Using straw as mulch?

Wethersfield, CT

Is it alright to put straw on my vegitable garden to control weeds? I have read on this forum and other places that using wood mulch in a veggie garden is not wise. Does that include straw?

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

Some folks don't like wheat straw but I've been using it for years and love it. It's not too expensive and, after my garden is finished, we disk it into the soil to help improve it. Some seeds will be present in a bale of wheat straw and will sprout but are easily pulled out and I add the clumps to my compost bin.

Standish, MI

Straw is fine but in areas where crickits and grasshoppers are you may have a problem with them. But again they might not bother at all. Probably the benifits out weigh difficulties.

Greenfield, OH(Zone 6a)

I use straw every year and haven't had much problems with it. You will get the occasional weed seeds (sometimes a lot of fox tail) but I like it because it doesn't mat down real fast and allows for good irrigation. (I often use a watering can)
It decomposes fast adding organic matter to the soil.

This message was edited Jun 11, 2012 1:24 PM

Kankakee, IL(Zone 5b)

I've been thinking the same thing. Next year I want to put in a drip irrigation and straw overtop. Here's what my research has turned up... 1. Straw can slightly deplete nitrogen so I will work in a good compost first. 2. To help cut down on this and reduce weed seed buy it in the fall and let it sit out overwinter to reduce weeds and to get it started breaking down. 3. At the end of the season till it under.

This sounds good to me! I can use it for fall decoration then use it to construct a cold storage for my root vegetables and thenas a mulch and finally tilled in as compost! That's my plan anyway! I'll certainly follow this thread for any more advice or suggestions!

Wethersfield, CT

I do have a drip irrigation under the straw. I can deal with a couple of weeds. Thanks for the help.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Last year we started using a bale of Shredded Straw (available in the northeast at Agway) and it worked very well. My husband tilled it in this spring. We'll be spreading another bale tomorrow.

Photos from 2011.

Thumbnail by pirl Thumbnail by pirl
Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

depends on the straw types you use, and if you do let it compost before tilling it won't turn into brix mixed with dirt, then baked by the sun, like grass compost tho, it is a very fine dirt once its broken down-almost a silt. some folks burn it like the leaves before turning under...

Kankakee, IL(Zone 5b)

I thought burning on a garden plot was a no no. Doesn't it deplete the soil?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

No burning of anything is allowed here - not leaves or anything else.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Depends on where you are, and soil type, chuckl, and for most parts you wouldn't want to burn on the garden, but things like corn stalks where I live we almost always burned to help fight funguses

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

I never burn leaves or straw before disking it into the soil either and my soil looks fantastic. After years of disking leaves and straw in, I have a real good crop of worms too--didn't have any at first.

Greenfield, OH(Zone 6a)

There are those who are contrary enough to burn on their garden and swear of its benefits. I have had done it in areas of my 1/2 acre garden but never seen any ill effects or great benefits. Just a great way to rid myself of late fall brush

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

And I have watched those beloved worms so hungry they gnaw the roots off my plants too! 6 of one, half a dozen of the other...

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