After a productive weekend, and incredibly warm for December, the Sun started to quickly set in the West. Before the Sun finally went to bed I was able to get two bales of straw on the gardens.
What’s the difference between straw and hay? Typically, straw has less seed heads. There will still be some but with straw you will get a lot less. I recommend using straw when you want to mulch your garden. You will have a lot less to weed. Some straw is chemically treated to stop the straw seeds from growing, when buying make sure it is not treated. Typically, only commercial setting use treated straw so it is not likely but it is good to ask.
My Master Gardener class taught me to put down straw when the temperatures at night are consistently in the 20’s. Three nights of 20 degree weather is a another good rule of thumb or typically the first week of December. Our weather has been very mild with a few cold spots mixed in. I decided to put my mulch on today, the weather is not ideal, and it would be better to do it later in the week. However, it is not likely I would be able to get to it, so I thought it would be better to early than to late.
I mulched the strawberries, raspberries, perennial herbs, garlic, and our mum experiments. The blueberries were mulched earlier with pine straw.
A tip for when you mulch with straw; leave the bale near were you mulch then you can quickly rake the left over straw right on were you need it.
Make sure you have a nice thick layer of mulch. Take a section of the bale and shake it. When you shake the straw you will get a fluffy layer, put plenty down as it will settle down from the weather.
I hope you enjoy mulching with straw. It smells wonderful. If you are not careful though, it will be all over you. Today was a bit windy so shaking it out was a bit of an adventure.
So what do you need to mulch or have mulched this Fall? What do you use for mulch?
Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.