In virtually every planting guide I will stress mulching, but not all much is created equal. Nor can they always be used interchangeably. There are a few plants and types of mulch that will need to be handled differently.
Hobby Farms has put together an easy-to-read diagram to help you choose the best mulching practices for your garden. Click the image for a larger view.
Two quick amendments: Pine needles are very acidic and should not be used as a general vegetable garden mulch but may be used sparingly as a supplement for acid-loving plants such as strawberries and tomatoes; Manure should be cured or dry before applying to garden beds to avoid burning your plants. You will know it is cured when it no longer smells like a steaming pile of manure but has an earthy aroma.