Mulch is any material spread over the surface of the soil to retain moisture, keep weeds down, keep beds cool and looking attractive. A little mulch immediately after planting can keep the soil moist and encourage root growth. As it decomposes, it increases the richness of the soil. Examples of mulch are compost, compost manure, shredded or chipped bark, newspaper, straw, or shredded leaves.
Shredded or chipped bark is the most common form of mulch and good for use around trees, shrubs and garden beds where there is not a lot of digging. The Farm at Green Village offers a wide variety of shredded premium hardwood bark natural and black/brown cedar to pine bark nuggets.
Shredded leaves are the cheapest option and are great for woodland gardens and entice more earthworms. The leaves should be shredded so they don't mat down and prevent your plants from getting water. They also break down quickly so if you put leaves over your vegetable garden in the Fall, they will decompose over the winter and enrich your soil for planting in the Spring.
Straw or Salt Hay is great for a vegetable garden. Salt Hay is more expensive but contains no weed seeds and does not mat. Straw decomposes very slowly and is a natural habitat for spiders and other beneficial insects to keep your pest population in control.
When mulching, remember to spread a thin layer over your soil after you have weeded you planting bed. After you have evenly distributed the mulch, sprinkle a thin layer of Preen Weed Control to keep weeds at bay. The following picture may help you calculate how much mulch you will need given the size of your planting areas. Mulching can be done in the spring or fall, but only once per year.