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

Straw bale garden mulch experiment

truck load of straw

We squeezed 18 bales of straw in the truck today for around 100 bucks.

I predict this will save us 2 to 3 hours of weeding per bale.

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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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I feel decadent buying all of that straw, but I already have it all earmarked. And I think it'll be better for the garden than the leaves I raked out of the woods last year --- it will promote more bacteria than fungi in the soil, which row crops like.
Comment by anna Tue Sep 14 15:47:00 2010

I used rye bales to build a compost pile this summer and they got really wet (lousy location) and sprouted their own mushrooms. The chickens really liked them. BSF took over the pile and I discovered the pupae had migrated into the straw. A nice two-fer deal there! The whole deal is now feeding and mulching our baby orchard.

No 'shrooms in the garden straw.

Comment by April Tue Sep 14 20:08:13 2010
I gave up using straw for mulch, too many weeds from the seeds, and a home for slugs. The neighbor has some spoiled hay I think I'll give that a try for next years garden.
Comment by zimmy Tue Sep 14 22:23:48 2010

April -- Wow! That's amazing! If I could recreate that on a regular basis, it would be thoroughly worth buying straw.

Zimmy --- We did have some grain seeds sprout from the straw we got last year, but not too much. I always read about people who find spoiled hay for free or cheap and am very jealous...

Comment by anna Wed Sep 15 07:56:32 2010

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