Organic Mulching | Complete guide | Types of Padding and Advantages

What is mulching or padding and what are its advantages? How many types of organic mulching are there? Today we will talk about this ecological technique that is so common in organic gardens: the installation of mulching or ground covers.

As we saw in the article on “Padding or mulch for the garden”, there are several types of mulch, among which are inorganic or inert padding, such as gravel or plastic mulch. In today’s post we will focus on another type of mulch for the garden: organic mulching.

Next we will see what are the advantages of putting mulch on the ground and we will review the characteristics of the different types of organic mulch.

Advantages of mulching or padding

There are multiple benefits and advantages of mulching in the organic garden. The use of covers or padding in the substrate is an ecological technique that we can get a lot of use out of in the orchard, mainly for two reasons:

  • Materials such as pruning remains, food waste, old newspapers… are reused or recycled (this is important because recycling is one of the principles of Organic Farming).
  • Resource efficiency is improved, that is, we will need less water and less heat from outside because the mulching layer will prevent a fairly large part of it from being lost.

As can be seen in the following image, the loss of rainwater from the soil by evaporation is only 10% if we have our crops protected with a mulch layer, compared to 80% or more that would be lost if the soil is « naked».

In addition, mulching helps regulate soil temperature, so that temperature differences in the substrate between day and night are much smaller, which will benefit our crops because they will be better protected from low temperatures.

In addition, there are other advantages of mulching, such as protection against weeds and against certain pests or diseases (The appearance of the potato beetle, for example, can be prevented by putting a layer of mulching or padding on the ground).

Types of organic or padded mulch for the garden

These are some examples of organic mulching that we can put in the garden to protect the soil and improve the yields of our crops.

Mulch or mulch with dry leaves

You can make leaf mulch by piling them up and letting them decompose in a container (it takes about a year) or you can use dried leaves as mulch. A piece of advice: if you shred the leaves before putting them in the ground, you will help more to maintain moisture. Padding with oak, oak or cork oak leaves also repels slugs, worms and caterpillars.

Leaf mulch is one of the most widely used types of mulching, a great soil improver. It favors, among other things, microbial activity. If you have a garden with trees, using the leaves as mulching is a great option.

mulch with compost

Highly recommended for poor soils or those that have had very demanding crops the previous year that deplete the soil, since if you mulch with compost you are doing two things: protecting the soil and, at the same time, fertilizing it.

In addition, composting is a good ecological technique because with it you reuse kitchen, garden or orchard waste. You can buy it or try to make it yourself (we saw some guidelines in the post How to make homemade compost step by step).

Mulching with sawdust

Sawdust or wood chips will help keep the soil more humid and fresh, so it is recommended for crops that require this type of soil, such as wild fruits.

In all cases, the mulching must be placed once it is dry, since if it is wet there may be fermentations that damage the crops. The layer must be thick (about 3 cm) to be effective, and it is recommended to water it once installed so that it settles well and does not blow away in the wind.

Mulching with pine needles

It is indicated for plants that accept or prefer acid soils, such as blueberries, strawberries, garlic or potatoes.

padded with grass

With this type of mulching you will not only protect the soil, but you will also supply nitrogen and other nutrients. Use it for demanding crops such as chard, broccoli or plants with larger fruits such as cucurbits and nightshades.

Mulching with newspaper

Putting newspaper on the ground is good to help the seed germinate. Shred or shred newspaper sheets and spread them out on the ground leaving small holes where you put the seeds. It is also good if your garden is in a very dry area as it retains moisture by keeping it in the substrate.

If you have doubts, you know other types of mulching that I have not mentioned or you want to give us your experience with mulching the garden, go ahead! You can leave comments below.

Thanks to MERCANATURA for the infographic on the types of mulching from which I have taken the photos and part of the information for this post.


  1. Brechelt, A., 2004. Ecological soil management. Agriculture and Environment Foundation (FAMA), Dominican Republic.
  2. Zribi, W. et al., 2011. Effects of Mulching on Moisture, Temperature, Structure, and Salinity of Agricultural Soils. Agricultural Technical Economic Information (ITEA 2011), vol. 107, no. 2, p. 148-162.
  3. Zribi, W., 2015. Efficiency of inorganic and organic mulching materials for soil evaporation control. Soil and Tillage Research, Vol. 148, p. 40-45.
  4. Mendonça, SR et al., 2021. The effect of different mulching on tomato development and yield. Scientia Horticulturae, vol. 275 (109657)

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