I watched an old interview with Ruth Stout (search for her on YouTube and you'll find quite a few). Here in the Fort Worth area my favorite feed store (Marshall Grain, down on Lancaster) has coastal hay (a Bermuda hay) and bales of straw.
What is the contribution to the garden soil using one mulch or the other, in the way Stout kept her garden entirely mulched and moved the mulch aside to plant? I am aware that in the past when I've used coastal hay (my dogs sleep on it in their stall, and when I change out their hay I use it in the garden) it works nicely but I end up with some of it sprouting because there are some seeds or sprigs in there that sprout. Would straw contribute as much to soil nutrition, but without the seed component? What about alfalfa hay? Any thoughts on that? (I think I've heard Howard say it gets stinky as it breaks down, but are there any other up or down sides?)
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm Posts: 2884 Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
Here's my philosophy on mulch.
The Texas Hill Country is awash in mountain cedar (really a juniper, but who cares?). Those plants suck up every bit of moisture and effectively prevent other plants from moving in. Some genius somewhere has come up with the idea of turning the mountain cedar into mulch. They have a machine called the 'cedar eater' that turns an entire tree into mulch in about 10 seconds. I've tried the mulch and find that I prefer it to every other mulch I've ever tried. It does not float away, it smells okay, and it forms a very dense covering which stops even bermuda from coming through (if you get enough). My feeling is that if we can encourage the Hill Country ranchers to mulch their cedar and sell it, we are doing everyone a favor. If cedar is not a renewable resource, the supply certainly seems inexhaustible.
_________________ David Hall Moderator Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum
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