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I don't know if it's the best, but for the past couple yrs I've just gotten a bale of straw and once my plants get established, I cover the rows with straw. We get very little rain, sometimes none, from about mid June to early September, and I'm on a very low gpm well, so availability of water is an issue during the hot summer months (southern oregon will typically be in the 90's to low 100's in july/august), so I've found that straw keeps the soil moister for a longer period of time and if I water heavy, I can skip a day or two before needing to water again.
 
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