Straw can be used several different ways in your garden, each of which are quite useful. Below we will discuss seven ways you can use straw in your garden as well as the benefits of each. Straw serves multiple purposes in both loose or baled form. Bales are often used for straw bales garden and bed edging, and even those more in-depth construction projects. Below we will discuss 7 ways you can use straw in your garden– a few might surprise you.

Straw is a Great Composting Material

Composting requires finding the perfect balance between carbon rich (brown) and nitrogen rich (green) materials. Finding the right proportion of the two can make all the difference for your composting system. Straw is rich in carbon (brown) material. By adding straw to a larger scale composting systems with materials rich in nitrogen such as vegetable and fruit scraps, as well as fresh manure and grass clippings, it will help keep everything well balanced. It will keep your garden aerated and while preventing it from becoming anaerobic while providing a nice texture to your compost.

Straw Encourages the Growth of New Grass

If you’ve driven past a brand new home without sod, you have probably noticed there is straw covering the entire yard. Straw is frequently used in areas where homeowners are trying to grow new grass from seed. Effective composting does not have to be done in its own bin, heap, or composting system. Composting can occur in place, this allows the materials to disintegrate where your plants are expected to grow. By layering straw you can create a ‘lasagna bed’ that is rich in carbon. This method is used in areas where you want a garden but do not want to have to dig or till the grounds first. You are able to leave the soil undisturbed instead of removing existing turf and digging a new bed. Your growing area is formed when the turf is covered with layers of organic composting materials– straw being one of them. Some people build a hugelkultur. What’s that you might ask? Hugelkultur mounds are formed using organic materials in an effort to create a new growing area. This method requires using a core of rotting wood, then shaping your compost into a mound. Straw can be used in your hugelkultur mound.

Straw Works Well In Mulched Garden Beds

Straw can make excellent mulch material in existing garden bed. It protects the soil from eroding and becoming nutrient deficient. Straw also helps to retain soil moisture while adding in weed suppression. It keeps fruits from touching the surface of the soil, keeping them from rotting, and reducing the chances of disease– straw is frequently used around strawberry plants, as well as pumpkins and squash. It also protects your soil from freezing and keeps your plants warm when temperatures drop.

Straw Can Be Used as an Insulator

In the winter, straw can be used as a thick mulch to keep plants warm and prevent the soil from freezing. It also helps to keep frost from damaging your vegetation. Straw is a useful material when it come to insulation in other applications– it fantastic when it come to heat retention and can be utilized in garden beds and planters. You may also choose to use it in an effort to retain heat in your compost heap. A thick later of straw on top of compost heap or on the outskirts of a compost bin will speed up decomposition and can sometimes be used to create a hot composting system. Straw not only helps retain heat but it as produces heat as it disintegrates. Loose pieces of straw may be stuffed into the cavities of a green house, shed, chicken coop, or other similar buildings to serve as an insulator, keeping the space warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

You Can Use Straw Bales as a Garden Bed

In the previous paragraphs, we have talked about how you can use loose straw in your garden, but now were going to shift our attention to straw bales. These can also be quite beneficial to your garden. Have you tried straw bale gardening? In this method, straw is not used as a component in your growing areas but instead as a raised bed themselves. During decomposition, the straw bale will provide your plants with essential nutrients. In fact, some say that plants are 25% more productive when planted in a straw bale compared to those planted in average quality soil. This is due to the heat given off by the decomposition beneath it, this allows you to plant earlier in the year than you would be able to in the ground providing you with an extended growing season.

Prep Your Straw Bale Garden By…

  • Conditioning the bales so that they begin to decompose. You can do this simply by keeping them wet for about one month.
  • Add a nitrogen rich fertilizer to your saturated bale– liquid nettle or grass clippings work great.
  • After about a month, you should be able to notice through the temperature of the bale and its smell that it is working.
  • Apply a thin layer, approximately an inch or two in depth, of good compost to the top of the bale.

You are finally ready to plant in your straw bale garden!

Use a Straw Bale as Edging Around Your Garden Bed

Straw bale beds not your thing, consider using them as bed edging. When used as a temporary edging, they will work to protect, insulate, and contain the materials within them. You may also think about rendering the bales which will allow you to create a longer lasting edge around your garden. In drier regions, a clay render might be more suitable given the conditions. Lime rendering is ideal for wetter climates. Place wood on top of your rendered straw bale edging and they can also serve as seating around the edges of your garden bed.

Garden Structures Made of Straw Bales?

Straw bales have also been used to create a wide range of garden structures. Straw bale construction is both eco-friendly and sustainable construction method. With your imagination and a little work, your options are limitless. Use straw bales to make things like garden walls, storage sheds or utility buildings, straw bale chicken coops or other livestock living quarters, base walls for your green house or polytunnel structure, or even to create a cool fort for the children in your life.

We’ve Got You Covered With Straw

Route 17 Express has straw bales available in addition to gas, fresh baked goods, firewood, live bait & tackle, full deli, chicken, pizza and much, much more!

We’ve Got You Covered!

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About Route 17 Express

Route 17 Express is a hometown general store and restaurant. We offer Charlie Biggs Chicken, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Deli, Hot n Serve Meals, Marathon Gas, Firewood, Straw, and Much More!