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Old 05/13/07, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 222
Does anybody ever use straw between their garden rows to keep down weeds?

I've been thinking about doing it and I'm wondering if there could be any draw backs. I can't think of any. It's seems logical but I've never seen it done. Would it work? Can anyone think of a drawback?
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Old 05/13/07, 03:15 PM
CoonXpress's Avatar  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Kingston, Ok
Posts: 842
I've used wheat straw in mine. Only problem I had was the wheat that came up. That's the only drawback I know of.
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Old 05/13/07, 03:33 PM
flowergurl's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: KS
Posts: 2,320
Yes i did it with green beans and tomatoes. It worked great, there wasn't hardly any weeds and it held moisture in the ground well.
I didn't have any drawbacks. After the growing season is over you can till it under or compost it.
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Old 05/13/07, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33
Is there anything else? Seriously, wheat straw if practically all I use out here in wheat country. If works great. Of course if you can get some old, rotty alfalfa that is even better for your soil.

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Old 05/13/07, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 222
Thanks guys. It occurred to me that this straw would likely be fescue.

So, a little concerned that I may end up sprouting grass. I check into getting some wheat straw. Guess I could try it with the fescue and just keep rolling it over if I see grass coming up.
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Old 05/14/07, 09:56 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 2,190
That would be call hay if it from fescue and would have weed/grass seeds in it. Straw comes from grain crops and has little or no weed seed. We put down newspaper first and then use hay/haymanure on top. Any weeds that sprout are easy to pull. It keeps the soil moist for the plants, the paper rots and can be tilled in.
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Old 05/14/07, 10:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: WI
Posts: 2,180
We use any kind of straw or hay that we can get cheap. Easier to pull a few wheat, oat, or hay(grass) weed out of the mulch than to weed the garden every few days all summer. Been doing it for about 30 years or more. Also use all of the grass clippings that we feel like raking up, and mow some of our field areas just to get material for mulching.
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Old 05/14/07, 10:26 AM
A.T. Hagan
Posts: n/a
Mulch is good. The more of it the better (within reason of course).

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Old 05/14/07, 01:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 567
Here is my garden a week or so ago. You can see the round bale of hay that I am pulling off of to place between the rows. It is rotten. I put down old feed bags and then put the hay on top. As the seeds come in I scoot it around the plants also. This is my first year to do this. I am just following the advice of these kind folks here. Last year I did not mulch, and I had a garden full of weeds and poison ivy.
Good luck, Kimberly

Does anybody ever use straw between their garden rows to keep down weeds? - Gardening & Plant Propagation
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Old 05/14/07, 02:20 PM
farmergirl's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Austin-ish, Texas
Posts: 5,001
I'm using the leftover trampled rotting hay that you find where a round bale once sat. We've had enough rain in the last few months that the hay left over from just the last couple round bales is nicely rotted and composting. I just scoop it up a spread it along the vegetable rows. In fact, I think I have a picture of it to post here. Let me check and get back to you!

Does anybody ever use straw between their garden rows to keep down weeds? - Gardening & Plant Propagation
"Perhaps I'll have them string a clothesline from the hearse I am in, with my underwear waving in the breeze, as we drive to the cemetary. People worry about the dumbest things!"
by Wendy

Last edited by farmergirl; 05/14/07 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 05/14/07, 06:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Venice,CA.
Posts: 401
Hey Legacy;I used straw ten years ago when I had access to the empty lot 3 doors down from my house in the Canals.Wheat did come up,but not enough to be a problem.It did let me know how great the French Itensive/Bio-Dynamic methods worked as there were no aphids in my garden but the wheat being between the beds would become so heavily infested with them they looked like Alien lifeforms.It does get a little slippery when wet but it looks Great.And at the end of the season it will provide carbon for compost.-
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Old 05/14/07, 09:40 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Northern Minnesota
Posts: 298
Straw, hay, leaves, newspaper, whatever works to have 5 inches of mulch to keep the weeds down and moisture in. I do it in between the rows until the plants come up, then I put mulch around the plants. Works great for me. Good luck!
~Be the change you wish to see in the world.
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Old 05/14/07, 10:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 28
This year we're using a couple layers of newspapers topped with old hay. The newspaper helps keep the weeds out and helps with the hay seeds. I can't believe how much moisture is still under the newspaper compared to the parts of the garden we haven't gotten too yet.

Two lessons I learned so far this year. Wait till the seeds come up before putting down the paper/hay and wet the newspaper before putting it down. We used a large tub and soaked the papers for about an hour before laying them down.
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Old 05/18/07, 04:31 PM
bill not in oh's Avatar  
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Earth
Posts: 1,869
So how long do seeds from grass hay/weeds remain viable? I'd think that they'd be like vegetable seeds - losing viability over time?
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Old 05/18/07, 04:50 PM
susieM's Avatar  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: France
Posts: 4,117
Straw, newspapers (the weeds die from the weight of public opinion), cardboard, corncobs, dead leaves, sawdust, seaweed, old hay....Ruth Stout LIVES!

( was Ruth who said that about public opinion)
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Old 05/18/07, 08:45 PM
Hears The Water's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: S.W. MO
Posts: 3,582
The only draw-back that I experienced was when I used the straw to mulch the older plants, and the chickens that we let free-range figured out where the wheat kernals were. So I would come out in the evening to find that the chickens had scratched the straw around to look for the wheat and so I would have to re-rake it back into the rows. But once I "chicken-proofed" my garden, no real drawbacks for us. HTH
God bless you and yours
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but He has given unto us a spirit of power of love and a sound mind.
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Old 05/19/07, 03:02 AM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,187
I'm a great believer in mulch, lots of. I use cane-sugar mulch because it's readily available and cheap where I am. I usually spread it out at least 30cm (a foot) thick.

Not only does it add some nutrients to the soil, but as it breaks down, it helps to condition the soil, making it more friable. It also helps to conserve water, and protects the roots from the burning sun. In winter, it helps keep the roots warm - it acts as an insulator. And as if that wasn't enough, it also helps a lot to reduce weeds.

It's important that you don't allow the mulch to touch the stems of plants.
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