by Tammy Taylor~
Here in Texas it’s typically very hot and dry during our summertime months. So I’m careful to mulch our garden heavily. Mulching helps the plants in many ways. It not only conserves that precious moisture, but it also moderates soil temps. I like to mulch with natural materials whenever possible. A typical gardening year will see me mulching with grass clippings, leaves or spent hay.
But I have a section of my garden that holds my Concord Grapevine. I’ve trained it to grow along the fence. It’s LOADED with grapes! But I’ve also vowed to keep the Bermuda grass from creeping into my garden. So all the walkways in the garden plus a wide perimeter swath is mulched with free wood chips.
But the grapevine is right at the fenceline. So to keep bermuda from creeping in around the grapevine I surrounded it with 3 bales of wheat straw. The purpose was just to deny sneaky Bermuda the sunlight as it attempts to grow beneath the bales to get into my garden. Permission: DENIED!
But those straw bales are several years old now. They’re just spent and starting to deteriorate. I need to replace them.
Off to the feed store we went and I picked up three brand spankin’ new bales of wheat straw. They’re lightweight and they’re cheap. And I love that they’re a natural material too. These will be perfect.
When we got home I pulled the
crappy errrr… old straw away from my grapevine. I laid some flattened paper feed bags on the ground & topped it with the three new straw bales. Looks great! These bales should serve the purpose for about 2-3 years.
But what to do with the old straw? I started stuffing the falling-apart bales into large buckets. I want to use it to mulch my garden planting rows. So after I filled a few large buckets, I took handfuls of that spent straw and placed it liberally around my veggies.
As this straw decomposes it will just be stirred into the garden soil next year when I plant. That organic matter will continue to improve my precious soil. So that straw is actually doing double duty – protecting my garden from Bermuda grass for several years. Then preserving moisture & helping my garden grow the next.
Some of the straw was left in those big tubs. I snapped a lids on top to protect the contents from rain. Then I set those lidded tubs along the perimeter of the garden.
As the temps heat up I’ll need to reapply that straw mulch to my planting rows. I know it’ll be right here when I need it!
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