Best Mulch for Vegetable Gardens 2023 (Top 10 Picks)

You have to provide your garden with a constant source of food to keep it healthy and growing. The application of lawn fertilizers, timing of fertilizer application, and the quality of fertilizer or mulch plays an important role.

Whether it is the best lawn fertilizer or mulch, you need to choose it carefully.

Are you looking for the best mulch for vegetable gardens? We tried many products on multiple garden spots and came up with ten of the best options.

Best Mulch For Vegetable Gardens (Our Top Picks):


Water Retention

Weed Reduction


PlantBest Mega Mulch



National Cocoa Shell



Plow & Hearth 55632



Window Garden Fiber Mulch



EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch



GreenView Fairway Formula



Charlie's Compost



Thunder Acres



GROW!T Organic Coco Coir



Hull Farm 50150 Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch



1. PlantBest Mega Mulch

The first on our list is Plant Best Mega Mulch; it is undoubtedly one of the best mulch.

We are all sold to this organic mulch, as it makes your garden look beautiful and manicured. 

Moreover, organic mulches come with a lot of benefits. One of the benefits we encountered is that this unit suppresses the weed and gives pest control.

The water retention is up to the mark; we observed that this mulch saves up a lot on the water bill. 

However, you need to soak this product for a couple of hours before using it. The more you soak, the easier it will be for you to mold the coconut husks in the garden. 

Highlighting features:

  • This unit eliminates weed growth. 
  • Reduction of water and effort.
  • All-organic ground cover. 
  • Prevents soil erosion and compaction. 

The ground cover can last up to 40-48 months. 


  • The mulch provides excellent drainage
  • It protects against the sun
  • It covers a good area


Hydration is an issue

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2. National Cocoa Shell

Next on our list is National Cocoa Shell, an organic mulch. However, a gardening product being all organic does not mean that there will be no filters.

However, National Cocoa Shell does not come with many unnecessary ingredients and fillers. 

The formula is pure, and it is made from the outer shell of cocoa beans. Chocolate may be healthy for you, but it is undoubtedly beneficial for your lawn.

The beans shell retains the water that helps in keeping the moisture intact. 

If you cover your ground with this unit, it will never get soggy, regardless of the weather. Moreover, one inch of this unit is sufficient to prevent weed growth. 

Highlighting features:

  • This mulch will never bleach out. 
  • The aesthetic brown color. 
  • It is manufactured out of cocoa beans.
  • It retains water and prevents sogginess. 

This product is an excellent option for homeowners who want to give their lawns an aesthetic touch without much effort.


  • The cocoa beans give a rich color
  • It completely hydrates the soil
  • The ground does not get soggy after the application


The mulch gets moldy

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3. Plow & Hearth 55632

Have you ever heard about recycled rubber mulch? Plow and Hearth 55632 is made out of recycled rubber tires.

If you compare this unit with the National Cocoa shell, you will be amazed to know that; this unit perfectly forms and trims your garden. 

It is much easier to use and customize according to your needs. You just need to cut a patch and spread it on the ground.

Besides, you can use this mulch on the corner of your garden. The dark brown color blends with the soil and looks pleasing. 

You can use this unit to fill your flower beds and borders. 

Highlighting features:

  • It is made out of recycled and shredded rubber tires. 
  • Natural-looking mulch. 
  • It prevents weed growth and allows air intake. 
  • Scatter proof and durable permanent solution.

You do not need to change your mulch after every year; this unit will work for over two years. 


  • The application process is simple
  • Contamination is an issue
  • The mulch does not get soggy


  • It is not organic

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4. Window Garden Fiber Mulch

If you are looking for a perfect plotting solution, consider Window Garden Fiber Mulch. Add this unit to your potted both indoor and outdoor plants.

Compared to Plow and Hearth 55632, this product is much more attractive, as You can use it for indoor plants. 

Moreover, this does not smell different; Window Garden is a much more refreshing and perfect soil cover for your plants.

The layers almost protect the soil splash from potted plants, reduce compaction, and encourage root growth. 

In addition to this, it holds the soil moisture, so there is less need to water the plants. 

Highlighting features:

  • Keep the soil in the pot by preventing the soil splash. 
  • This unit reduces evaporation and retains moisture. 
  • Less weed growth and mold. 
  • No root rot and soil compaction. 

The coconut husk and fiber blend into a porous texture that enhances the beauty of the plants.


  • The mulch encourages root growth
  • No need to water the plants
  • It is easy to use


  • It does not protect from infestation

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5. EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch

Next on our list is EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch. Lawn maintenance is indeed one of the hardest things to do.

Even after putting in many funds and effort, it is pretty challenging to get things right. However, EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch will give your yard and plants proper time. 

This unit is made of organic straws, grass seedlings, and tackifiers. You can use this product on your established lawn or protect your current grass.

The best part that we appreciate about this mulch; acceleration of germination. You can also use any other formula of grass seed with mulch for optimal growth. 

The natural bonding and biodegradable formula are perfect for protecting grass from heavy washouts and winds. Besides, the application is super-easy. 

Highlighting features:

  • The organic straw protects the grass seeds. 
  • Easy application and installation. 
  • It comes with a bonding agent that holds everything together. 
  • 2.5 cubic bales cover 500 sq. ft.

Compared to Window Garden Fiber Mulch, this unit has many additional benefits, especially in growth and germination. 

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  • It is a well-chopped product.
  • Easy to apply and clean
  • It is effective in terms of seed germination


  • The straws are light

6. GreenView Fairway Formula 

Were you looking for a much more environmentally friendly formula? Consider, Greenview fairway formula that supports the environment and allows you to intake fresh and healthier air.

Also, Greenview is ecologically friendly and biodegradable; but it can also be taken as a starter fertilizer. 

A 10-pound bag of this unit can cover up to 200 square feet of area. If we compare this unit with Window Garden Fiber Mulch, this product is much more healthy and will keep your grass moist for a longer time.

Also, it retains water consumption and allows you to stay stress-free on windy days. 

The best part about this biodegradable product; the tackifier blended in this formula is beneficial for spotting pesky areas in your lawn. With any grass seed, you can use this formula. 

Highlighting features:

  • This unit keeps the grass seed moist.
  • Fairway enhances germination. 
  • A combination of tackifiers protects the lawn on windy days. 
  • One package can cover up to 200 square feet.

Fairway promotes a solid and seamless yard, and you can compare it to a professional procedure.


  • The product does not hydrate
  • The formula is heavy
  • The product sticks well


  • It gets soggy after a while

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7. Charlie’s Compost

Another personal favorite is Charlie’s compost. An entirely organic option for your lawn enhances root growth and prevents weed growth.

If we compare this unit with PlantBest mega mulch, this product is more or less of the same quality. 

Charlie’s compost formula is highly beneficial for garden vegetables. The improved organic material is full of microbes, covering the ground, and controlling weeds.

The water retention is incredible, and this unit makes the soil fertile and plumper. 

Besides, there is no need to check the lawn after spreading this compost; instead, you can sit back and relax—on windy and rainy days as well.

A pack of this product can cover up to two cubic feet of soil. However, the only thing we did not like about this mulch is covered. 

Highlighting features:

  • This unit can be used as a supplementary and primary formula.
  • It prevents weed growth and reduces water retention. 
  • It promotes soil growth and makes it fertile.
  • Beneficial for garden vegetables. 

If you are mulching for weed growth, you will need more than one packet. 


  • It controls the weed
  • It protects the soil from sunlight
  • It comes with a balanced NPK ration


  • Hydration is an issue

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8. Thunder Acres

Straw mulches are one of the most efficient mulches. They are perfect for both garden vegetables and established lawns. Thunder acre is made out of wheat straw, and this unit holds a powerful position on our list. 

This product provides incomparable soil aeration and also controls the soil temperature. Thunder acre supplements the cultivation of worms, and the straw does not deteriorate quickly.

If we compare this unit with EZ-Straw seeding mulch, this straw mulch is more appropriate and effective. 

Besides, the temperature conversion is on point; your vegetables will have cold soil in summers; and warm soil during winters. 

Highlighting features:

  • This unit gives quite a unique touch to your lawn.
  • The formula of straw is perfect for outdoor bedding. 
  • It can be used for mushroom cultivation. 
  • Promote soil growth by maintaining temperature.

All in all, it is a win-win situation if you get thunder acres for your lawn. 


  • The straws are of good quality
  • Hydration is not an issue
  • The straw does not burn


  • Infestation is an issue

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9. GROW!T Organic Coco Coir

Next on our list is: Grow!t Organic Coco coir. This unit was among the fattest to rehydrate. With Grow!t, you can have the instant solution for your mulching option.

Within 10 minutes of soaking, you can get a perfect ground cover with organic coconut chips and fiber benefits. 

Moreover, the shielding of the vegetables from weeds is perfectly done. In addition to this, apply a 2-4 inches layer of mulch to protect the weed growth. 

Also, this unit ensures minimal sun exposure. The reduction of sunlight promotes growth and keeps the soil moisturized. 

Highlighting features:

  • Organic cocoa coir is perfect for both indoors and outdoors. 
  • You can use this unit as a decorative ground cover. 
  • Retains water and resists fungal activities. 
  • It can be used as a hydroponic medium or for soil applications. 

Grow!t is a perfect option for a quick fix of lawn and plants.  


  • The application process is easy
  • It gives a beautiful touch to the ground
  • It eliminates weed


  • It is rich in fiber

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10. Hull Farm 50150 Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch

The last on our list is Hull Farm 50150 Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch. We have Charlie’s compost from Hull Farm on our list as well. And if we compare both units, this product is a bit different from compost in terms of benefits and functions. 

The cocoa bean husks provide you with a pleasant aroma, and they emanate into the air and spread in your garden. If you are a fan of the drooling smell of chocolate and cocoa beans, you will enjoy the covering of 50150. 

Besides, the scent becomes more intense after it gets a good soak.

In addition to this, you will feel a significant difference in the attractiveness and covering right after a rain. Increased protein and nitrogen decomposition and are ideal for weed elimination. 

Highlighting features:

  • The formula breaks down into the soil and disappears. 
  • An organic mulch is made out of the shell of the cocoa beans. 
  • Reduces weed growth and conserves water. 
  • This unit has a fertilizer value of 2.5:1:3

Moreover, this unit has a fertilizer value of 2.5:1:3.


  • It smells good
  • It is rich in quality in color
  • It protects the soil from infestation


  • Quantity is an issue

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Buyers Guide:

There are different types of mulches available in the market. However, it would be best to have a clear picture of all the types of mulch.

Also, you must know about the kind of lawn, as there are different categories of mulches, depending upon the landscape and planting. 

Shredded Bark:

This type is the most common form of mulch. Moreover, it comes from a variety of sources including cedar trees.

This type is best for slopes, and it breaks down at a slower pace. Moreover, they are not purely eco-friendly and biodegradable. 


We have mentioned different straw mulches in our list. The straw mulch has an attractive golden color; that gives your garden an aesthetic touch.

Also, it decomposes slowly. Straw mulches are used in practical gardens, vegetables, and strawberry plants. Straw mulches are a perfect way to keep the mud out of your edibles. 


Compost looks a lot like soil in its formation and color. It breaks down really quickly and adds a structure to your soil. Moreover, you can create your compost from grass clippings and leaves. 

Bark Nuggets:

Bark nuggets are not recommended as they do not stay in one place. They are not the best type of mulch for slopes or other areas, as the rain washes them away. 

How I tested the Mulch?

Gardening is a beautiful hobby, and finding the right mulch for your plants can make all the difference in their health and growth. I was not into gardening; I developed this hobby when I shifted to my new house. I was quite confused when choosing the right mulch for my garden.

Moreover, my friends had different opinions and suggestions. Hence, I was extremely confused and decided to experiment and find the best mulch. I took notes of relevant information, such as texture, type of material used, and how much water it absorbs. Based on my experiment, listing down some factors.


I used a controlled experiment to test the effect of mulch on plant growth. I set up three identical pots, each one with the same type of soil and the same amount of water. In one pot, I added two inches of wood chips as mulch. In another pot, I added two inches of straw as mulch. And in the third pot, I left it as-is with no mulch.

I monitored each pot for three weeks and documented the changes in soil temperature, moisture content, and plant growth. After three weeks, I found that the pot with wood chips had a slightly higher soil temperature than the other two. The straw mulch pot had the highest moisture content, and both mulch pots had significantly more plant growth than those with no mulch.


Mulch helps regulate soil temperature and moisture content, allowing plants to thrive in their environment. Mulch can protect plants from extreme temperatures and prevent water evaporation by providing an insulating layer around the soil. In addition, mulch provides nutrients to the soil as it decomposes, helping plants to grow more quickly and healthily.

My experiment found that mulch was essential for successful plant growth. Therefore, it is important to remember the benefits of using mulch when gardening to achieve the best results.

Bulk or Bag:

When I tested mulch, I had to decide if I wanted to buy it in bulk or bags. Bulk mulch is much cheaper than buying it in bags, but you may need a truck to transport it, and you will have to spread it yourself. Buying it in bags was more convenient because I could transport it in my car and didn’t have to spread it. However, buying mulch in bags is more expensive than buying it in bulk.


I tested my mulch in various humid, dry, and temperate climates. I found that the mulch held up well in the humid climate, retaining moisture and preventing soil erosion. In dry climates, however, the mulch dried out quickly, resulting in less water retention and more soil loss.

In temperate climates, the mulch performed well in humid and dry conditions, providing good moisture retention and soil stabilization. Ultimately, I found that the mulch was most effective in temperate climates but could be used successfully in other climates with proper care and maintenance.


I also tested my mulch for sunlight exposure. I found that the mulch was impacted by the amount of sunlight it received, but not in dramatic ways. The mulch dried out in direct and consistent sunlight faster than in other conditions.

On the other hand, when shaded from direct light, the mulch stayed damp longer and had better water retention properties. Overall, I determined that the mulch could perform well in direct and indirect light, making it a reliable product for many outdoor applications.


What are the benefits of using mulch?

Adding mulch to your garden or landscape can bring numerous benefits, such as increased moisture retention for plants, improved soil fertility and aeration, reduced weed growth, and protection from severe weather. Mulch also helps retain soil temperature, providing insulation in cold weather and cooling it in hot weather.

Aesthetically, mulch can add color and texture to a garden or landscape. Decorative mulches such as wood bark chips, stones, and rubber will help enhance the appearance of your outdoor space. Finally, using organic mulch such as composts or grass clippings helps with water retention and adds valuable nutrients back into the soil as it breaks down.

How often should I apply mulch?

This will depend on your specific needs and the mulch you use. Generally, organic mulches such as compost or grass clippings should be reapplied annually to ensure optimal benefits.

Decorative mulches such as stones or rubber can last longer but may need occasional topping up. It is generally best to apply mulch in a thin layer (roughly two inches deep) and monitor the mulch levels throughout the year.

Does mulch attract pests?

In some cases, yes; however, this can be prevented with proper mulching techniques. It is important to ensure that the mulch you use is free of weed seeds or other debris, as these can attract unwanted pests like rodents and insects.

It is also important to keep mulch away from the base of trees and shrubs, as this can create an inviting environment for certain pests. With the right measures in place, mulch can be a great way to keep pests at bay.

Is mulch safe for pets?

For the most part, yes. However, it is important to select pet-safe options such as cocoa beans or wood chips, as some mulches may contain toxins that can harm animals.

You should also ensure that your pet does not ingest the mulch, which could lead to health problems. If you’re unsure, it is best to consult with a vet before applying mulch in areas that your pet frequents.

What should I do if my mulch starts to break down?

If the organic material in your mulch starts to decompose, you may need to add more mulch to your garden or landscape. The best way to do this is by removing the top layer of decomposing material and replacing it with fresh mulch. This will help maintain your mulch’s beneficial properties and keep your plants healthy.

Additionally, if you use decorative mulches such as stones or rubber, it is important to check for any signs of deterioration or fading and top up as needed.

Can mulch be used in a vegetable garden?

Yes! Mulching your vegetable garden can provide numerous benefits, such as improved moisture retention, reduced weed growth, and increased soil fertility.

It is important to select the right type of mulch for your vegetable gardens, such as organic materials like compost or grass clippings. It is also important to avoid using treated wood chips or any other mulch that may contain toxins that could harm your plants.

What should I do if my mulch starts to look unsightly?

Depending on the type of mulch you are using, there are several ways to keep it looking fresh. For example, if you use wood chips or bark mulches, you can freshen them up by spreading a thin layer of new material over the top. If you use decorative stones or rubber mulches, you may consider replacing any fading or damaged pieces.

It is also important to keep the area free of weeds and debris, as this can make your mulch look messy. With the right care and maintenance, you can ensure that your mulch looks great all year round.

What are the environmental benefits of mulching?

Mulching has numerous environmental benefits, such as reduced water consumption and improved soil fertility. Additionally, organic mulches can help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by preventing soil erosion and preserving organic matter in the ground.

Furthermore, adding mulch to your garden or landscape can also create a more inviting habitat for beneficial insects and birds, which can help to keep pests away.  Overall, mulching is a great way to promote sustainability and take better care of the environment.

How often should I replace my mulch?

The frequency of mulch replacement depends on the type of material you are using. Organic materials such as wood chips, straw, and grass clippings may need to be replaced every year or two since they will decompose over time.

Decorative stones and rubber mulches may last longer, but it is important to check for any fading or damage and replace them accordingly. It is also important to regularly inspect your mulch for signs of pests or disease and remove or replace it as needed. With regular maintenance, your mulch can last for many years.

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