DON'T PUT MULCH IN YOUR VEGETABLE GARDEN! — UNLESS YOU HAVE TO!

DON'T PUT MULCH IN YOUR VEGETABLE GARDEN! — UNLESS YOU HAVE TO!

Our till vs. no-till comparison is well underway. Which plot is performing the best? Is this experiment really scientific? Join us to see the progress thus far.
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50 Comments

  1. Roger Feenstra on September 11, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    It’s 111 this week. We mulch heavy.

  2. FreeAmerican2024 on September 11, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    Charles Dowding does nor believe fire ants exist.

  3. Daniel Andre on September 11, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    My vegetable garden is in a spot of the yard that gets the most heat and sun all day long. So I had to put something down to keep the sun from drying out my soil so once I put down my cedar wood chips on my entire garden, everything grew phenomenal. Thank you mulch, and next year, all that mulch will be mixed into the soil along with a ton of compost.

  4. Ken Cowan on September 11, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    This is an AWESOME video. I’ve had a vegetable garden for over 30 years and I learn something new or reaffirm something old every time I watch one of your videos. Thanks for doing this.

  5. Your Soul Matters on September 11, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    you seem like a nice guy but come on, do you have any idea of the benefits of mulch? It lowers the soil temperature and most of your soil biology lives within the first two inches of the soil and with no mulch you are going to lose about half of that. Mulch also retains water and prevents erosion. Mulch also adds organic matter to the soil. So apply mulch for a good garden. And have you ever heard of Charles Dowding perhaps you should look him up, or maybe you missed "the"Back to Eden" movie. Come on I’m not even going to give you the time of day on this one.

  6. Robert Arias on September 11, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    Living Mulches

  7. steven458791 on September 11, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    Either no till or you’re dead to me.

  8. Steve Magruder on September 11, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    Some plants thrive with chopped straw as mulch, though, such as tomatoes and peppers. The straw prevents splash-up from the soil, which helps in controlling fungal issues. Also, you don’t have to water as much when it gets really hot in the summer. The straw also breaks down pretty quickly.

  9. JEIL on September 11, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    A cover crop is considered a living mulch. If you are going to seed a cover crop, you need to remove the existing mulch like straw, wood chips, whatever. For most its just a matter of raking it aside, but I see how that can be difficult for these guys with their farm fields. Once the cover crop is terminated you can rake the old mulch back into place.

  10. Michael Mcbratney on September 11, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    I put Straw around ALL my veggies, trees and anything else I plant. As dry as it is here in the south-west I only have to water every 4 to 5 days in the veggie garden…. except for seedlings…

  11. And OneMore on September 11, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    Check out the wall of beans in the distance on the left (at least I think that’s what it is)

  12. Kansas Gardener on September 11, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    Compost acts as mulch. I grow in raised beds and mulch with Kansas prairie hay. They harvest it before it seeds so no problem with that. I understand not mulching a huge plot or plots but in a sense you are with your compost.

  13. Norm Thibodeau on September 11, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    Year round gardening, I wish. My garden’s covered with a few feet of snow 5 months a year. Very interesting just the same. Thanks.

  14. Xyz Same on September 11, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    Of all the reasons, ease of sowing and the fire ants and termites are the legit arguments. If you work with seedlings it should not matter. but if you seed by hand you would have to shove the top covera aside and place your seeds. It is pretty easy to move wood chips around, maybe take it easy for a few days with the irrigation and wait after heavy rain, so they became lighter.

    So shove all the chips aside, then make a row to drop the seeds, cover them with soil. add some compost and then finish off with the top layer.

  15. countryrose763 on September 11, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    I have horrible access to compost. I would much sooner have compost than mulch

  16. Ward Roland on September 11, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    Thanks HT. Great job. Good info.

  17. Cheryl Bertolini on September 11, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    BCS Mower instead of tilling

  18. David Mosteller on September 11, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    too far south for me

  19. Barry Mcdonald on September 11, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    In Australia if I don’t mulch the compost dries out and blows away

  20. Beth on September 11, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    Good video. First time seeing your channel. I love seeing the dog. Looks like a Boykin Spaniel which is a breed I am very fond of.

  21. Nancy Webb on September 11, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    I planted mixed cover crops in my raised beds last fall. This spring I cut them down and left them on the surface. When planting time I raked them up and put them in my compost. My beds were full of earth worms which I had never had before. Not only did I have the roots to decompose but the worms were fertilizing the soil for me. I live in East Tennessee in zone 7a.

  22. Buffalo Branch Farms on September 11, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    Do you ever use or recommend using woven ground cover or landscaping fabric in your gardens?

  23. Tammy S Tam on September 11, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    I’m in the north Florida panhandle. I have very Sandy soil. I saw someone mixing wood shaving with sand to use as a growing medium in raised beds. With great success I should add. With prices so high right now I thought this might help me prepare an area for growing vegetables. My question, can I use white cedar and cherry wood chips??? A carpenter has 10, 55 gallon bags, they are offering me. A new Gardner needs some guidance 🥺

  24. whitetail renegade on September 11, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    Love your videos

  25. Charley Dowlearn on September 11, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Being from the south, I don’t usually use mulch due to fire ants as well. That is my main reason for not using it.

  26. Carl Sutherland on September 11, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Great content! I learn a lot just watching y’all work.

  27. Rick Pearce on September 11, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    I’m using two year old hay with no fertilizer or herbicides used on it for ground cover for my Cantaloupe garden . This does suppress the weeds and grass very well but am I making a home for insects. I’d did have a lot of insects and not a fan of insecticides. Is their a milder insecticides that won’t kill all the pollinators ? Second question is do you sell a wide rim straw hat that will keep the hot sun off my face and ears ? Thanks for your input .

  28. Wes Baumguardner on September 11, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    I do not see any mulch and have no idea how you came to your conclusion. Mulch is beneficial to your garden. Do not use synthetic/rubber mulch. Use whole tree mulch that includes various sized pieces from fine to large chunks, and incorporates leaves, twigs, sticks, branches, and the trunk. Never till the mulch into the soil unless you are not planning on using that area for a year or two because it will temporarily rob the nitrogen from the soil as the mulch breaks down. The benefits for using mulch are not as apparent the first year or two (depending on how long it takes to break down) but you will see results. You will be doing far less weeding, watering, and fertilizing. It will make your soil tilth better and your soil will hold more water. Plus, you can walk in your garden right after a heavy rain if you have a cohesive clay or similar soil. Compost is always good to add, as well. No till is better than tilling. Tilling kills many soil organisms, exposes your soil to the sun, and causes it to dry out quicker. This destroys the soil ecology plants rely on naturally to get their nutrients forcing you to use fertilizers to keep your plants alive. Your soil will also be hotter, which is not a good thing during the summer. Many plants cannot uptake nutrients in extremely hot soil. Also, root vegetables may bolt on you sooner due to the soil temperature increasing quicker.

  29. Car on September 11, 2021 at 11:02 pm

    I do have to use mulch unless I want to water every day once it’s in the triple digits. I only use cedar chips since it’s the only thing I’ve found that keeps slugs away. I keep it to a minimum and I don’t til it in so it doesn’t leach out the nitrogen.
    If I had better access to large amounts of compost I’d much rather do it your way. If you don’t need it, you don’t need it. You’ll drive yourself crazy looking too much into “feedback”.

  30. m baker on September 11, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    Have give you a thumb down. Very little mulch discussion.

  31. Heather Kennedy on September 11, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    I love your gentle Southern diplomatic way of suggesting that folks not get negative when discussing things. Too many uptight/hypercritical folks out there in the world these days. I’m a serious person in general, but the older I get the less seriously I take myself. Mother always used to say "Find your own Bliss" which is always how I have gardened. Ironically, the less I attempt to swim with the tides of other people’s opinion, the happier a person I have become. Kudos to you and your Dad for being such pleasant teachers and students. We enjoy your videos which always seem as if you two were just visiting with us out on the back porch with a glass of Lemonade on a hot day.

  32. Jake Sarms on September 11, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    I use straw mulch because it looks nice. It holds moisture, but in town it needs to look tidy for us and the neighborhood.

  33. Hoosier Hoes on September 11, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    I agree 100%

  34. Linda White on September 11, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    I am restarting my raised bed garden with supplemental grow bags (potatoes, tomatoes, etc.) and I have never been much of a mulcher except for the walking spaces. Thanks for your explanation on why not to.

    Like the idea of cover crop in between in the raised beds.

  35. John Reeves on September 11, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    Love these videos and your curiosity and testing. Can you share your Opinion on using some, not totally mulching, but some Pine Straw to hold moisture and screen from sun baking the bare soil layer.

  36. kamojet on September 11, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    This may or may not be constructive criticism i guess it depends on how you view it. I would say in a format such as this where every single one of your videos could be a first exposure of your channel to a new viewer that you would like to be a repeat viewer then you don’t want to spend 20 to 25% of the video introducing or teasing the potential viewer. I’m at 4:39 and I still haven’t decided if this is a video I want to see. And translated that really means I’m done watching. It’s cool for you to be you but in a world of bs I don’t have that much time to decide if you’re cool or if you’re bs.

  37. Trace Stevens on September 11, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Your gardens are beautiful!

  38. TODD FRANS on September 11, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing,,,very good comparison and explanation of different ways to go,,I am in the process of determining which is my fit

  39. Roy Klevmyr on September 11, 2021 at 11:15 pm

    It might be fun to try one plot in a true no till method. Charles Dowding has done some tests with no till and the results show that no till performs better. It would be interesting because in nature there is no till. It seems tilling the top 1/2 inch might be fine. No matter what I thank you for your program. We all learn from each other. Have a great day and best of luck with your gardening.

  40. OrganicHippieChic's Homestead on September 11, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    To prevent soil splash up fungus, you need MULCH!!!!!

  41. z prince on September 11, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    But you are using compost as mulch

  42. richard wooten on September 11, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    """"WIDE ROW PLANTINGS MAY BE SOMETHING FOR YOU TO CONSIDER ! PLANTS SHADE THEMSELVES VERY WELL , & CONSRVE WATER !

  43. Maranda Kelly on September 11, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Bless their hearts!! Making silly comments. You tell them I said to calm down and they need to go on with all that mess!! Leave these men alone folks!! They are just sharing what THEY do- go do you own thing & keep negativity AWAY!! Oh! & Hello to everyone in the gardening community who are pleasant folks!! Hey, there, hey!! Keep growin’ how you grow!! & Thanks for the experiment Hoss!!!

  44. Mikhail Kalashnikov on September 11, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    It also seems to me that the no till plot gets some shade at the time of the video at least.

  45. Tina Luise on September 11, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Sorry but tilling once a year is too much. Your saving grace is that your adding enormous amount of compost. Cover crops are used so we don’t need to till. Can’t you bury the drip tap once and leave it? What do you use to cultivate a 1/2 inch? I love your knowledge on cover crops

  46. Cheryl Bertolini on September 11, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    Charles Dowding does exact side by side plots on his youtube channel

  47. Lars Hildebrandt on September 11, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    I like your logic and reasoning, and it is interesting with your zones what works for you. We are in Northern Ontario in Zone 2, so a world of a difference. I have used mulch (straw and hay), and the negative affects out-way the positive ones. I have also used a really shredded leaf/tree/branch mulch in food forests and inter-planted it with certain annuals to great affect. Garlic and onions do great in the leaf/wood mulch, cabbages and brassicas do terrible, which I understand is because their roots do not interact with the mycelium in these fine mulch soils. I now do a combination of planting in that wood/leaf mulch (which is also no-till, and using the tarp method, which I like to rotate on my hay field, killing the grasses/wild herbs just enough to plant through the field residue. This works awesome! Thank you for sharing your experiences and your rationale! It is so interesting to hear how problems are solved in different areas! The worst weed here is a very fast growing crab grasses that do VERY well in our areas, and are nearly impossible to eradicate or control without the tarp method, OR a cover crop. Cheers!

  48. Dennis Conrad on September 11, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    I moved to Northern Maine and bought 50 acres of pretty much useless land. When I looked at the land I could barely pull the car off the road in what I could see was an old driveway the loggers had put in 30+ years ago. But it was all grown up thick with small trees. Mostly Balsam Fir. I bought a 9600 lb mini excavator, and added a root rake attachment and started clearing. Two summers ago, where my garden is, was a woods. Cleared that off first summer. Last year was my first garden. The soil was very poor. Using a Harbor freight chipper/shredder I shredded mulch hay (pretty much just grass and weeds) and covered it with about 3” of mulched. (Shredded hay) then I tilled that in as deep as my tiller would go, (spending hours digging out roots as I went) and planted my first garden. Last summer was very hot and dry. A lot of stuff didn’t do very good, but I also knew I had more mulch tilled in than normal, but I wanted to get a jump start on the soil for this year. Last fall I dug out an old beaver dam near by that had been sitting idle for years, and put that on the garden and tilled everything as deep as I could again. This spring, I have some pretty impressive soil. All the mulch rotten down over winter, but I tilled it deep again.

    What I’m leading up to is this. From the beginning, I had planned on setting this up as a no-till garden. But I had to get the very poor soil a jump start. I planted my garden 2500+ sq ft, and mulched heavy with shredded Barley straw.

    My no-till planting method is a Harbor Freight gas auger with a 2” auger for most things. 6” for others. I can auger about 12” push the “tilled” up dirt back in the hole with wood ash, urine, and some bone meal, then plant my seedling. Actually, I drilled the holes, add my amendments, let the holes sit open for about a week and then popped in my seedling. From here on out, other then where I’ll plant seeds, I’m just going to drill down through what ever is there and plant my seedlings. My theory is this. Tilling kills more worms, and all the other stuff soil has naturally, I don’t see the advantage. Im banking on the worms to do what everybody else is buying. I just needed to create an environment that would entice them to move in. I’m attempting to do just what this guy finally said at about the 20 minute mark. Grow a garden with very little bought from out side. I will buy Epsom salt, calcium nitrate, and probably bone meal. Other then that, I’m hoping everything thing else is in-house.

    This is my second year with this garden carved out of scrub land, and I’m very proud at what I see. Much better than last year.

  49. ran hen on September 11, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    Where did you get that tripod sprinkler ?? You need to carry those on your Web site, I would buy one, just got the 8 mill. drip tape yesterday already got an EZFlow injector and it kicks ass- drip tape looks good to me, got the conventional, trying a change
    – you guys are crushing it . Dam good work boys – Here in AR where the soil is rocks AF. Gardened in San Fran bay area and Redding Cali, now in AR,

  50. OldPhart OutIn TheDesert on September 11, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    I live in the Mojave Desert. Mulch holds moisture that would disappear in minutes here. It’s working for me.

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