Is Bark Mulch Around Vegetable Plants Safe?

Overview

Bark mulch is safe to use around vegetable plants but is not the best choice. According to the National Gardening Association, most vegetable gardeners prefer mulch that decomposes faster than bark mulch. Vegetables grow quickly and need soil that is rich in nutrients for the highest crop production.

Significance

Bark mulch decomposes slowly and depletes the soil of nitrogen. Other organic mulches are better for growing vegetable plants.

Function

Gardeners use mulch at the base of vegetable plants to retain soil moisture, control weeds, provide additional nutrients and maintain a consistent soil temperature.

Types

Grass clippings, pine straw, corncobs and nut hulls are better for vegetable gardening, due to the fast decomposition rate, than is bark mulch.

Application

Gardeners remove old mulch before applying a new layer to vegetable gardens, thus reducing nitrogen depletion from the soil. Apply 1 to 2 inches of mulch at the base of vegetables at the beginning of the growing season.

Dried Seaweed

Dried seaweed provides nitrogen, potassium and trace minerals needed for the large crop yields desired when vegetable gardening. Add dried seaweed to corncobs, porous organic compost, nut hulls or bark mulch for enhanced growth.

Warning

Dried seaweed becomes slick in texture when added to grass clipping or pine straw mulch.

References

  • National Gardening Association: Shopper's Guide to Bark Mulch
  • Royal Horticultural Society: Seaweed Products

Who Can Help

  • The Garden Helper Vegetable Growing Tips
Keywords: vegetable gardening, bark mulch, growing vegetables, mulching vegetables

About this Author

Daniel Smith graduated from technical school in 1993 and has been writing since 2005. His has written numerous articles for the instructional website called eHow in areas including gardening, home improvement, celebrating special events and health-related topics.