Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mulch is a girl's best friend

Yesterday was a great day. The sun was shining. It was warm without being too hot. The kind of weather I could happily have all year long. After our long, wet, cold June, it was just what the doctor ordered. I happily set out to the farm supply store in town and got my fertilizer and straw. I use an organic fertilizer called Plant Tone. I wish I could create enough compost, but seem to fall short each year. This has worked well for me.
Straw was the next thing to go down. Straw serves multiple purposes. It is a mulch, so it suppresses weeds, keeps in moisture and as it breaks down, even adds a small amount of nutrients to the soil. The other thing it does, especially with tomatoes, is to prevent splash up from the soil. Since most problems in tomatoes are a result of this splash up, the straw is a very good thing.

It always amazes me how fast straw breaks down. It goes on looking so thick, but by the end of summer is almost completely incorporated into the soil. By next Spring, it will be little more than a memory. It also works well as the brown material to balance all that green in the compost pile. What else can reduce the amount of work you do in the garden for only $8 or so?

1 comment:

kitsapFG said...

Straw is a great compost pile addition because not only is it a good "brown" but because the stems are hollow they allow lots of air circulation too - enhancing the aeration of the pile overall.

I no longer use it as a mulch in my garden though because in the coastal pacific northwest area where I live, natural mulches are a slugs favorite home. They then come out at night and eat all the plants. So no straw here other than in the compost pile. :D