hay as mulch.... pros and cons?

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by daisybeans, May 16, 2018.

  1. daisybeans

    daisybeans Hardy Maple

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    I have planted three 4x4 foot raised beds with veggies.... all are filled with 6 to 8 or so inches of nice new garden soil and compost on top of tilled regular yard soil, which is pretty OK, except it did have a layer of weeds. I combed most of those out, I think. Anyway, now thinking about mulch to preserve moisture as well as keep weeds down some. I have some hay on hand and thinking of using that but I've only ever done that with strawberries. I'm wondering about pros and cons of a layer of hay as mulch.... thoughts?
     
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  3. DeepWoods

    DeepWoods In Flower

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    I've been using hay for many years now..just be careful that you do not use any that the farmer has sprayed the pastures with chemicals...it WILL kill your plants.I have my own hay cut and do not spray any chemicals on my pastures.
    Look up Ruth Stout gardening....

    IMG_1508_06_10_2015.jpg
    06302017.jpg

    RearGarden_05012018_Iphone_IMG_2659.jpg
     
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  4. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  5. DeepWoods

    DeepWoods In Flower

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  6. daisybeans

    daisybeans Hardy Maple

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    Thanks for the reminder about Ruth Stout, DeepWoods. I have been trying to remember her name. What a coincidence. The links were helpful.

    The "hay" that I have is in a bale that I got from a local feed store which is why I called it hay, but now that you've all prompted me to look into it further, I believe what I have is straw. I will call my friend at the feed store and confirm, but I'm pretty sure. I got the two bales that I have because I was going to try a little straw bale gardening. I have some other that's been left over in the garage for a couple of years. I used it under strawberries.

    Thanks again!
     
  7. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    Toni is right ! Hay for feed is different from straw. Feed hay will still have all the grass seeds ! Straw is usually whats left after wheat, oats ect have been harvested !
     
  8. Odif

    Odif In Flower

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    I have bought straw to mulch with, but I really like wood chips the most for mulching. I also mulch with weeds that I pull out or when I strim the grass around the garden. I often let it dry for a few days and then rake it up and mulch with it. Last week I cut a field of nettles. I will use it as mulch. Good info about hay, deepwoods, I learned hay was bad because of seeds, but what you say makes sense.
     
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  9. daisybeans

    daisybeans Hardy Maple

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    You know Odiff, you remind me that a few years ago I mulched my vegetables with dried grass that I raked up after I cut the grass and that was the best mulch for my veggies. But I have the boy down the street mow for me now and he has a mulching lawn mower -- so good for the grass, but lots less for mulch and compost.
     
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  10. daisybeans

    daisybeans Hardy Maple

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    DeepWoods -- are those pictures of your vegetable garden? It sure is pretty. I noticed you're in zone 7, same as me. Good to know, we might have some of the same conditions to contend with.
     
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  11. DeepWoods

    DeepWoods In Flower

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    As I have said previously and shown photos..I have been using hay for many years...feed hay, the same hay that I feed my goats and horse...with all the "grass seeds" still intact. And as you can clearly see my garden is not taken over by grass or weeds.
    The people that have come up with the gripe about the seeds and weeds...well...operator error is one way to put it. So with their failure and uneducated attempt they mislead others into the thinking that a mulch that has been used for many, many years with great success is "bad"....it's sad really because hay as a mulch has way more benefits than cons. Used correctly hay serves great value to your garden, it compost and builds up the soil, holds moisture, cuts down on weeding, etc. and no more tilling for me.
     
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  12. daisybeans

    daisybeans Hardy Maple

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    Thinking maybe I'll head on over to my friend's Feed Store and get some hay and try that this year. Turned into an interesting and informative thread. Thanks, everyone.
     
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  13. DeepWoods

    DeepWoods In Flower

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    I have used wood chips in the past too, but they are sometimes hard to come by and I have hay already that I feed my goats and horse. I also mulch with comfrey and dock leaves.
    Those nettles should work great!!
     
  14. DeepWoods

    DeepWoods In Flower

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    Yes, those are photos of my gardens, over several years. Thanks.
    The top photo is around 2011 or 12....the middle is from 2017 and the last image is from this year just a couple weeks ago. Here's another from 2017 so you can clearly see that I use hay and not straw.
     

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  15. Growingpains

    Growingpains In Flower

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    Deep Woods, such beautiful tomatoes!
     
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  16. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    This has been a great discussion. Thanks daisybeans for posting this question . DeepWoods your links were great.
    I'm going to look for some hay!
     
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