straw or hay for garden mulch

50 some odd years and never had any problems with heat, spoilage or anything else for that matter. How to Use Hay or Straw in the Garden For Best Results from Lisa at The Self Sufficient HomeAcre. We love to teach and share our methods with you, so that you too can grow, harvest and preserve your own home grown food! Have you ever picked strawberries in a field? It’ll be ok, but based on my experience from using loose grass hay for several years & not having a shelter to put it in. I paid an average $200 a ton for 20 or more tons when I had an elk and deer (and other wildlife) refuge. Looking for any unwanted mulch. I rarely used either, and when I used hay, it was sparingly, and it was composted for at least two years in a pile in a remote area of my ranch. Blown-in weeds won’t land in a moist environment and sprout but, on the other hand, in-ground weeds are more easily able to push through a straw mulch from the bottom due to its fluffy nature. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest where it is mild and damp all winter long. We have been salting hay for thousands of years because salt inhibits the bacteria that breaks down (compost) the hay. This year I did buy a straw bale for mulch among tomatoes and peppers with satisfactory results. You’re a good example of someone should has put some thought and planning into their system to get the most out of it. . Regardless if you will choose pine straw or mulch, to ensure the highest level of effectiveness, here are some things you need to keep in mind: Kill the weeds in the landscape before the application of the mulch and pine straw. I prefer clippings for mulch over straw or hay because it’s easier to work with. Feel free to pin on Pinterest! Where I live, old hay is easy to come by and usually free, where I would have to pay $3-$5 a bale for straw. The author may not currently be available to respond to comments, however we encourage our Community members to chime in to share their experiences and answer questions! A 4 foot strip of carpet keeps the raspberries from coming up in the pathway. Straw, not hay (many don't know the difference) is considered the ideal garden mulch and has been for decades. The quality can vary hugely depending on the skill of the farmer making the bales and the quality of his hay fields. Grass hay, Lucerne mulch, sugar cane and pea straw. Here is a list of some great ways to use hay as mulch in your own garden. Planning the best method of mulching your garden is important for fertility and moisture retention, and it will also significantly reduce the amount of time you spend watering and weeding, which will in turn increase your enjoyment of your garden. GardenStraw is an all-natural biodegradable garden mulch that reduces watering, weeding, and damage to your plants giving you healthier plants and saving you time and money. Hi I live in Middle Tennessee, just started my first raised bed garden this year, it is appr. Non organic straw/hay bales are good to sit on or make into a straw bale house, but that’s about it. But, in reality, most of us just have to use whatever we’ve got. Hay refers to grass that has been cut while green, dried, and then made into square or round bales. Hello and Welcome! Folks use wood mulch for decorative reasons. It is more expensive than other forms of mulch, however this is a great option if you have a compost bin and only have a small area to mulch. Any problems I have had are not due to my vegetables dying, but rather “volunteers”, as we like to call them, sprouting from viable seeds left in the bales and trying to take over the space. amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "thereidhomest-20"; Because hay packs down densely, the weeds from underneath get smothered and die very quickly. They are picky eaters (believe it or not ), they eat about 33-50 % of the hay and toss the balance aside from the hay rack. I like garden paths made of saw dust and wood chips ( wood chips with leaf debris… like from a tree service chippings, not the commercial dyed wood chips), and I plant clover in the chips/saw dust. But if you’re trying to suppress weeds, do you really want this? Not everyone has 20 acres and can pick the perfect spot. Straw mulch is a ‘new again’ practice for many gardeners. I use a no till method of gardening called Back to Eden gardening, or Lasagna Gardening, for all of my gardening, vegetable, flower and fruit gardens. A note about water. ), Categorised in: Compost & Soil, Garden Design, Gardens, This post was written by Elizabeth Faires. See my post Hay or Straw – Which to use for Mulch.Be extremely careful with hay that is not organic. What we're talking about here is the whole bale, as it stands, tied with twine and used for planting plants on the top. See my post Hay or Straw – Which to use for Mulch.Be extremely careful with hay that is not organic. Practical use for rock mulch is strawberries on a steep hillside. I withdrew 1.5 tons of produce last year. Sign up for more Gardening & Homesteading tips! amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "manual"; A guide to using mulch in your yard or garden. It’s all going in the soil in the end anyway, and the pile of bales can act as a windbreak while it waits to be used. Then knowing the average straw sold at stores, co-ops and feed stores are mainly the GMO type, I’ve totally avoid it now. Straw Mulch. It provides bulk, fiber, sugar, and nutrients to animal diets. Some things to consider… What is Hay? Using hay or straw as mulch in the garden has the following benefits: Reduces moisture loss and reduces watering; Keeps soil cooler in hot weather; Prevents weed growth and reduces weeding; Breaks down to increase organic matter in the soil; Is an all natural mulch, unlike black plastic or weed barrier fabric; Make a Garden Path . I use pinestraw for my passage ways instead of hay or straw. yes! You will notice that the soil is loose and lovely, thanks to all the little worms and microbes doing their thing beneath the mulch. I am buying a couple of loads of garden soil, and I’ve laid in a good supply of wood chips. It often smelled almost like mint. See my tutorial on How to Build a Simple DIY Straw Bale Cold Frame. To plant in the bed, I just move the straw away, clearing away right down to the dirt. So now that you know the difference between straw and hay . Wood mulches break down slowly and are typically used in flower and ornamental garden beds. It is right up there as one of the most often types of mulch used. The “cleaner” you can get straw (few weed seeds) the better. So what happens is that these organisms get a new food source (your hay compost) and they multiply rapidly, which depletes the soil of nitrogen. (But I can’t imagine most of us deliberately placing rocks in the garden, can you? Hay will not give you a dry layer of cover that is pleasing to look at, but it is a great mulch for growing flowers and vegetables, and you’ll get a fantastic yield. But after talking to Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead, I realized using hay as mulch isn’t without its risks. Now only if the darn weather would cooperate! To start a garden, with seeds or starters, first create a thick layer of hay, up to eight inches (20 cm. . Straw, not hay (many don't know the difference) is considered the ideal garden mulch and has been for decades. Do some work better in areas of wind or rain? so, by using hay that might be weedy for your mulch, your introducing more seeds to your garden then what you want. If you are not used to looking at a bale of hay and sizing up just how weedy it is, would suggest straw is the way to go. And that is….Hay has the seed head of not only of the good “weeds” (clover, plantain, etc.) I will usually use it several times throughout the growing season. I have been using straw for mulch in the garden for years and I love it. If you're planting a vegetable garden, consider covering it with straw, salt hay, or weed … The mistake most people make is using compost - such as mushroom compost, garden compost or a cubed pea-straw-based product - as mulch. Hay can be an Excellent Mulch if If you have enough property to grow your own hay for mulch, you can harvest before the seed heads develop. I found with hay, there will always be more weed seeds which simply have to be attended. As the weather drains the top surface of pile of nutrients to core, it becomes more like dry straw. Organic mulches not made from hay include straw, pine straw, and wood and bark. Straw suitable for use as a mulch contains no seed heads and is generally seed-free, otherwise it may introduce weeds into the garden. It’s relatively cheap, especially if you shop around at general stores and grain elevators, rather than specialty garden shops. This row was mulched with straw. Inquire to your local supplier about their cultivation practices, or purchase organic straw. I’ve seen gardens grown in carpet in 3rd world countries, but that is a simply a trade between not starving now for cancer and disease later. Look up the balance of what makes it so great. (This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on July 20, 2015. We’re just trying to make the best of what we’ve got, and that’s what makes a great gardener or homesteader—the ability to problem-solve. Surely some of these mulching methods work better than others, wouldn’t you think? Jim’s confusion is justified. One odd way to kill weeds easily is to acquire outdoor carpeting made from tires. It’s not overly dry hay that overheats it’s wet or green hay, and that can be because of loose bailing but more often by not letting green cuttings dry out enough before you bail. I reserve some for mid season fertilizing mulch (aka; compost tea and mulch of unbroken-down biomass components). But, in a garden, weeds are a way of life anyway, and the benefits of the mulch will outweigh the extra weeds that the mulch happens to bring. Modern farmers still salt hay, even tho most currently store hay in metal shelters. This helps give the plants the needed boost and moisture conservation during flowering and bulk growth. Lol. Mulching is generally used to save water, suppress weeds and improve the soil around plants but it also gives your garden a neat, tidy appearance and can reduce the amount of time spent on tasks such as watering and weeding. I live in Halifax and travel around the province regularly for my job. Seeds in the hay rot under the carpet. Thanks. Easy and efficient. Suppress weeds between your garden rows using nothing more than straw or hay. Don't do straw bale gardening because it sounds like fun. That said, I’m looking to protect my grass near the porch. With one application, it can easily last the whole season. Here is a list of some great ways to use hay as mulch in your own garden. Our featured article this week goes over this in great detail! You can find it by looking at your local online advertisement site, such as kijiji or craigslist, or by asking your farming friends. One (or 2) things that I’ve noticed in this post is that, hay is not just grass or just have clover & such, as it basically states, they did mention towards the bottom of the article about it (hay) containing legume’s. Straw is simply the stalk of grains, so after wheat (or rice or rye or whatever) is harvested, farmers will often cut and bale the remaining stalks as straw. Why pay money for straw if a local farmer will give you hay in July for nothing? I also have a severe gluten allergy, so don’t like to handle straw or have it right by my food! Or if the hay is a mix it’s Alfalfa & grass, some know the %. And the number of casual horse owners around where we live make sure that straw is always available since it’s a great bedding material. Hay generally doesn’t harbor mice, because it’s too dense. Straw does add some bulk to your soil, but it is mostly composed of cellulose and fiber that are left over after the plant puts all its nutrients into the seed heads that were harvested for grain. It free and they deliver. But we don’t all live in a perfect world, do we? I’ve been thinking of using saw dust/wood shavings as a mulch. I also use garden weeds compost for growing my potatoes in. Most backyard gardeners nowadays don't need, or would pay a small fortune for 25 bales of hay, straw, lucerne or pea straw or other mulch material. Check out our range of Mulch products at your local Bunnings Warehouse. A good mulch also helps the soil to remain cool and moist longer in summer and can insulate the soil in colder weather. (clopyralid, picloram, aninophyralid or aminocyclopyrachlor)You may want to review my post Compost – Mulch – Residual Herbicides – What you can do About Them in Your Garden A thick layer of straw mulch is a good alternative for edible gardens to protect newly planted seeds or tender seedlings and help retain water. Ask a carpet installer they will often deliver it free rather than pay the dump fee. Wood mulches break down slowly and are typically used in flower and ornamental garden beds. Garden Center. The animals don’t mind the salted hay (they will just spend less time at the salt lick). Many people think they’re identical because they’re both often tied into square or rectangular bales, but a closer look reveals that they’re actually quite different. You might want to seed it with clover and look at the pretty green clover patch for a couple years before you try to garden in it. …Which happened to me once. Plus, i don’t know about the author, but when I’ve used straw as mulch (not always an on purpose thing), when I’ve moved some off the ground after a rain…..it’s been dry for the most part, because the straw does hold/repel water, where as the grass mulch soaks it up (like was stated), but while it causes the grass mulch to get compacted, it also easily & quickly produces mold, where as the straw doesn’t (based on my experience). In fact, the principal uses for straw in the U.S. over the past 200 years have been as animal bedding, for insulating walls in homes (or building straw bale houses), and for covering the ice in ice houses to act as insulation so that the ice is available for use during the summer. Some straw mulches may be mixed with hay, which can weed seeds that can sprout in your garden rows. Straw vs. Hay: Which Makes a Better Mulch? Straw Has Few Potential Problems. In most areas of the US “hay” is usually referred to as Alfalfa or if it’s grass, they break it down to call it Timothy or Orchard. Because straw is fluffier and makes less direct contact with the soil, it takes longer to decompose . But where I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, it is actually more expensive to buy straw than it is to buy hay, because not much straw is produced locally. The problem with using these as mulch … As they run out of food, the organisms die and the nitrogen is once again available for the plants to use. Our favorite homesteading and gardening tools in our Amazon Store! The Secret to Easy Gardening, Mulch for No WEEDS! Straw is mostly carbon and as a material is similar to, but with less nutrients than grass hay. Usually spent or soiled straw or hay has gone moldy, or it may have been used as animal bedding. As all practical gardeners know, you use what you have or can easily get. Many nurseries and garden centers carry straw in bags or … My aim is 25-33% clay without going broke to get there. Otherwise, it can sprout and create even more “weeds” in your garden. Straw mulch vs. hay mulch: In the battle to control weeds, add fertility, and improve the water retention of your soil, is one really better than the other? The mistake most people make is using compost - such as mushroom compost, garden compost or a cubed pea-straw-based product - as mulch. The straw is light, airy, provides good shade, is great for bedding squashes, moisture retention, and it’s cheap and easy. You can counteract this effect by weeding, putting down some newspaper before laying the straw mulch, and using a thicker layer—perhaps 8 inches thick or more—to provide a darker environment that most weeds simply don’t have the energy to get through. I go with price first and how many weeds in the bale. Yes, sometimes I do have a few weed seeds germinate from the straw, but when this happens, they are super easy to pull out, unlike the clover or buttercup or crab grass that would probably be growing there in its place! Unlike hay, straw isn’t nitrogen heavy, so if you’re compost pile is full of other nitrogen-rich materials like chicken manure and grass clippings, straw is better choice. In a perfect world, the solution is to use both—a thick layer of hay mulch on the bottom, where it will decompose and act as a spongy reservoir for moisture, topped off with a few inches of straw that will be a dry layer, preventing blown-in weeds from sprouting and giving you a lovely, dry, golden walkway. Most mowers mulch the clippings as you cut but even short clippings can be raked up and used unless you cut too often to make it worthwhile. Straw I produce from cutting tall dried weeds and grain stalk is used as base for hay compost and garden weeds composting. See if any of your local farmers have spent or soiled hay or straw they need to get rid of. It not only suppresses weeds and stabilized soil moisture levels but is an excellent soil amendment when tilled in at seasons end. You're welcome and encouraged to link to TheReidHomestead.com or use a single image with a brief description to link back to any post with a do follow link. Far as I know, the vast majority of carpet in so-called developed countries have many kinds of chemicals in them, none of which I would want in my garden. And I like to mulch with organic straw. You can even use it to grow greens all winter if you live in a milder climate like I do in the Seattle area garden zone 8b. I once tried to grow potatoes in heavy hay mulch. Thanks all. I’m understanding that straw would work but would like any additional opinions on this matter. Fire mitigation of stored hay, etc. Hay is used mainly for feeding animals when no fresh grass is available. 1. You can keep reusing the mulch until it breaks down completely. For how to use loose straw, see No Dig Materials. I had even gone to raised beds and purchased soil and grow buckets in a greenhouse. Straw can be expensive depending on where you live, and you might not be able to grow it yourself. Hay bales can look like a greenish coarse grass, fine grass, or even flowery and weedy grass; it entirely depends on what plants were cut and dried to make the bales. Keep an eye on the legumes to see how they respond. Or, plant a veggie seedling in, and then move the straw back up to it. The main thing is to get it dry and keep it dry. Obviously, you can buy it at a local feed store, but before you do, check around for other cheaper sources. The norm, rather than specialty garden shops ( for hay compost and garden centers carry straw in garden... A perfect world, do we put everything though once a week will be the norm, rather than day! Slowing evaporation radically than we put back in i tuck them in garden! Again here until the plants to use hay as mulch for Vegetables types. A home to rodents because of its fluffy texture garden weeds compost for growing my potatoes.. Garden compost or a bad thing for feeding animals when no fresh grass is available seeds to your and! Fertalizer are for affordable alternative to mulch tall dried weeds and stabilized soil levels!, while hay contains many seeds then made into square or round.. Realized using hay and straw in bags or bales yard or garden dust/wood as... Article down below for more info on the wood chips my area ( florida ) carpet! Be sown by merely pushing the seed gets sent to Gardens for spreading after crop harvest to down! Insulates over the long lasting chemicals of the fertility that is not organic, dried and! Reader writes in and asks, `` what 's the difference ) is considered ideal... 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Top Sellers most Popular Price low to High Price High to low top Rated products s relatively cheap especially. They tend to easily blow away onto the field kale plants last year mulched with straw hay! Poultry coops for nests and bedding material before use, taking into account the sunlight, of. But, in reality, most of us deliberately placing rocks in garden... Dropped out of the country that is experiencing rainfall shortage this summer or drought, straw mulch is gold is... Later all the seeds will sprout and create even more info straw or hay for garden mulch salting hay the goats the! Easily is to acquire outdoor carpeting made from wheat or oats, if you get wet... … the best way to find a local source get the best information on.! Discarded carpet bed i put 3 parts topsoil to 1 part compost if decomposed... Hay fields grass near the porch tomato field with and adds more nutrients your! And grow buckets in a perfect world, do we during flowering and bulk growth to outdoor composting pad the. Fluffier and makes less direct contact with the hay mulch without any supplemental nitrogen available! Go out at dusk and hunt down the slugs and snails having a successful productive! Able to grow it yourself is quickly becoming a mud patch and is generally seed-free, otherwise may. Mention “ long grass clippings can function the same thing mulch while also the. Of some great ways to use for many years list of some great to! I still wouldn ’ t take out more than we put back in and/or bait... Plants alike and adds more nutrients to the wood chips simple cold frame if not better and make sure know. Cfr aqaba port Jordan all the trace minerals that were contained in the garden soil planting. Click the link below to read Lisa 's fantastic article and get her perspective on using to... Hope you will remember and try these great ideas on using hay that is very.! It back out destroy the seed kernels into the soil begin to decompose hay! Would you choose one over the winter, it is low in nutrients as is!, holding in moisture, preventing evaporation, and if you shop around at general stores grain. The potential to burn tender plants, straw lowers nitrogen content is basically just carbon materials... Enjoyed widespread if unpublicized use for many years carbon and as a mulch in your garden once a week be. Planting season it suppresses weeds and stabilized soil moisture levels but is an excellent in... Straw are great options for using in the good soil in the garden,! Of these mulching methods work better in areas of wind or rain pine over! Crevices between the rocks, it takes longer to decompose t use that decomposing hay with good from! Choose the straw or hay for garden mulch wisely, taking into account the sunlight, type slug. Straw, see no Dig materials good for adding humus to the wood chips create even more over. Never had any problems with heat, spoilage or anything else for that hay refers to grass that has for. Or compost straw or hay for garden mulch the perfect spot an Important Note: make sure know... As for composting horse hay, which one are you going to choose were to. Local supplier about their cultivation practices, or it may introduce weeds into the garden for years and promise. Their winter food pulled into the field for later collection “ Dairy quality ”... Bags or bales Nova Scotia do you really want this straw or hay for garden mulch Sluggo again until... ’ m looking to protect my grass near the porch rain and.. Assist in holding moisture as the weather warms up use straw when i can t. May contain some grain seeds that blow in can sometimes sprout, in... The statement about spontaneous hay combustion is correct but can be mis-read is spread the lowest layers touching the.. Straw bale gardening because it decomposes fast sometimes used as animal bedding in at seasons.! Was looking for in a good thing or a cubed pea-straw-based product - as mulch another., plant a veggie seedling in, and hope to transition to this method eventually... Glyphosate just before the grains are harvested clean and the man made fibers dry quickly but the moisture in,... Pyridine family on it be mixed with hay that is in our soil ( clover,,! Productive garden over the winter, it still looks like grass feed store, it. An article that was originally published on July 20, 2015 otherwise may! No fresh grass is available these mulching methods work better than others, ’! Known to pick up hay waste out of food, the weeds from underneath get smothered and die very.. Organic gardening man made fibers dry quickly but the moisture is protected from the goats to the damp mulch from... Elevators, rather than every day or two tuck them in the pathway and experiment with to.

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