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A vegetable garden is more than just a weekend hobby. It is how the family grows and eats natural and fresh food right from their backyard. So much time and energy can be devoted to keeping a garden healthy and growing, and a big part of that is adding mulch. But which mulch is the right kind for your vegetable garden? What’s the difference between hardwood mulch and leaf mulch? Don’t worry! We know the pros and cons for both kinds of mulches so you can know what’s right for your garden.

Hardwood Mulch in Your Vegetable Garden

  • Pros:

    • Hardwood mulch comes in a wide range of colors to match your home or garden. Complement your outdoor exterior with your garden.  
    • Mulch has a smell that wards off any harmful bugs or pests. Don’t worry about anything gnawing at your vegetable patch.
    • The mulch lasts a long time, giving you more time to relax. You’ll spend less time on vegetable garden maintenance.
  • Cons:

    • Hardwood mulch can be harmful when added to soil that is constantly tilled. If tilled into the soil, hardwood will draw necessary nitrogen from the vegetables unlike leaf mulch that is safe to mix into the ground.
    • Hardwood mulch can be harmful in windy areas. The mulch can hurt or cover plants if strong winds are common. Leaf mulch, on the other hand, won’t harm your vegetables in strong winds.
    • It can be harmful if the layer of mulch is too thick. Hardwood mulch is heavier than leaf mulch and the weight can crush smaller plants.

Leaf Mulch in Your Vegetable Garden

  • Pros:

    • Leaf mulch is beneficial during the colder months. It acts as a better insulator against the wind and cold and keeps plants safe.
    • Leaf mulch draws in earthworms and other helpful organisms. The nutrients in the leaves make worms want to stay in your garden and help your plants grow.
    • It retains more water and moisture for your plants. Keep your plants happy and watered with leaf mulch.
  • Cons:

    • Leaf mulch can be blown away in the wind if not properly positioned. If not shredded enough or placed firmly on the top soil, the wind can easily blow the mulch away. Unlike hardwood mulch that can usually withstand winds so long as the layer of mulch is thick.
    • It decomposes quickly, requiring reapplication. Your vegetable garden will only get the benefit of organic leaf mulch for a short time, whereas hardwood mulch lasts a lot longer.
    • Leaf mulch is densely packed together when laid down and can restrict sunlight and air from the soil. However, hardwood mulch does not pack together like leaf mulch does.