Answer: I use old hay ("mulch hay") which I can usually get from local farmers. You can also use discarded corrugated cardboard, or even several thicknesses of newspaper, to get the same benefits. (It's not so attractive, though.) These will begin to decompose by the endof the growing season. I would avoid using bark chips, because they can be sharp and damage developing fruits. Also, be aware that fresh hay can contain weed seeds, which will essentially "seed" your garden to grass!
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