House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

What are the Best Organic Mulches? 7 Great Options

gardener mulching flower bed

Mulch is a material—usually decaying or dried—layered around a plant with the aim of aiding soil quality. Mulch can retain tremendous amounts of moisture in the ground, improve the health and fertility of the soil, and suppress weeds. Some mulch types, such as wood chips or shredded bark, can enhance the overall appeal of a garden and create healthier beds.

In the article below, you can learn the best organic mulches to acquire and their basic features that help improve your garden’s soil.

garden flower divider

The 7 Options for the Best Organic Mulch

1. Dry Leaves

Broken Leaf Mulch Non sharpen
Image Credit: Eldred Lim, Shutterstock

Collecting dry leaves from your garden now has a much more valuable purpose. Dry leaves provide the top of the soil with beneficial nutrients and are excellent at suppressing weeds. Since fallen leaves are so easy to acquire, they are one of the best organic garden mulches. Use dry leaves on your vegetable bed immediately after gathering them.

Another way to utilize dry leaves is to turn them under the soil when the garden bed is still empty and have a rich, hummus-like soil in spring, ready for planting herbs and vegetables.

2. Newspaper and Cardboard

Newspaper is another excellent source of organic mulch since it is 100% biodegradable, and each house has large quantities stored for such occasions. Newspaper is terrific because it breaks down relatively fast, retains moisture, and suppresses weeds. Lay 3 to 5 strips of newspaper around your plants using an interlocking grid pattern.

If you are struggling with a lot of wind in your area, try adding a bit of moisture to the newspaper or adding clumps of soil on the very ends.

3. Wood Chips

wood chips mulch
Image Credit: Olichel, Pixabay

Wood chips are one of the most popular choices for organic mulch, although they are only suitable for specific gardens because they break down slowly. Those gardens growing vegetables or flowers that need to be replanted several times a year are not suited for using wood chips as mulch. While wood chips used as mulch are not excellent for annual garden beds, they are fantastic at suppressing weeds.

Wood chips are also ideal for creating a pathway between garden beds because they reduce mess and mud during rainy days.

4. Grass Clippings

Throwing away your grass clippings is a waste once you learn how to use them properly. Grass clippings can serve as excellent organic mulch and can bring many benefits to your garden. Apply a 1-inch layer in your garden bed, and once the clippings dry, they will form a weed-suppressing mat. Grass clippings are excellent at retaining moisture, feeding microbes, and maintaining a clean and polished look in your garden.

They are best for young tomato plants and other vegetables that enjoy nitrogen-rich soil. They also break down much faster, causing the soil to heat up, which is another great feature.

5. Straw

covering cucumber plants with straw mulch
Image Credit: Marina Varnava, Shutterstock

Straw is dried grass that is harvested for purposes unrelated to food. They are most commonly used as organic mulch or for animal bedding. Straw is excellent as organic mulch because it is typically seed free. When using straw as mulch, it is essential to add it in a thick layer, so it doesn’t blow away easily.

Although straw is not an attractive option for ornamental gardens, it is excellent for creating dry footpaths between rows, free from mud and puddles.

6. EZ Straw Biodegradable Organic Mulch

EZ straw seeding mulch is an amazing method of protecting your seeds from heavy rain, wind, birds, or other animals. It comes with a bonding agent, which gives the straw tackiness and holds it together. When using straw organic mulch, you won’t have to water your seeds as much, and the seeds will still germinate quickly.

7. Organic Pine Bark

shredded barks of pine
Image Credit: Elly Miller, Shutterstock

Pine bark is 100% organic mulch, ideal for garden lovers. It acts as an insulating layer for potting soil and is great for both planting and repotting. The bark chips promote aeration of the soil and retain moisture, which promotes healthy root development.

garden flower divider


After reading about different organic mulches that are suitable for most gardens, you get to pick out the one that suits you best. You may be searching for practicality, mulch that breaks down faster or slower, or mulch that provides an attractive appearance to your garden. No matter what you are looking for, these mulches can provide you with a healthy and thriving vegetable garden in no time.

Featured Image Credit: Ronstik, Shutterstock


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools