How to Use Sawdust in a Vegetable Garden

Written by megan shoop
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How to Use Sawdust in a Vegetable Garden
Sawdust from woodworking projects can be repurposed into mulch. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Garden mulch keeps plant roots warm in the winter, protects moisture from evaporating and adds nutrients to the soil. Mulch also keeps down weeds; if the sun can't reach the weed sprouts, the weeds can't grow. Sawdust is an eco-friendly mulch that gives your garden a bright, fresh look. Just don't use sawdust made from pressure-treated wood. Pressure-treated wood will leach harmful chemicals into the soil.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Sawdust
  • Garden rake
  • Water
  • Liquid nitrogen fertiliser
  • Watering can

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  1. 1

    Drop sawdust in handfuls around each of your plants, leaving a 4-inch space between the base of each plant and the sawdust mulch. Cover spaces between plants, too. Complete coverage prevents weed growth and competition for nutrients.

  2. 2

    Rake handfuls of sawdust into a 3-inch layer of mulch. If the raked-out sawdust is not at least 3 inches thick, drop more handfuls and rake it out again. Your garden should look bright and clean between plants.

  3. 3

    Add 1 tablespoon of liquid nitrogen fertiliser per gallon of water in your watering can. Water around your plants as usual. Adding nitrogen fertiliser is helpful because sawdust can cause a nitrogen deficiency in your soil.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't water the paths between your plants with nitrogen fertiliser. This can cause the weed growth you're trying to prevent.
  • Never use sawdust from pressure-treated wood. This can kill your plants.

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