If you’re not using mulch in your vegetable garden, you’re doing entirely too much work. Mulch helps to hold in moisture, so you don’t have to water as often; it shades out weed seedlings, cutting down on weeding time; and it composts into nutrients and amendments for the soil. Straw is one of the best mulch materials you can use around your vegetable plants. It’s clean, it’s light, and it breaks down relatively easily, giving your plants more of what they need to grow. Let’s find out more about using straw mulch for gardening.
Best Types of Straw Garden Mulch
Straw will compost pretty quickly in most garden settings. Check the depth of the layer in between rows after about six weeks. You’ll probably need to add another layer, to the depth of 2 or 3 inches (5-8 cm.), to help keep the weeds down and moisture in the soil during the hottest part of summer.
Tips for Using Straw as Mulch for Vegetables
Rice straw is very good, as it rarely carries weed seeds, but wheat straw mulch in gardens is more readily available and will work just as well.
In a garden, however, getting the two confused can lead to problems in the future. Hay and straw are often both used as weed control mulch in the garden but the results you get can be quite different.
Be aware of the difference between hay and straw when shopping for mulch.
Why would that make a difference to us in the garden? The problem lies with hay. Hay often is made up of a combination of different plants growing in a field or meadow. Farmers will cut and bale the plants in a field like that to feed to dairy cows that are in their resting stage, called dry cows. That kind of hay is of low quality and is less nutritious than say alfalfa hay, but that is fine for dry cows because they don’t require dense nutrition when they’re not producing milk.