Have any of you tried straw as a winter mulch ?

I have quite a bit of spare straw and was wondering whether it would do as a winter mulch on my vegetable patch. Last year I put down a layer of manure, but it's unlikely I'll be able to do that in time for this winter.

Will the straw rot down OK, does it improve the soil etc ? Am interested in anybody's direct experience with this.

Thanks.

Posts

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806

    I fear you will either end up with a soggy mat-full of unwelcome visitors- or it will blow all over the place

    Far better to let it rot down in the compost heap-any thing that rots down in the soil tends to deplete the nitrogen content.

  • Most likely "a soggy mat" given the current weather. I thought some people actually grew stuff in straw so was wondering if it would add to the soil rather than depleting it.

  • chrissieBchrissieB Posts: 772

    Some plamys are grown on straw to prevent heir fruit touching the ground (and therefore getting muddy/mouldy) - usually strawberries and squashes/pumpkins. It also helps prevent water loss from the soil in summer - as does any mulch.

    But as the others say would not use it as a winter mulch, it will take forever to rot down and if dry(although unlikely!) could blow everywhere. Best thing would be to keep it for next year if you need a summer mulch for strawberries etc - if you've got somewhere dry and ventilated to keep it. Or dig it into your compost - mix it in to help it rot down rather than in a layer. It wont add any nutrients but it is a very good source of organic matter which is vital for good soil structure.

  • not for winter,it does not break down well and becomes a mess.Hay when mixed with horse manure is good when it has rotted well.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,806

    image That's an expensive use for hay - it's up to £6 per small bale at the moment whereas bedding straw is £2 tops!!!

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
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