I cannot say enough how mulching your garden will save you from watering. I grew a patch of romaine lettuce heads last year, they grew from Feb-April or so. I watered them at the beginning, and a few times in between. For the rest of the 3 months they had several inches of oak leaves as a mulch which kept me from having to use more than several gallons on them a few times.
Mulching also keeps the soil from direct rainfall which compacts the soil on top, forming a crust.
Mulch keeps down weeds. Most weed seeds need light to germinate. Having a thick 3-4 inch mulch around plants will prevent most weeds, eliminating the chore of weeding.
Mulch is especially helpful to small trees and shrubs that benefit from not having to fight weeds for nourishment and water.
What to use for mulch? My personal favorite is hay, followed by straw and oak leaves. Keep the black plastic mulch for melons and such that can use the extra warmth during the growing season.
A plus to organic mulches is that you are adding organic matter to the soil. You almost eliminate the need for a tiller, especially if you have deep or raised beds. The mulch keeps the soil loose and crumbly. When you need to plant, pull it back and seed.
Consider mulching as a major time saver in the garden.