Gevas on September 17, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    I bought some straw from my feed store. Applied it and now I have tons of grass and weeds sprouting. I don’t so much care about the look or anything just curious if I leave it in will it rob nutrients from my other plants im growing in it? Or should I remove all the weeds?

  4. Angie on September 17, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    Thank you!!!!!

  5. Artie 3xt on September 17, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    What do you use to shred your leaves? Also, should I be concerned about chemical additives in packaged bark mulch affecting my veggies?

  6. Jeff Dude on September 17, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    Straw will contain seeds that will grow and take over your beds.

  7. Svetla Nikolova on September 17, 2022 at 6:39 pm


  8. Debbie Walding on September 17, 2022 at 6:40 pm

    How can you find out if wheat straw was sprayed with Roundup?

  9. Em on September 17, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    The only straw (bale) I was able to find is packaged in bags, is compressed and looks like shredded straw – it’s fine rather than have long "stems". Where can one find straw that isn’t all chopped up so fine? Also, I have a small balcony garden with containers so a whole bale of straw is waaay too much. I just need enough to fill about 10 large containers. Ideas or suggestions on where to get some straw would be great. Thank you!

  10. Andrew Thomas on September 17, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    Be aware that many hay farms and other mulch type materials are sprayed with Grazon to kill broad leaf weeds. You think you’re doing everything right by amending soil and adding fertility to the soil then all your plants die. Consider that It may be the mulch that is the culprit.

  11. sling shoter on September 17, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    I used coastal hay last year. It must of had herbicide in it. Tomato leaves curled and stunted them. It killed some rose plants too.. Beware of hay!

  12. John on September 17, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    Beautiful barn behind your raised beds!

  13. Jonine Blackshear on September 17, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    You need to make sure the mulch doesn’t contain leaves from Black walnut trees as those will poison the soil for many vegetables.

  14. Shelley Penn on September 17, 2022 at 6:45 pm


  15. Brandon on September 17, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    your gardens are amazing. I have been raised bed gardening in FL for a year now and have had NOTHING to show for it. constant diseases with the humidity and abusive rain… I’m currently solarizing my three small beds before getting them going and mulching.

    Do you plant your seeds directly in the beds, then wait for them to be a respectable size before you mulch? Or do you grow your plants in containers then transplant?

  16. Crystal on September 17, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Thank you Joe! How do feel about peet moss? I found a big bag in my shed so I was considering using it. It’s finer than I was expecting.

  17. Warrior Link on September 17, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    Wondering where I would get straw mulch?? Maybe buy some straw bales from a feed store?

  18. Paul Dick on September 17, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks for the info! I use grass clippings and leaves as well. I just bought hay to spread in my veggie garden and also plan to use it in my chicken pen. I mulch to kill weeds and also find it ascetically pleasing.

  19. Kerry main on September 17, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    Hello, what type of straw is your preference? I cannot tell if it’s Lucerne, pea straw or a blend. Why do you prefer straw over grass clippings for veggie raise bed mulch (salad bed, root vegetables like beets, carrots, and brassica ) Thankyou

  20. Oraythelazygardener on September 17, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    thanks for the tips!

  21. Dan Scott on September 17, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    Will hay mulch sprout?

  22. 666toysoldier on September 17, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    The old jute-fiber carpet padding worked great around tomatoes, but it’s no longer available. If you get wood chips, be sure not to get walnut, as it poisons the soil.

  23. Frank S Perks on September 17, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    Thanks for this.

  24. Residue on September 17, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    0:38 video starts

  25. joseph Norcal USA #1 on September 17, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    helpful information sir ! Thank you so much for sharing !!!

  26. Dusty Flats on September 17, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    Always use leaves and straw. I wish I had more variety of trees. Started some maples, but we have oaks that pop up Everywhere. Good thing I have a large leaf shredder that works excellent. Makes a super mulch! I’m going to scrape back the bark on blueberries and put shredded oak leaves on instead because they are acidic.

  27. Airmom on September 17, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    I just used my Paper Shredder and shredded up all of my junk mail and old papers and some small cardboard boxes. This makes wonderful mulch that will break down, but NOW is excellent for delicate areas like the squash/cuke mounds at the very centers around where the plants sprouted! Also great for tiny new plants like spinach and carrots! It gets into the nooks of the areas and after I water, it sort of all sticks together, it is staying put and blocking weed formation while keeping them cooler. It is worth the effort that it takes to produce it! I also use leaf mulch that I make in a leave shredder. It also takes time, raking, bending down to pick it up and putting an armful of leaves into the shredder. The biggest headache with this…… And you can’t get small sticks in the shredder, it messes up the cutting up process. There are small twigs in my leaf piles, Oh well! I too am thankful for free leaves!

  28. 周Sean on September 17, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    I watched your videos like years before. With this high quality, I can’t understand why you only have 44k followers…

  29. Patricia Chippendale on September 17, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    I like sugar cane and leaves

  30. Geoffrey Orbegoso on September 17, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    I like the string trimmer in the barrel trick to shred the leaves. Brilliant

  31. 07slowbalt on September 17, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    Wouldnt using an arborist mulch from chainsawing be adding unwanted bar oil to your garden?

  32. Tahir Doha on September 17, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    good sir👍️

  33. Evan Beauvais on September 17, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    Do the leaves need to be dry? I live in the Northeast and since I didn’t plan ahead, by this spring they will have spent months soaking up moisture from snow, etc.

  34. Tonya DeLorm on September 17, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    Are live oak leaves okay to use as a mulch or are they to acidic. I have many live oak trees on my property, so these leaves are plentiful.

  35. L pridemore on September 17, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    Straw is loaded with Glysophates and it offers nothing when it breaks down except carbon unless you purchase organic which is pricey. Wood chips MUST sit for 6 months as it is way to hot to use immediately and biggest reason you have no clue if there is Walnut in the mix. Just one limb shredded in the mix will destroy all your work. If he does not know what Walnut does or that they kill wheat for harvest with Round Up he shouldn’t be offering advice. Also, Walnut contains Jugalone which will destroy 90% of the plants in your garden. The chips must sit and be turned for 6 months prior to use.

  36. MS MS on September 17, 2022 at 7:21 pm


  37. Christy Chu on September 17, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Love your videos!

  38. Jilly Beans on September 17, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    I used straw last week (not hay) and woke up to raised beds full of what looks like a million blades of grass! What now?

  39. Love always Jasmine on September 17, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    Could I use coco coir to mulch my container garden?

  40. Jeanne Ochs on September 17, 2022 at 7:25 pm

  41. Jason Hope on September 17, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Hey Joe. I’m looking in to mulches, because my tomatoes are very prone to early blight. I’m looking in to straw or cedar mulch. What is your opinion on cedar? Not good for a veg garden?

  42. Shady Field Homestead on September 17, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    I put down a product called EZ straw. Now I keep hearing mixed reviews on this product. Many that love it and some that said it caused grass or barely to grow throughout the bed. Is that an issue normally with straw? EZ straw claims 99% free of weed seed.

  43. Shady Field Homestead on September 17, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    I normally add the straw before I transplant or sow seeds into my raised beds. When sowing seeds, should I wait for the seedlings to get up to a certain height? Or should I put straw down and just clear open a small area for each seed I’m sowing?

  44. ridingwilding760 on September 17, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    I’m in New Mexico and ironically leaves aren’t nearly as abundant as most places. 😋

  45. Sullivanserves on September 17, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    Hi my name is Charlie How do you feel about using pressure treated timbers for your raise garden

  46. Robin Brown on September 17, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    I just pile my leaves up, run the mower over them in one direction only, and voila! Mulch that breaks down pretty quickly.

  47. Jo Hac on September 17, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    For garden " Amendments", I bag the leaves, just before I stack the "food bank" as I call it, I add about a quart of water, tie the bags tightly and stack them, in the spring I cover my beds, gardens, and under trees, the leaves have done lots of breaking down, and wait for fall to clean the yard, and fill the garden food pantry again. Some bags even come with live worms, go figure, healthy mulch.

  48. Murielle Cordemans on September 17, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Oak leaves are they good? I read they don’t break down so fast? And they would influence the soil in a bad way? Can you clarify? Thanks

  49. April Batzle on September 17, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    I like rice straw

  50. Cherokee Rose on September 17, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    I have been using grass clippings and leaves since 1979. I tired some others like stray but I will never give up my grass it is free and I never have to buy fertilizers.

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