Deep Mulch Raised Beds

Deep mulch raised beds with hay to keep weeds and watering to a minimum during the growing season.

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Why Deep Mulched Worked for this garden space.

Deep mulch is a process of applying thick layers over soil to keep it moist during brutal hot temperatures.

Last week we already reached the mid 90’s so I spent the early morning hours getting the raised beds mulched.

This little detail actually decreases my workload with less weeding and watering.

Normally I use a natural wood chip blend, it’s encouraging when chip mulch works back into the soil as a nutrient booster. For some reason I thought, “What a about hay?”


Using the hay was a bold move and way out of my comfort zone.  The idea is to apply a thick layer over the soil, this is where the concept deep mulch surfaces.

Let me be truthful, I prefer a brown surface in my raised beds, it just looks wonderful against the shades of green. So why did I think hay might be a better option?

It occurred to me that a bale of hay would run $10 and a bag of mulch would run anywhere from $5 to $7 each.

The idea of loading and unloading mulch sounded exhausting compared to one bale of hay.

Then I remembered the last time I purchased mulch the chickens made a mess of it.  Normally this wouldn’t be such a big deal but I’m trying to decrease my work load instead of increasing.

After weighing the pros and cons I decided to swallow my pride and just go with hay.

The first step was to water the garden followed by covering the beds with a thick layer of hay.  I really struggled then decided to get over myself and get the job done.

This concept of deep mulch doesn’t look horrible it’s just not my first choice, but I could see where it would make my life a little easier.

The hay helps keep the soil from drying out as fast and so far it’s been working great.

When the dirt stays moist the plants continue growing at a consistent rate which means harvesting will also be more consistent.


After each bed was covered I watered a little bit more to try and pack it down.  I’m hoping we get a good rain sometime soon and then I can apply another layer.

This same method could be used with an open space garden, I think it actually might look better and would defiantly help conserve water and labor.

Last week I watered every other evening and the weeds have been minimal.

Then Sunday night after watering I noticed the ground was still moist from two days ago.  I went ahead and add more hay and moved my watering routine to every third evening.

This deep mulch just may be the solution for making life a little easier.

By decreasing my workload I finally have a few evenings where relaxing is a possibility.

If you’re temperatures are taking over and draining moisture out of your soil then deep hay mulch might be something to consider in your garden.



Why Deep Mulched Worked for this garden space.

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  1. I think that straw might be better than hay…but I haven’t tried it. Hay includes seeds and straw doesn’t it also is thicker stems so it might last longer. Just a thought…

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