What Is The Best Mulch To Use For Flower Beds Home Grown Organic Vegetables – Pea Straw Mulch For Vegetable Gardens

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Home Grown Organic Vegetables – Pea Straw Mulch For Vegetable Gardens

Pea straw is a waste product left over from large-scale agricultural production of peas. A versatile product that is used both as animal feed and as garden mulch, pea straw has been popular for several years, and increasingly so in recent years. As fodder, pea straw is often baled and wrapped in silage while it is still relatively green and fresh. Pea straw garden mulch is usually baled when dry and can be purchased directly from the farm or your local garden center.

Applying pea straw in your vegetable garden can be as simple as spreading it directly from the bale. However, there are a few techniques that can add value to the straw before you spread it over the vegetables. Consider some of the following options to get the most out of your pea straw.

Soaking in water to increase water retention

Soaking pea straw in water before use has several beneficial effects. Increasing water retention is perhaps the most important. Pea straw is baled dry and may take some time to start holding water under normal conditions. Soaking helps speed up this process. In addition, the liquid in which the straw is soaked is an excellent fertilizer and conditioner for watering vegetable plants.

Shredding with sheep or cow manure

Shredding of pea straw requires a chopper or shredding machine with a shredding chamber. Small amounts should be fed into the chopper at a time to prevent clogging of the unit. Sheep, beef or even horse manure can be crushed with pea straw. This can help prevent pea straw from blocking the unit.

Composting with green grass clippings

Pea straw is a great addition to the compost pile as a carbon source. Mixed in layers with freshly cut green grass, pea straw breaks down quickly to create a rich semi-composted mulch perfect for use in the vegetable garden. Fresh and green grass clippings will help speed up the composting process. Making this kind of compost for mulching would not involve typical household waste etc. which will take longer to break down. Another option is to add a layer of pea straw to the garden bed and cover it with fresh green lawn clippings. Leave this for a week or two before planting your seedlings. This time delay is important to reduce the level of heat that builds up from the grass as it begins to decompose.

As the mulch breaks down around the plants this year, it becomes the medium in which vegetables will be planted next season, while encouraging beneficial insects, worms and bacteria.

Article written by Eric J. Smith

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