During my lunch break today, I went to a local seed and feed store for a bale of straw. In order for it to fit in the trunk of my Passatt, I had to fold down the rear seats. My car smelled so good on the way home I was picturing grazing horses in a field. The reason for the bale is that I am going to be using it in my vegetable garden as mulch.
There are advantages for using straw for mulch according to what I have read. First of all the straw mulch theory is supposed to drought proof the garden. With these really hot days, most of my plants are being stressed out from the heat. That could be the reason my tomato plants are not producing. They are fruiting but the fruits are not large and are not ripening. Adding the straw as a protective blanket around them will keep the soil moist and conserve a little water, which is very important this being the worst drought since 1956.
The second reason is that not only is the soil kept moist, but it is kept cooler and I am preparing the soil for my fall planting which doesn’t like soil over 85 degrees. I am going to attempt this year for the first time to plant peas, lettuce, broccoli, brussel sprouts, for the fall and they don’t like the warm weather as much as the other vegetables I have growing now.
as I understand it, you have to remember to mulch with straw rather than hay as hay contains grass seeds and they could germinate in your beds. You also have to remember to not put the straw right up the base of the plant as it allows slugs and other pests an easy way to get to them. At any rate, in the next few days I will be putting down the straw, which I really should have done a few weeks ago. I hope that my garden improves and that the sweet smell of the straw will also correlate to the sweet smell of success.