i've done some searches, but i keep getting totally conflicting messages so I'm hoping you guys can help me (again)!
1. mulch: i have a raised vegetable bed (4x10) with 3 tomato plants, 3 cucumber plants and 3 squash seedlings (but will probably thin out to fewer than that).
the soil is, i think, pretty good. really good potting soil with lots of good compost mixed in (bought). the top seems to be getting dried out as the days get hotter here (just east of nyc). should i be putting a mulch on top to keep the soil moister?
i keep reading conflicting things about mulch. i know i want to keep the soil warm and i don't want to mess with that, but I'm afraid it's getting too dried out. i have cedar wood chips and i've read that they might not be good for tomatoes? but then, of course, i read that you can use anything.
so, to mulch or not to mulch? wait to mulch? do it now? do it never?
2. watering: i am struggling with how often and how much to water the plants and very new seedlings. the tomatoes and 2 of the cucumbers were bought as plants and i planted the squash and one set of cucumber seeds directly outside. how to i know how much water is too much?
do i water the areas between the plants? i've been just watering the plants but then the rest of the bed looks so dry and is starting to crack.
when i first started the garden (a week ago) the soil was nice and uniform. now it's very clumpy and dry between the plants. do i fix that? how?
3. planting herbs: i have basil, oregano and sage right now. i was considering adding the basil to the vegetable bed by the tomatoes but i wasn't sure if there was room. what do you guys think? (photo below!)
can i just place the rest of the herbs in a long pot together in front of the vegetables? or should they have their own pots?
the garden the first day. note nice moist soil!
the garden a week later. the soil is clumpy and dryish (although wetter around the plants).
does the soil look okay?
can i plant basil in front of the tomatoes or am i out of room?