Re: [tomato] Hay Mulch

Doreen Howard (
Tue, 2 Nov 1999 11:47:33 -0600

Hay bales (the rectangular ones that you can buy for about $3-5, not the
huge round ones that require a truck to move) already have books.  Cut the
string or wire that holds the bale together, and you will see them fan out.
You place books around a plant, pushing them tightly against each other.
There will be an opening (roughly a triangle) around the plant stem.  Here
you place a thick covering of chopped hay.

All the particulars are in Wilber's book, which you can buy at or
from Acres Publishing.  It's about $12.  Some of his techniques, to my mind,
are time-wasters.  And I skipped them. Like his kudzu compost, which he
swears by.  Kudzu is a southern pest or crop that is high in nitrogen.
Wilber likes it for the nutrient-rich compost it creates.  You can do the
same thing by using alfalfa hay for mulch and spreading regular compost
under the hay on the ground. Wilber spread his kudzu compost under his hay.

Alfalfa hay has growth stimulators in it that are about the same as the ones
Wilber swears are in kudzu.  Alfalfa growth stimulators are documented by
the scientific community.  If you cannot purchase alfalfa hay locally, use
any hay and scatter rabbit food on the ground before laying mulch.  Rabbit
pellets are ground alfalfa, and they are cheap.  In Texas, I could buy a 50
lb. sack for $5 at feed stores.

If you know a little about soil biology and organic gardening, you can see
where Wilber is going with his tricks and adjust them for your area,
materials available and time you have allotted.  Wilber is retired and
spends almost all his waking hours gardening.  Most of us do not have that
Doreen Howard

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>
Date: Tuesday, November 02, 1999 11:10 AM
Subject: [tomato] Hay Mulch

>How did you cut the hay into books?  Did you make a hole in each book to
>put your tomato plant in?  I can't visualize this, but I'm trying :)