by Texas Homesteader ~
I like to use natural materials in my garden. Things such as straw, wood chips Dry Leaves or even grass mulch after RancherMan mows the lawn and bags the cut grass. (be sure to let that freshly-cut grass cure a bit before adding it close to your plants or it could burn them)
For instance, I have a grapevine that I’ve surrounded with three bales of straw. That straw serves a dual purpose. Its initial purpose is to protect my garden from encroaching bermuda grass.
You see, 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 and I Harvest Many Grapes from it each year.
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 fence line. So to keep bermuda from creeping in around the grapevine I surrounded it with those 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.
Straw Bales For Grass Barrier
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 raked away all the wood mulch that surrounded my grapevine in preparation for these straw bales to be positioned.
Then I laid some flattened paper feed bags on the ground & topped it with the three new straw bales. Looks great! These bales should serve their grass-barrier purpose for about 2-3 years.
Important New Purpose For Old Straw
But after a few years those straw bales start to deteriorate. That’s when I’ll need to replace them. But those old deteriorated bales’ useful life isn’t over, oh no! Now they’ll go to their second use: mulch.
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.
Some of the bales I can use right now. So I took handfuls of that spent straw and placed it liberally around my veggies to protect my veggie plants.
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 actually served double duty – protecting my garden from Bermuda grass for several years. Then preserving moisture & helping my garden grow.
But I wanted to store some of it to use later when the garden needs it most – the hot summer months. So I stuffed much of the straw from the falling-apart bales into large buckets to store it for later too.
I snapped the lids on top of those buckets of spent straw to protect the contents from rain. Then I set those lidded tubs along the perimeter of the garden to await the stored straw’s use.
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. #UseWhatchaGot!
My Favorite Garden Hacks
- Easy Garden Planning Spreadsheet
- Getting A Jump: Planting An Indoor Greenhouse
- Repurposed Cardboard Seed-Starting Pots
- 3-Sister’s Garden – The Original Companion Planting
- Low-Cost Vegetable Gardening
- Planting A Large Galvanized Trough
- Using Cheap Biodegradable Weed Block
- Tricking Birds AWAY From Your Strawberry Plants
- Easy Compost For A Healthy Garden
- Propping Tender Seedlings
- Cheap (or FREE) Wood Mulch For The Garden
- Homestead Hack: Remember Where You Planted Seeds
- How Vegetable Gardening Can Change Your Life!
- Easy Deep-Soak Watering
- Planting Potatoes In Galvanized Trough
- Planting A Blueberry Bush In Galvanized Tub
- Stevia – Growing Your Own Sweetener!
- How I Use EcoBricks In The Garden
- Making An Inexpensive Temporary Cold Frame
- Easily Disposing Of Old Confidential Documents
- Repurposing A Coffee Can For Deep-Soak Watering
- How Leaves Benefit Your Garden
- My Simple, Zero-Waste Herb Drying Setup
- How To Grow Fresh Salad Greens In All Seasons
- The Lazy Gardener’s Plant List – Plant Once, Eat For Years!
C’mon by & sit a spell! Come hang out at our Facebook Page. It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea – lots of good folks sharing! You can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.
If you’d like to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live it’s EASY to
Subscribe to our blog!