Grass Clippings. Having laid the seed in straight rows with the aid of a string, I cover the rows with six or eight inches of hay, and do nothing more until several week later. They are not long-lasting and frequently contain weed seeds. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Therefore resulting in tons of unwanted weeds in my garden. The method of mulching heavily with hay has enjoyed widespread if unpublicized use for many years. 11. There's a big difference which I learned the hard way. For vegetable gardeners, each type of mulch — organic and inorganic — has a unique purpose. Some fungal infections may affect garden plants; Mulching Your Garden. 5. But when it comes to the vegetable garden, mulching gets a bit more complicated. @mahniay, You may be fine with the hay, I would not get to excited yet. Fall Clean-Up — My annual fall “clean-up” consists of leaving everything in the garden exactly where it is, and covering all crop residues with hay. Another question: After laying the Hay/Straw over stalks, etc. Hay can bring weed seeds into your garden if you’re not careful. Straw is mostly carbon and as a material is similar to, but with less nutrients than grass hay. Use as a mulch year-round or spread after the garden has been planted. In some areas it’s required within city limits so as to avoid the spread of non native grasses. There is a difference and the picture here seems to show straw. After the corn has all been harvested, the stalks are simply flattened to the ground over the surviving strawberry plants and covered with several inches of hay. In one bed of our vegetable garden, I put half a foot of dead leaves topped with half a foot (or more) of this chip material. In the spring, any kind of plants can be set with a trowel through this cover. I purchased potato seed and along with my order came a “booklet” giving directions to cover the potato seeds with HAY. No other preparation of the soil is required. 7. Looking for information on composting. If you have the mulch deep enough, 18-24 inches any hay seed that sprouts will sprout in the mulch making it easy to get rid of because the weed roots grow in the hay. If you use hay, you will end up with more than you bargained for (weeds and grain … Over the years, I've mulched my vegetable garden with oat straw, newspaper, grass clippings, burlap coffee bags, leaves and black plastic. The seeds germinating in "straw" sounds like the gardener actually had hay. Shari. But which is the best vegetable mulch? Hay and straw both make great mulch in the garden as long as they weren’t treated with persistent herbicides or contain noxious weed seeds. First, before even thinking of putting hay on your garden, MAKE SURE IT HAS NOT BEEN SPRAYED! 1. http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/fourseason/msg060007559489.html. And they grow admirably, too. The main idea behind winter mulching is to keep the ground frozen by shielding it from the warmth of the sun. An EXCELLENT source of mulch … The following are some materials that are commonly recommended:-pine needles-hay or stray-wood chips, shavings-leaves-newspaper-cardboard-grass clippings-ground corncobs-compost Straw and Seedless Hay. My vegetable garden is mulched with old or moldy hay and soiled bedding from stalls, which is our hay with added “pony pooh power”. Hay is grass that has been cut while it is still green and full of nutrients, but before it has gone to seed. Again, nothing remains to be done but to gather potatoes, as they are wanted. @Rachel, Either pull up the seedlings or stop using hay. I wonder if mulching with straw over the hay will help. Best Mulches for Vegetable Gardens. Be sure the mulch is thick enough, 3-6 inches are needed to be effective. Your email address will not be published. Let me say at this point that I have eaten strawberries prepared in every way I could think of, and that my notion of perfection is to pick the berries dead ripe after the sun has evaporated excess moisture, and eat them immediately when they are still warm, but swimming in heavy chilled cream. This year I ordered my usual 25 bales of straw and they made a mistake and delivered hay, which I didn’t notice before I spread it. Plants first , then drip lines, then hay. I had read horror stories about how hay can deposit weed seeds in your garden but I also read an equal amount of research saying that if you lay it on thick enough the seeds can’t germinate anyway. Less desirable than hay because they tend to get moldy and may add weed seeds to the garden. According to the chemical school, everything should be riddled by insects and diseases, but I have barely enough evidence of these to realize what is supposed to be destroying my crops. The best vegetable garden mulch is the one that works best for your plants and soil. By spreading a little compost, loam or peatmoss on top, even small seeds can be started, and the roots will penetrate into the decaying mass below. I have been trying to battle this wild hay for a year now and my summer garden is suffering from it. Hay is for the animals to eat. I tried potatoes this year with tublers, buried 6″ deep, as they grew I covered them with straw, as instructed – didn’t get a lot, still had to dig in the dirt – I thought they were suppose to grow in the straw – was disappointed. 9. 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. Mulching your garden with hay using this method may require a large quantity, but you won’t need to add the same amount year after year. Then I cover the flattened mess with hay. But if I did that then there would still be all those seeds left in the soil. Learn more in this article about how much mulch to use. I mulch my vegetable garden differently than my flower gardens. Row spacing is mainly a question of the gardener’s convenience. Salt marsh hay can be an effective, affordable alternative to mulch. A vegetable garden may reap many other benefits to the practice of mulching aside from controlling weeds. While the corn is growing it needs no attention at all. Required fields are marked *. Keeps weeds down, keeps moisture in, keeps soil cooler, keeps plants from getting stressed. @ L. Fox, Both straw and hey will work, and no they will not grow above with the stray they will still grow in the dirt. Be sure to get hay of the best quality to limit the amount of seeds, and get ready for a big yield of vegetables and flowers. This mulch covers the garden to a depth of 8 inches. Since I want results, not only on the strawberries, but on the corn to follow, I spread 100 pounds of Bovung and 50 pounds of bone meal over the bed as soon as the plants are well started. A thick layer of mulch actually preserves moisture in the soil; hence water evaporation is prevented. Straw is made from the stems of oats or wheat, after the seeds have been harvested as grain. When it comes to the vegetable garden I want practical, inexpensive solutions. Here is a list of some great ways to use hay as mulch in your own garden. The title of this article says HAY. This is the way I would choose if I had enough property and the means to harvest the hay. 6. Back in Ruth Stout's day, mulch materials were easier to come by due to a more rural community. Sourcing Straw or Hay for Use in the Garden Straw and spent hay are both inexpensive and available most everywhere, so they are an easy option for using in abundance to mulch with. Visit our main composting page and see everything else we have to say about the subject. Instead of pulling unwanted plants out of the ground, and disturbing the roots of others, I bend the weeds flat and pull hay over them. It can also attract pollinators. Bark. Some things to consider… The mulch near the sidewalk in this photo was applied a month ago. I should add that I am not troubled with corn borers at all, and of course use no sprays or dusts of any kind. -mahniay. The water will provide enough moisture to the soil. I merely cover the ground with hay, and wait for my strawberry plants to arrive. The hay is so thick and strong it seems to be crowding out the plants, so that’s good to hear – I’ll try it and thanks for writing. This is especially good for seeds and starter plants. I make mounds of last year’s mulch. Both straw and seedless hay work well as mulch, although, if you’re mulching an ornamental foundation planting, neither would look attractive in that particular setting. As soon as the corn is harvested, I flatten the stalks to the ground by bending them over and stamping on them. @Shari, Yes, you can mulch over seeds but it may slow the growth just a little. Yes, you could mulch with straw over the hay. The plants are set through a thin mulch left from the previous season, and more hay is added as growth occurs, and as weeds need to be smothered. 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. The Use of Mulch in a Vegetable Garden. I am close to the point of dumping diesel fuel in this ditch and let it sit. I wish the potato company had never suggested the use of hay, and I hope you do not put hay in your garden either! We tend to use the words interchangeably, but there is a big difference: The answer is yes, and many master gardeners swear by it. Wish me luck and be careful with the hay/straw. The best mulch for vegetable garden purposes depends primarily on which type of mulch … You can find this… Browse composting supplies at Compost Bin Supply. 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. Water organic mulch; Watering organic mulch using your garden hose will save you time. Place hay covering the area will this help cut down the massive weed?! Words, the mulch near the sidewalk in this part of the layer garden the... Cocoa shells or compost am just a little enough, 3-6 inches are needed to be treated the. 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