The battle. It’s the perfect word to sum up my relationship with the weeds that make their appearance in my garden. It’s an ongoing war. Some days I win, and some days I lose. Last year I felt like I lost the war. I couldn’t overcome the weeds by just picking them myself. A lot of those weeds are a product of not having a big enough lawnmower to keep the weeds in the yard from going to seed. This year I needed an advantage in the battle. I am never going to be completely weed free without spraying toxic chemicals onto my garden. So instead I turned to straw.
I put a good layer of straw down in the areas of my garden where I walk. I also lay down a really thick in the main walkway that is close my house. I basically cut my straw bales and spread them out in that area. The layer is just thick enough, so I can walk on it without tripping. From there I spread it up the smaller pathways that run between the rows. If I do see any more weeds that make there way up through it (I haven’t yet), I will simply pull the weed and add more straw.
I have heard the downsides to straw. Some say it will contain weed seeds and add more problems. Some say weeds still grow through it. Are those things possible? Certainly. Is that going to stop me from using straw? Nope. Why? Because I believe the benefits outweigh the risks. I personally do not have the time to be out there for hours everyday fighting against the weeds. I needed something that will slow the process of the weeds growing. And since I have placed my straw, a couple weeks ago, I have not had any weed issues in the walkways of my garden. My garden looks better than a year ago and it is giving me a leg up, so I am not completely overwhelmed by weeds like in years past. Plus my cat thinks it’s a great place to lay down for a nap!
I picked up the straw from a local nursery/produce market. I was originally going to get it cheaper from a private source, but it would have been a lot further drive and I would have had to arrange someone with a truck or trailer to go with me. Still, $3.95 a bale at the local nursery wasn’t too much to pay.
I have talked to about using straw on my walk ways, but I am also placing straw around my pea plants themselves. It was too time consuming to try to do until I could easily fit the straw around the plants without covering up the plants themselves, so i waited for them to get a bit larger. To do this, I get down on my kneeling pad, remove the weeds around the peas and lay down the straw. I may come back for a thicker layer when the plants get even taller if I feel it’s not fully blocking the weeds. My main goal again is to give myself a leg up in the battle. I am not trying to completely wipe out the weeds, I am trying to get them to a manageable point. I believe the straw will get me there. I will do a review of how the straw worked at the end of my pea growing season, so check back for that. Sign up below my email updates, so you will be notified when I do post that review.
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