Gardening with straw saves time, money, and sanity!
This looks like the perfect solution to my wanting more raised beds in my garden. I have 6, but it's never enough! I use my raised beds to grow "sensible" plants, such as paste tomatoes for canning, and peas for freezing. This will allow me to grow more, such as peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and other plants that I'd only harvest in the late summer. So I'll give this a try, and I can tell you my husband already thanks you for distracting me from begging for more beds that he'd have to build!
I used straw this year that I purchased from a local supply store and unfortunately it contained a good deal of seed heads. I now have wheat sprouting all over my garden. The only solution I can think of is to rake off all the straw, avoiding the vegetable plants, pull all the wheat sprouts and mulch with something else. Ugh.
I'd harvest the young wheat shoots and juice them. The wheat sprouts are easy to juice and benefit from same with barley straw
I have used straw for years in my garden, however I put down a thin layer of newspaper first and straw on top. I don’t use as much straw that way, and weeds and water are controlled. We did have a slug problem this past year so instead of tilling under what was left of the straw and newspaper from last year, we raked it into a pile and burned it. Then tilled the ashes into the garden. I’ll let you know if we have less slugs this year. The straw makes for a neat and clean garden and makes walking in it easier then walking in mud.
I was really happy to see this article!
I have used straw as a mulch for a few years to keep down the weeds, maintain soil moisture and temperature, but also for the beneficial insects that like to hide in the straw. The one down side that I have experienced is it also provides a welcome home for slugs and snails. I didn't see this mentioned in the article or in any comments. Is this not a problem for others? Could I be doing something wrong? Appreciate any thoughts/input as I want to continue using straw. Thank you in advance!
I have been gardening in straw bales for about 8 years now and it is a fantastic method for small areas and if you are not yet ready commit to a specific area for a garden. I heard about it first on NPR when they interviewed Joel Karsten who wrote a book called “straw bale gardens”. I have had great results with the method. You do have to be careful with using the straw as mulch the next year, as tomato seeds commonly get in the straw and come up all over the garden. And if you have any blight, it may be best not to use the mulch around the tomatoes the next year.
Now, you just need to include the straw bale method in your garden planner!
Canadian wheat farmers will explain to you that straw is the part of the plant after the seeds have been removed!! this applies to eat barley and rye
I want to new people who are gardening to help understand another part of the "straw" and "hay" issue. "Hay is a type of grass that is grown and dried for cattle livestock feed over the winter months when the pasture grass is not growing because it is too cold or covered with snow. It is stored in barns or sheds, sometimes left covered in nearby fields.
"Straw" is the left over stem from the harvest of wheat, barley, oats and other similar grains. It is a secondary low cost crop that farmers sell after the grains are harvested, stored, or sold as a cash crop. So buy the straw from a local farmer; he /she will appreciate it.