It was for me. It allowed me to suppress weeds, retain moisture, reduce watering to almost nothing, create worm/fungi/microbe/insect/spider habitat, protect soil from rain impact, protect soil surface from drying out/loosing microbial activity/blowing away/washing away. Mulch turns fresh tilled soil, or freshly covered soil (newspaper/cardboard), into a potential habitat/ecology rather than a dead zone. All of these were pretty much immediate benefits. I used hay because it is less acidic, and breaks down faster into living soil, but it has downfalls like grass seeds and creating vole habitat.
My question, is deep mulching that important to new gardens?
I have access to new and aged wood chips, finished compost and a limited amount of goat/chicken manure. I also have been collecting fall leaves and grass clippings from the neighborhood. (Pesticide free) My garden area is fairly shaded which I hope to trim a few trees to provide more sunlight and to keep the trees healthy.
My goal is to have a small vegetable garden, be organic as possible so I may have a place for exercise and peace. My secondary goal is to have fresh and healthy produce.