Using Natural Materials: Straw In The Garden

by Texas Homesteader ~

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.

Using Straw in the vegetable garden to preserve moisture. AND reduce weeds! Come see how a bale of straw does double duty. Nothing's wasted. #TexasHomesteader

Using Straw Bales

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.

Using Straw in the vegetable garden to preserve moisture. AND reduce weeds! Come see how a bale of straw does double duty. Nothing's wasted. #TexasHomesteader

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.

Important New Purpose For Old Straw

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.

Using Straw in the vegetable garden to preserve moisture. AND reduce weeds! Come see how a bale of straw does double duty. Nothing's wasted. #TexasHomesteader

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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My favorite gardening hacks all in one place. #TexasHomesteader

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6 thoughts on “Using Natural Materials: Straw In The Garden

  1. Katy SkipTheBag

    We use hay in our garden for the beds and wood chips for the paths. It keeps all but the most pesky, vine-like, weeds out of the garden. I never thought about putting a hole bale somewhere. Thanks for sharing on the #WasteLessWednesday. blog hop!.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      The wood chips in he paths has been very helpful to me too Katy. But when that rainwater tap turns off about this time each year, I really like to have a thick layer of mulch protecting my plants. This straw worked so well for me, because it was its second purchase after protecting the grapes. Use Whatcha Got! ~TxH~

  2. Charlene Dryman

    I use hay in my garden. Hay is $11 a bale and straw is much more than that. When I rake up oak leaves, and cut grass. Anything works.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I use whatever natural materials I’ve got when I’m mulching my garden too Charlene. Typical mulch for me is grass clippings, leaves and spent hay. But this straw was leftover from deteriorated straw bales that had been used for another purpose & was no longer fit for that purpose. I sure didn’t want to waste it, so it made a perfect mulch too. Double Duty! I’m a big fan of #UseWhatchaGot! ~TxH~

  3. Monica

    Wow – talk about getting your money’s worth out something! What a great and simple idea to protect the grapes, too. Thanks for sharing.


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