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Straw Mulch
Attractive and Versatile

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Straw, One Of The Best And Most Versitile Mulching Materials

Straw Mulch

Straw is mostly carbon and as a material is similar to, but with less nutrients than grass hay.

It is right up there as one of the most often types of mulch used. 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. The main problems gardeners find with straw are; its light and fluffy nature causes straw to blows away quickly. Dry straw will suck moisture rather than conserve it, and it can become an excellent home for field mice and the like over winter.

These little hiccups can be cured with the simple method of weathering the dry straw. It can be done in a similar fashion as for hay, but not because of the seed problem, instead it is to make the straw more manageable. This is done best by leaving the straw in the bale form but can also be done with the straw in a heap.


Photo of  straw mulch

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Find the wettest and shadiest part of the garden, wet thoroughly and keep wet. If you have more than a few bales in the pile rotate them around so the outside ones go into the middle and vise versa, almost like turning a compost pile. Allow the bales to partially decompose or weather over a period of a month or two. Once the straw has begun to break down it become less attractive to critters for a warm home and will act as it should in moisture conservation and weed control.

To most gardeners straw is not a free organic mulch source, however it is one of the most versatile materials for any mulching job.


Photo of harvesting potatoes grown in straw

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A thick layer of straw in the summer that is keep moist combined with good shade cover will help the mid summer plantings of winter vegetable seedlings to get established with the minimum of fuss.

Photo of straw-mulch-winter

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A good thick warm winter mulch can insulate the soil and allow good growing conditions to remain longer into the fall.

Photo of straw-mulch-winter

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Tucking the garden in for the winter with straw mulch not only greatly reduces the growth of weeds making spring garden preparation and plantings a breeze but also adds excellent organic material into the soil.

Many stables and feed lots use straw as a bedding material. Straw that has undergone this treatment is mixed in with manure and breaks down more quickly. For a more detailed article on the different types of mulch stable and barn bedding create, including straw mulches follow this link to manure as fertilizer



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