The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Perennial straw

Canary reedgrass field

Our new bales of straw were cut from a perennial --- canary reedgrass, which grows in soupy ground down by a creek. The farmer reports:

"It is a grass that regrows every year. And is more friendly to the environment than wheat straw. We do not harvest until late August early September; by that time all the seeds have fallen off and it is just like wheat straw except it is a little longer and does not have the golden color."

Self-serve straw kiosk

Clearly, the demand for his straw is high. The farmer has just about sold out, having moved 1,000 bales using a self-serve kiosk by the side of the road over the course of the winter and spring.

I'll try to remember to report back once I have more of an idea of the pros and cons of using this perennial straw in the garden. For now, I suspect it'll rot a little faster since it has more of a grass feel than a straw feel, but will otherwise work as expected. Stay tuned for further details!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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My only worry "all the seeds have fallend off"
Comment by Jayne Wead Tue Apr 3 12:54:51 2018
Jackie Clay of Backwoods Home mag uses canary reed grass. She says they cut it early before seed heads form. Here's a link to a variety of her posts mentioning it; you might be able to glean some useful info from.
Comment by Daniel Wed Apr 4 10:10:38 2018
Reed Canary Grass is not usually a problem unless you have poorly drained soil, it likes wet feet.
Comment by Nita Thu Apr 5 09:43:58 2018
It was called that "Meadow Hay" in mid Minnesota- in dry years it always got cut and harvested, in wet years you couldn't get machinery near it! Grows nearly taller than the tractor.
Comment by Eric Thu Apr 5 19:15:08 2018

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