[gardeners] straw mulching

jen6 (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Tue, 3 Aug 1999 14:33:56 -0400

	Yes, the heatwave in Southern Ohio has finally broken also and the poor
people of Cincinnatti have quit dying (literally) due to the heat.  My
garden is great and I did not have to water it once during the heat wave,
which was about 20 degrees higher than normal.  My secret this year is straw
mulching.  I purchased bales of straw (not hay--hay has seeds in it, which
doesn't help your weeding) for $2.50 a piece and spread a thick layer, about
6+ inches, all through the garden.  I haven't had to weed or water due to
this thick mulch.  My tomatoes love it, especially the poor little green
ones that my 2 and 3 year olds pick, since they can't tell red from green
yet.  We put the green tomatoes under their tomato bushes which have straw
around them, sort of like a nest.  They ripen and do not have problems with
rotting, bugs, etc.
	I am an organic gardener and do not put anything on my garden.  I have
noticed that with the straw mulch, I have not had insect problems, except
for cucumber beetles on my squash plants which aren't that big of a deal and
something has eaten my bean bush leaves, which is part of having a garden.
	This idea comes from last year's subscription of Mother Nature magazine.  I
think the woman who developed this idea is Ruth Stout, who is called the
lazy gardener.  She uses much more straw than I do (about twice as much) but
then she also uses the mulch as soil for potatoes and onions.  It's a very
interesting concept.
	And it's great for our clay soil here in Dayton, Ohio.  We'll just rototill
it up before Thanksgiving and plant winter rye to amend the soil.
	Happy gardening!