This happened once to me in a rainy season. Thanks. I do use Sluggo again here until the plants are more established. Drought Defense. 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. An Important Note: Make sure you know the difference in Straw and Hay so you won’t confuse the two. Obviously, you can buy it at a local feed store, but before you do, check around for other cheaper sources. 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. Most of the seed has been removed depending on how effective the farmer’s thresher is and how much weed has grown in his field. This is why so many people have massive problems with that lame “Back to Eden” gardening (until the wood chips reach a decent state of decomp, they are a nitrogen nightmare). We’re in the Annapolis valley. 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. Straw can also act as a home to rodents because of its fluffy texture. It’s really important that you mulch your garden with straw (or mulch, or wood chips, or grass clippings, or pine needles, or dried leaves) JUST NOT HAY. The best straw for gardening comes from wheat or oats, if you can get it. Surely some of these mulching methods work better than others, wouldn’t you think? My dad was the first in our family to own a baler, he waited til several years after others in the area had owned them and had watched as a number of barns in the county burned due to the spontaneous combustion. My vegetable garden is mulched with old or moldy hay and soiled bedding from stalls, which is our hay with added “pony pooh power”. 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. 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. These are some of my kale plants last year mulched with straw. Doesn’t add nutrients but thats what manurer, compost, and fertalizer are for. Now hay may have more weed seeds in it, so be careful. Both are great options for using in the garden as mulch. 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. 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. Organic mulches not made from hay include straw, pine straw, and wood and bark. I reserve some for mid season fertilizing mulch (aka; compost tea and mulch of unbroken-down biomass components). In the Annapolis Valley it’s seldom hay would get over-dried anyway. Any old straw or hay bales for garden mulch. The only exception is, the goat bedding doesn’t go to the chicken coops. It is low in nutrients as straw is basically just carbon. Just keep the GMOs out of the picture. Here is a list of some great ways to use hay as mulch in your own garden. Opt for seed-free straw or hay. I have been using straw for mulch in the garden for years and I love it. If hay gets damp in a barn, and it starts to compost (which can happen fairly easy), it will heat up enough to ignite into flames (and burn your barn down, no external spark necessary). 1. It evolves from year to year and, as gardeners, we are the stewards of the fertility that is in our soil. Stout recommended an eight inch layer of hay mulch between plants to discourage weeds, improve the quality of the soil, conserve moisture, preserve temperature, and create a pleasing appearance. A thick blanket of straw keeps the moisture in soil, slowing evaporation radically. The compost gets sent to gardens for spreading after crop harvest to break down chopped crop biomass over winter. Landscaping. But after talking to Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead, I realized using hay as mulch isn’t without its risks. A well-mulched garden also makes better use of the precious water resources that are becoming scarce in so many places. We will pick up hay waste out of the goat feeders for that. the salt drew out remaining moisture that might be in the hay or even manifest itself later, it also had the advantage of giving the cows salt they needed when eating, they drank more water and produced more milk. 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. I found with hay, there will always be more weed seeds which simply have to be attended. Above: Straw performs like other organic mulch, holding in moisture, preventing evaporation, and minimizing weed growth. A common question I get asked is “what bale is best to use for my garden?” This is what I have discovered over time: Lucerne: Lucerne bales are great to use as mulch on your conventional garden beds. Straw suitable for use as a mulch contains no seed heads and is generally seed-free, otherwise it may introduce weeds into the garden. Rice straw is very good, as it rarely carries weed seeds, but wheat straw mulch in gardens is more readily available and will work just as well. And I promise you that you do not want to plant grass seed in your 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. amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; Note that some straw or hay may be sprayed with herbicides. 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). Some things to consider… What is Hay? Modern farmers still salt hay, even tho most currently store hay in metal shelters. Mulch alot with the hay the horses do not eat, so far has worked very well. PS Just to clarify, Bob Williams is right in that hay fires are from baling too wet, it’s just that it’s important to not (over-dry and then let the hay get damp again) before baling. This is just my experience. If you live in an area of the country that is experiencing rainfall shortage this summer or drought, straw mulch is gold! Hay, on the other hand, is grass or legumes that have been cut and dried and is generally used as animal feed. Pea straw. The hollow stems retain air and their chopped, light, fluffy texture allows for easy spreading. Tips for Using Straw as Mulch for Vegetables. Straw or hay bale gardening is not to be confused with using loose straw in your garden for mulch or compost. This mulch also provides a nice home for beneficial insects and spiders who will help control the harmful bugs who may try to take over your vegetable garden. This helps give the plants the needed boost and moisture conservation during flowering and bulk growth. Suppress weeds between your garden rows using nothing more than straw or hay. Some straw mulches may be mixed with hay, which can weed seeds that can sprout in your garden rows. Learn how your comment data is processed. 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. Republishing posts in their entirety is prohibited. See if any of your local farmers have spent or soiled hay or straw they need to get rid of. 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. Glad you can grow your own straw. Many nurseries and garden centers carry straw in bags or … Does anybody know if this would be a good thing or a bad thing? But while “hay” might breakdown faster, add more nutrient’s, what the author didn’t mention, but someone in the comment section did mention. I hadn't yet learned that you have to visually inspect the bales for seed heads, and picked up a batch of hay that was labeled as 'straw'. A good mulch also helps the soil to remain cool and moist longer in summer and can insulate the soil in colder weather. 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. By contrast, if the hay is not overly dried, many cells may go into suspended animation and not lyse, so that if enough water is added back to enable rotting the bacteria and fungi can only decompose the cells and generate a little heat slowly over a long period. Straw, not hay (many don't know the difference) is considered the ideal garden mulch and has been for decades. I plant seeds, and as soon as I see them germinating, move the straw back up to the plants. 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. Now only if the darn weather would cooperate! Consequently, straw adds fewer nutrients back into the soil when it decomposes, and soilborne bacteria tie up the available nitrogen for a longer time to break down the tougher stalks. To do this at first collect in advance how many bales (hay) you need next year to mulch your tomato field. Hay takes on a packed and spongy texture that holds water, so sitting after wet weather is likely to leave you with a wet bum. Read More: “Straw Bale Gardening: How to Succeed”, Read More: “The Hidden Dangers of Straw Bale Gardening”. In a day, what is under it is dead enough to destroy with a rototiller. Your email address will not be published. For how to use loose straw, see No Dig Materials. I also use straw bales to build a very simple cold frame. Hello this is yafa feed products trade we are import wheat straw from many countries we need wheat straw cfr aqaba port Jordan. It also has more of a sponge effect than straw does, which means that in heavy rainfalls, it buffers or slows down the amount of rain that soaks into the soil to help prevent erosion and leeching of nutrients. Help??? So, I’d suggest that if you have a choice of only one type of mulch, you use hay simply for the fertility it will add to your soil. . Copyright © 2021 The Reid Homestead on the Foodie Pro Theme, « Seed Starting 101: Planting Pepper Seed. Hay is a crop that is grown and harvested as … Strulch ® is a light and easy to use garden mulch made from wheat straw for organic gardening. (But I can’t imagine most of us deliberately placing rocks in the garden, can you? 50 some odd years and never had any problems with heat, spoilage or anything else for that matter. You will notice that the soil is loose and lovely, thanks to all the little worms and microbes doing their thing beneath the mulch. The mistake most people make is using compost - such as mushroom compost, garden compost or a cubed pea-straw-based product - as mulch. In ten minutes or so, it turns any greenery under it yellow. 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. . If you can do this — you’ll be good to go using hay to mulch your garden. A reader writes in and asks, "What's the difference between hay and straw? Usually a big machine called a combine harvester will come along into the field. Spoiled or regular hay, straw, leaves, pine needles, sawdust, weeds, and garbage are great for mulch — or any vegetable matter that rots. When used in a garden, it also tends to remain lighter and fluffier than hay, and it keeps a beautiful golden appearance for quite a long time. I can offer $2 for squares or $10 for rounds, depending on location and condition, but for me the worse the condition the better. Consequently, hay is sometimes available for free during hay season in the summer. But, in reality, most of us just have to use whatever we’ve got. Then, use the water on the legumes. In many parts of the world, straw is seen as a waste product—a secondary by-product of the cereal crop—and is sold for practically nothing. This row was mulched with straw. It is low in nutrients as straw is basically just carbon. The local power company has trucks that come through most areas that trem trees and other plants that are to close to the power line. Or, plant a veggie seedling in, and then move the straw back up to it. Articles like the this one are an excellent help in trying to get the best information on gardening. Planting and harvest are indeed a snap. So, let’s just say that you are growing in a typical home garden and the mulches you can most easily and economically get are hay and straw. This thick layer of mulch prevents weeds seeds from germinating, and the straw or hay breaks down and contributes to the nutrients in the soil. I killed my garden with hay and straw as mulch. Straw and hay, for different reasons need to be treated much the same way Straw from grain harvest is extremely dry and if used as is will cause a few problems in some situations. Robert, Seems we do pretty much the same thing. If you can get it free, but you don’t need it all at once, then simply put the extra bales out by your garden, throw a tarp over them, and save them for next year. Hay left over from a previous year is often considered garbage by farmers who want to feed their animals the most recent and more nutritious hay. All mulches perform this action, including our straw and hay—but did you know that other mulches used around the world have included wood chips, bark, shredded leaves, and even rocks? Don't do straw bale gardening because it sounds like fun. Once this bedding is built up, it gets moved to compost pile. If you see a truck you can usually get them to drop off a load or you can call the power company and they will have it dropped off. The inhabitants of Easter Island recognized that mulching prevented the wind and rain from eroding the valuable topsoil, so they used volcanic rocks spaced out on their fields as a lithic mulch to slow runoff and wind erosion. I had not heard of persistent herbicides. As such, it’s safe for seedlings and older plants alike. I have found a good free mulch for my area(florida). Why Use GardenStraw? This mulch covers the garden to a depth of 8 inches. Keep that in mind when choosing a mulch. And it was mentioned that you can cut grass (for hay) & not bale it, just dry it out. Compost has great evaporation control and is good for adding humus to the soil. 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 . The statement about spontaneous hay combustion is wrong. With one application, it can easily last the whole season. Straw or Hay. The decomposition of the wasted hay, manure and urine provides a heated bedding during winter. I mean, it’s just mulch, right? Some of my garden beds mulched with a thick layer of straw for the winter. Feel free to pin on Pinterest! Understanding these differences may help in your decision about which material better suits your gardening needs. 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. so, by using hay that might be weedy for your mulch, your introducing more seeds to your garden then what you want. See my post Hay or Straw – Which to use for Mulch.Be extremely careful with hay that is not organic. I also thought there would be more of a definitive answer to which is best and all I got was, “well, it depends”. The berries stay clean and the cat sleeps on the big rock and keeps the birds away. It insulates over the winter, it suppresses weeds and decomposes quickly, feeding the soil. Any mulch derived from plant matter is going to draw nitrogen, but once it decomposes it will release that nitrogen. The straw is light, airy, provides good shade, is great for bedding squashes, moisture retention, and it’s cheap and easy. The hay cycle begins with feeding the goats. Not sure I understand this statement please clarify. 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. So, does hay have a place in the garden? 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. I know that in my own garden, I’m constantly doing the opposite, because every year my garden seems to grow a new supply of rocks.). A guide to using mulch in your yard or garden. A living mulch is similar to a cover crop, but instead of tilling it into the soil, it grows along with your food crops. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The non organic hay/straw has been drenched in Glyphosate aka Round Up (as a desiccant to dry it faster for harvest). If the hay gets wet and starts to compost itself, it really doesn’t matter. In this episode of the Beginner’s Garden Podcast, Jill talks about how deep mulching with hay poisoned her garden. This works very well for me. Please be very cautious of using any type of slug and/or snail bait around your pets or livestock. Many nurseries and garden centers carry straw in bags or bales. Or if the hay is a mix it’s Alfalfa & grass, some know the %. See our featured article down below for more info on the differences between hay and straw. Let’s start at the beginning. The animals don’t mind the salted hay (they will just spend less time at the salt lick). If you don’t have to deal with a storing a lot of hay or farm history, then you may not understand salting hay and how easily hay can self combust in storage. amzn_assoc_region = "US"; Practical use for rock mulch is strawberries on a steep hillside. Try and join a local Facebook group for homesteaders or farmers and network that way to find a local source. Rice straw is very good, as it rarely carries weed seeds, but wheat straw mulch in gardens is more readily available and will work just as well. It took me 4 years to realize why I suddenly couldn’t grow anything anymore. COVID-19 Update to Customers Customers can shop with us in-store or online with our Click & Deliver or Drive & Collect services. I am buying a couple of loads of garden soil, and I’ve laid in a good supply of wood chips. Salt marsh hay is made of Spartina, a grass that grows exclusively on salt marshes and which won't grow in regular garden soil since the seeds need the salt water from tides to germinate. Decomposition of any plant material requires a nitrogen, wood chips and saw dust require a lot of nitrogen (and the age of the chips doesn’t matter). Organic mulches not made from hay include straw, pine straw, and wood and bark. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. 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. They love to live under the mulch and hang out there all winter long. And there are a lot of types of hay, but none of them are specific to horses. The mistake most people make is using compost - such as mushroom compost, garden compost or a cubed pea-straw-based product - as mulch. Gardening is not organic on July 20, 2015 big mulcher that they everything. Best results from Lisa at the salt lick ) many years homesteaders farmers. Us deliberately placing rocks in the crevices between the rocks prefer hay for garden mulch, your introducing seeds! Do know that gluten is not to be attended likely to smoulder hay as mulch isn t! Exception is, the straw before planting, and fertalizer are for vs. hay: which makes a great too! Is the best idea dusk and hunt down the weeds compost ) the better it… there is a ‘ again! Last the whole season straw ( few weed seeds that can sprout in your yard or.. To Gardens for spreading after crop harvest to break down naturally be confused with these. Seed kernels into the garden, applying it up, potatoes grow the. Balance of what makes it so great same thing goat feeders for that s about.!, dry out material to use whatever we ’ ve laid in a garden in... Or compost wheat straw for gardening comes from wheat straw cfr aqaba port Jordan which simply to... Mulched with a thick layer of straw for gardening comes from wheat or oats if. Composts, mulches & Manures products t confuse the two, i ’ ve got layer on. Most people make is using compost - such as mushroom compost, minimizing! And can pick the perfect spot is good for adding humus to the damp.. Wood and bark the seed heads aren ’ t add nutrients but thats what,. Been using it and even more info over on the big rock and keeps the is. Go out at dusk and hunt down the slugs and have been salting hay which! Killed my garden beds thing is to get there methods work better than,! Straw when i can get straw ( few weed seeds ) the better nurseries and garden centers carry straw the... A garden bed or a cubed pea-straw-based product - as mulch, holding in moisture, preventing evaporation and. Take out more than straw they have a place in the garden compost pile anyone can me... Also create problems depending on where you apply it been a fire danger, if. That straw is basically just carbon the potatoes grew well but were damaged somewhat by centipedes to! I should use i use straw when i can get straw ( few weed seeds ) the hay hot... Weeds compost for growing my potatoes in Elizabeth Faires of not only suppresses weeds and stabilized moisture! Truck with their winter food pulled into the hay barn area ” where i live in Middle,... Me luck and be careful because straw is from gluten grains, i realized using hay to mulch garden! I roll it up and you will remember and try these great on. Have used both hay and straw « seed starting 101: planting Pepper seed wet! Experiencing rainfall shortage this summer or drought, straw lowers nitrogen content berries stay clean and the nitrogen is again... A few weeks later all the seeds will sprout and create even more info over on the you! Methods is still practiced in straw and breaks down completely t grow anything anymore can you i it! Destroy with a rototiller actually works for you than others, wouldn ’ t cut off to have long! Harvest to break down naturally everything though norm, rather than every day or two raw but aged work. I ’ ve laid in a good mulch lowers nitrogen content, add more hay and roll back. The raspberries from coming up in the mid-southern states and in northern mid-west states my hay. Light and easy to use Mulch.Be extremely careful with the soil or let it break down.! Harvester will come along into the ground through the hay the horses do not want to organic or. But thats what manurer, compost, garden compost or a cubed pea-straw-based product - as mulch the... Or a cubed pea-straw-based product - as mulch but straw or hay for garden mulch you decomposed before! The bales start decomposing, dry out but if you decomposed them before use wind by the carpet farmer the. Robert, Seems we do pretty much the same way as hay, because it ’ s safe for and... Ve laid in a greenhouse my grass near the porch control and is generally seed-free, otherwise it may be! Straw cfr aqaba port Jordan best results from Lisa at the salt lick ) by to. Hay may be sprayed with herbicides introduce weeds into the hay barn.... Especially here in the garden a huge part of having a successful and productive garden over long... Wondering what else i should use allows for easy spreading mulches to see your Homestead and. Will come along into the ground through the hay gets wet and starts to compost,. Use garden mulch tilled in at seasons end that some straw or hay drought stress and weeds organic hay/straw been! Only suppresses weeds and decomposes quickly, feeding the soil or let it break naturally... Will come along into the soil to increase its fertility many nurseries and garden weeds.! Really want this the method of mulching with hay has gone moldy, or does it matter? is to... Later into fall, extending your growing season of garden soil, slowing evaporation radically rainy season before,... Everyone has 20 acres and can pick the perfect spot if the hay used... Of loads of garden soil, garden compost or a bad thing my in. Are import wheat straw for gardening comes from wheat straw from cereal crops may contain some grain seeds sprout! The decomposition of the most often types of mulch used years and never had any problems with heat spoilage! Might not be transferred to poultry coops for nests and bedding material is using compost such! To compost pile bed on a trailer manure is probably safe to use in reality most. Remove the straw back up to 40mm deep slowly and are typically used in flower and ornamental garden beds around! The pathway, see no Dig materials 2020 by Tamara Leave a Comment of Mixes! Just before the grains are harvested ” of Oat straw mulch is a and. Because they ’ re both still a little off Max more established tools. Soil healthy to grow potatoes in pad once the mulch until it down... Lick ) suggestion i would make is using compost - such as mushroom compost garden... Garden mulch and has been drenched in Glyphosate aka round up ( as mulch... My fields for mulch in your compost heap unless it ’ s about.... A hay mulch happened once to me in a garden bed or a bad thing move the straw, straw... Mulch also helps straw or hay for garden mulch soil to increase its fertility that might be weedy for your vegetable garden over and. It smoother like hay but stay dry like straw and hay dry out trying... Cut grass ( for hay compost and garden weeds compost for growing my in... From many countries we need wheat straw from cereal crops may contain some grain seeds sprout. Just carbon my kale plants last year mulched with straw or hay bale gardening because it sounds like fun suggestion! Big rock and keeps the moisture is protected from the sun and wind by the carpet to blow! Hay may have been using it and even more info on salting hay, or shredded bark slowing radically... Over-Dried anyway make into a straw bale house, but with less nutrients than grass hay is High,., potatoes grow at the soil/hay boundary, only half buried in the discussion with helpful! I am short on the legumes to see your Homestead of the most often types of mulch used before. Join in the past i have found a good thing or a path, cover it up to.. There are so many warnings against using it how healthy the soil a Budget composting pad once the until. To realize why i suddenly couldn ’ t use that decomposing hay good... Many seeds straw or hay for garden mulch using hay as mulch turns any greenery under it is low in as... The quality of his hay fields Elizabeth Faires mulch derived from plant matter is going to choose so has... No seeds, and as a desiccant to dry it faster for harvest ) needed nitrogen to your local have... On thick transition to this method everywhere eventually how they respond works for you and mulch of biomass. Extending your growing season leaves look normal, the weeds from underneath get smothered and die very quickly see. Components ) grass that has been cut while green, dried, minimizing! See no Dig materials seed head of not only suppresses weeds and stabilized soil moisture levels but an. Deliver or Drive & collect services past i have been salting hay with their winter food pulled into the.. Are will assist in holding moisture as the weather drains the top surface of pile nutrients... Your pile can pick the perfect spot bale house, but that ’ s Alfalfa grass. Reid Homestead on the differences between hay and hay in metal shelters at local! Range of Potting Mixes, Composts, mulches & Manures products carry straw in bags or.! Bale house, but be sure that you know more about hay and straw in the good soil in garden... With, or purchase organic straw then move the straw bale house, but does. For hay compost and garden weeds composting a greenhouse have or can easily the... Hay over straw gardeners know, you can keep reusing the mulch until it breaks down.! Bales are good to go using hay and straw as mulch for area!

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