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Hay vs Straw

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  • mikegbbns
    Hi My wife and I have a difference of opinion that this list will be able to help with. A vegetable garden is mulched with clean hay or straw. What is clean
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 27, 2004
      Hi

      My wife and I have a difference of opinion that this list will be
      able to help with.

      A vegetable garden is mulched with clean hay or straw. What
      is 'clean hay?'

      My wife thinks that hay will introduce many weed seeds to the
      garden, whereas I believe that they are already there in buckets and
      one of the reasons we are mulching is to suppress them. So what does
      a few thousand extra seeds matter?

      Cheap hay, or more expensive straw. What should it be?

      Thanks

      Mike
    • John Warner
      Straw is as useless for feeding the soil as it is for feeding livestock. Why? No nitrogen and near nothing of much else but carbon. It will actually tie up
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 27, 2004
        Straw is as useless for feeding the soil as it is for feeding livestock. Why? No nitrogen and near nothing of much else but carbon. It will actually tie up nitrogen already in the soil contrary to long held opinion. Yes, hay will have lots of grain seeds, and perhaps weed species too, but just as with livestock feeding that's where the value is. I use grass clippings but if I were to buy mulch by the bale I'd use alfalfa hay. Alfalfa is cut before it seeds and is usually pretty free of weed seed.

        Good wishes,

        John Warner
        Madera Whole Systems Agriculture near Fresno, California
        Starting our 10th season as market gardeners


        From: mikegbbns
        To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2004 1:55 AM
        Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Hay vs Straw




        Hi

        My wife and I have a difference of opinion that this list will be
        able to help with.

        A vegetable garden is mulched with clean hay or straw. What
        is 'clean hay?'

        My wife thinks that hay will introduce many weed seeds to the
        garden, whereas I believe that they are already there in buckets and
        one of the reasons we are mulching is to suppress them. So what does
        a few thousand extra seeds matter?

        Cheap hay, or more expensive straw. What should it be?

        Thanks

        Mike








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      • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
        Straw is as useless for feeding the soil as it is for feeding livestock. Why? No nitrogen and near nothing of much else but carbon. It will actually tie up
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 28, 2004
          Straw is as useless for feeding the soil as it is for feeding livestock. Why? No nitrogen and near nothing of much else but carbon. It will actually tie up nitrogen already in the soil contrary to long held opinion. Yes, hay will have lots of grain seeds, and perhaps weed species too, but just as with livestock feeding that's where the value is. I use grass clippings but if I were to buy mulch by the bale I'd use alfalfa hay. Alfalfa is cut before it seeds and is usually pretty free of weed seed.
          nitrogen is produced for the soil by bacterias also, so straw is not so useless because it is still food for many microorganisms so will favorise fixing of atmospheric nitrogen .the concept of " tied up of nitrogen" have to be undertood as a temporary process , it will cycle along the food chain many times being tied up then release for other forms of life .

          diversity in mulch is a must each plant bringing its own mineral make up .

          jean-claude




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