Straw can be incredibly useful if you know what you can do with it. For anyone who is newer to the concept of using straw in their garden, however, it can be confusing!
If you’ve recently come into possession of a lot of straw, and you don’t know what to do with it, we’ve got you covered.
Here, we’ll be going through 19 super smart ways that you can use that straw every day! Your garden will never look better, and you’ll feel great for using your straw responsibly. You’d be surprised by just how many uses straw can have!
Whether you have a large garden or a small one, you can put at least some of these ideas to use, we promise! It also doesn’t matter how skilled you are as a gardener or how much experience you have outdoors – these ideas are really easy to carry out!
Now, if you would like to find out more about what you can do with all that straw you have lying around, stick around. By the end, you’ll have some amazing ideas to try out.
What Even is Straw?
Before we get into it, it would be a good idea to know what straw actually is. Sure, you’ve probably heard about it plenty, but do you know what it is? Just to be safe, let’s go through it below.
Straw is a byproduct of agricultural material. Namely, it is made up of cereal plants’ dried stalks once the chaff and grain has been removed from them.
Surprisingly, about half the yield from cereal crops (e.g. barley, rye, oats, wheat and rice) is actually straw! As such, there is a lot of straw to be used all around the world!
Is Straw a Versatile Product?
Straw is extremely versatile. It can be used for a number of things, even ones that don’t relate to your gardens! For anyone with a garden, though, you will be impressed by all the uses you can get from your straw. From building straw sofas for your cookout to using it as insulation for the ground, the possibilities are seemingly endless!
If you want to find out just how versatile straw really is, stick around. We guarantee that at least one option on this list will stick out enough for you to try.
Straw vs Hay – What’s the Difference?
There’s bound to be some confusion when it comes to straw and hay. To clear that up, we’ll quickly go through the differences between these two products.
Straw is a byproduct of cereal crops agriculture. It is the name given to the seedless product which has had the chaff and grain removed from it. Color-wise, straw is usually yellow, and can be used for things like compost, mulch, or bedding 9specifically for animals).
Hay, on the other hand, is made from things like dried legumes or grass. This product is typically green or yellow, and is used as a food source for animals, such as horses.
How You Can Use Straw in Your Garden
What this is: no-till gardening is a way of growing plants without tilling or disturbing the soil underneath. There are a number of methods that use the same basic principle, but go by many names.
How Straw is involved: straw is used alongside soil and compost to create raised areas where plants will be grown.
Why it’s a good idea: no-till gardening does not damage the earth below, as the soil is not tilled. Using straw is great for this method of gardening, as it makes the soil more porous and attracts earthworms, which are beneficial to the soil. The use of straw will also prevent weeds from being too much of an issue, and the method is great for anyone with soil that is full or clay or hard to use.
How to do it: layers of compost and straw are sandwiched together to create the perfect environment for plants to grow. One way to do this form of gardening involves starting with a 50/50 mix of compost and straw and piling up around 6-inches deep. On top of that, you can create a 4-inch layer of topsoil. The plants you wish to grow should then be planted into that topsoil, and then mulch added to the top. Walkways should also be created using the straw to help with erosion.
When the growing season ends, the plant stalks that remain should be cut down to the level of the soil rather than being pulled out. This allows the roots to decompose and be used for compost the following year. When the next growing season comes, you can repeat the process with the original layers on top of the row that already exists, so you don’t need to till the row from the year before.
Alternatively, you can use the method that crosses no-till gardening and raised-bed gardening. For this, newspaper is also used in the process, and the beds rise up to be around 2-feet tall without barriers.
What this is: soil amendment improves the quality of sandy, clay, poor, or dense soils by adding organic matter and bulk to it.
How Straw is involved: the straw is broken up and added to the various soils to help improve it.
Why it’s a good idea: adding straw to soil that is full of clay or sand makes the soil more usable. The same logic applies to soil that is too dense or doesn’t have a lot of nutrients for growing things. When this straw gets added, it gives the soil the opportunity to be used for growing plants. Improving the structure of the soil is the main reason for using straw as a soil amendment, as it has little nutrients to offer.
How to do it: simply break the straw and mix it with the soil that required the amendment. This will improve the soil’s structure to better allow for growth.
Using straw as a soil amendment is beneficial as it will improve the soil structure, but also add some nutrients. The nutrients it brings is not a large amount, but for soil that is very nutritionally poor, it can make a huge difference. Not only that, but adding straw to soil will also attract earthworms, which will help the soil improve.
As straw absorbs water, when it is mixed with the soil, the amount of liquid held improves. Having straw there also means that the soil is more permeable and will drain better. Bear in mind that initially, the addition of fresh straw will result in some nitrogen being “locked up” in the soil. This means that it will be more difficult for plants to root themselves there. This, however, is temporary. When the straw starts to break down, the nitrogen that was borrowed will be released and used to break down carbon in the ground.
After a couple of months of straw decomposing, the ground will become available to other plants again. When this happens, there should be an improvement in fertility, which will increase as the straw is further broken down. When the straw has almost fully decomposed, the soil may need some nitrogen fertilizer.
What this is: erosion refers to something gradually being destroyed or coming apart. In this case, soil. Erosion is a huge issue for many gardeners, as it can quickly kill or sweep away seeds and plants. By using straw to combat erosion, you are less likely to have plants wash away.
How Straw is involved: use straw from straw bales and spread it over the soil where there are new seeds or plants.
Why it’s a good idea: erosion kills many plants in gardens and farms, and can change the face of a surface. By using straw to prevent your garden from eroding, you are protecting your plants.
How to do it: all you need to do is get a straw bale, cut it open, and use the straw to cover the ground where there are seeds or plants. The layer of straw should be around an inch thick or more. A thinner layer will not help prevent erosion very much.
You can also use straw bales to prevent erosion from occurring. All you need to do is line the gardening area with them to prevent water from entering the area and running through it at force. This is especially helpful if your garden is on a slope where water frequently runs down and through the patch.
Whole bales should also be used if you know that soil from your garden gets washed into rivers or streams. You can line the stream edge or the problematic side of the garden to prevent this from happening. When soil enters rivers, it can spread harmful chemicals such as pesticides if they are being used. Not only that, but it simply makes the water dirty, which is not ideal for anyone or anything that has to use it.
Protecting Your Plants
What this is: use straw bales to act as a barrier between the elements and the plants you want to protect. You can protect the plants from the wind, rain, or even sunshine.
How Straw is involved: straw bales can be used to tower over the plants to prevent the elements from getting to them
Why it’s a good idea: using the straw bales you have left over to protect the plants you’ve used time and energy to grow is a great use! The bales will take the brunt of the elements, while the plants you worked on will thrive.
How to do it: all you need to do is pile up your straw bales accordingly. If you want to protect your plant from strong winds, pile up the bales to the height that is required to shield the plants. If the sun is your issue, you will need to pile up the bales high enough so that they cast a shadow on the plants you need to shield.
Using straw bales to protect your plants is a super easy way to get the job done. It also means that you don’t need to put up permanent fixtures to protect the plants when they rarely need it. Once the straw bales have served their purpose protecting the planets from the elements, they can be used for something else, like mulch.
Insulating Over-Winter Crops
What this is: straw will be used to insulate crops or plants that are growing in the winter, much like it helps keep the soil cooler in the summer.
How Straw is involved: the straw is placed over the soil around the plants, much like mulch.
Why it’s a good idea: it’s incredibly easy for the temperatures of soil to get too cold in the winter months, and using straw to insulate it will prevent that. This method of straw use can be used for crops, bushes, flowers, and even shrubs during the winter to help them get by.
How to do it: all you need to do is break up some straw and lay it over the soil around plants to keep the soil a little warmer. The layer needs to be thick to properly insulate the soil – likely five or so inches to get the job done.
Using straw to insulate the soil of plants in the winter is incredibly useful for any kind of plant that gets planted in the fall. These plants require a lot of time to get ready to grow and bloom, but temperatures that are too cold can have a negative effect on them. By using straw to insulate the roots or bulbs of these plants, they are more likely to thrive.
This is particularly useful for bulbs and root crops, such as beets, carrots, or potatoes, because even when it gets cold, they remain in the ground. When the plants beneath the straw start growing and leaves become visible, however, the straw will need to be pulled back. That way, the plants will not get smothered and will continue to happily grow. Bear in mind that crops that grow in the colder months will still need to be harvested before the ground freezes, as the straw insulation will not be enough to stop that from happening.
What this is: mulch is material that is often used in gardening as a top layer. It helps preserve the moisture of soil, and also helps improve the soil’s fertility. Straw is frequently used as mulch because it is super easy to create and use.
How Straw is involved: broken straw is used to create its own mulch or added to a mulch mixture.
Why it’s a good idea: mulch will prevent weeds from growing in the area where it is placed. Not only that, but mulch will help keep the soil moist and ideal for the plants that are already growing there. Using a layer of mulch will also help keep the soil temperature cooler in the hot months and warmer in the winter, which benefits the plants growing there.
How to do it: to create mulch using straw, you will need to break open the straw bale and get all the sections loose by shaking it. Once broken up, you can use the straw over the area you want it to be used.
If you want to use your straw mulch to suppress the growth of weeds, the best thing to do is first lay down some newspaper. The newspaper should be as thick as a piece of cardboard, but you can use another barrier that is permeable by weeds if you don’t have any newspaper. After laying down the permeable layer, you will need to place down 2-4 inches of broken up straw over the layer. If you aren’t using a newspaper layer, you may want to add 5-6 inches of straw to reduce weed growth.
A thicker layer of straw will last longer, hopefully for the whole season. While straw used in other scenarios often come with the nitrogen tie up issue, this is not a problem when straw is used as mulch. Rather than nitrogen being denied to the roots of plants already growing, this mulch would only deny nitrogen to small weeds. This once again makes it great for reducing the amount of weeds.
Straw Bale Gardening
What this is: growing plants such as flowers directly from straw bales. The process is the same as hay bale gardening, but poses less of a risk of growing weeds.
How Straw is involved: whole straw bales are used to grow your chosen plants.
Why it’s a good idea: using straw bale gardening saves a lot of space and also is a lot less work than traditional gardening. Using straw to grow your plants means that there is less mess, and helps keep things easy. The use of straw ensures that moisture retention is good, and weeds are less likely to be an issue.
How to do it: there are a number of different methods to go by for this option. You can choose to sow your seeds directly into the straw bale, or wait for it to begin to break down before doing anything. The simplest way to do straw bale gardening is to turn your bale onto its side so that the cut side it up before adding some water. Leave the bale outside for a few weeks so that it starts to break down, then cut out holes the size you need for planting the transplants you want. The size should generally be twice the size, since you shouldn’t be removing the soil from the roots. Make sure you keep your transplant well watered.
When using your straw bales for bale gardening, be sure to keep it moist at all times. You will also be careful to not try to plant too many things into one bale. Generally speaking, one bale is capable of growing two tomato plants or up to three pepper plants.
Add it to Compost
What this is: this is simply adding amounts of straw to the compost you are making to improve the quality of the product.
How Straw is involved: straw is added to the compost in various amounts.
Why it’s a good idea: using straw in your compost is a great use for it, since it is considered to be a “brown”, or carbon source material. Brown materials must be used with “green” materials (e.g. grass clippings or food waste) to create compost that’s balanced. The use of straw in compost also helps air become trapped in the compost, which encourages earthworms to take residence. This improves the decomposition and fertility of the compost itself, making it better to use.
How to do it: the ratio of straw (brown material) should be twice that of grass or food waste (green material), or 2:1. So, when you are making your compost, take note of how much green and brown materials you are adding to the mix. Alternatively, you can use the straw to create a cover for your compost. Doing this will help keep the compost insulated, as long as the layer is several inches thick. When the straw on the top begins to break down, it can simply be added into the compost, so there’s no waste.
Using straw in compost is beneficial as it provides the best environment for things like earthworms. Not only that, but the best ratio for brown to green materials for compost is 2:1, and using straw makes it easy to do that. Other brown materials you may be able to use for compost include the following:
- Dryer lint
- Pine needles
- Fall leaves
- Paper (newspaper, printer paper, etc.)
- Toilet paper
While these other materials are, for the most part, accessible, straw is a great option. However, using a mix of straw and various other brown materials is very beneficial in compost, too.
Straw Bale Benching
What this is: as the name suggests, you can make benches from your straw bales! They can be as big or small as you like.
How Straw is involved: straw bales are used to create the various benches, including the arm rests and the back.
Why it’s a good idea: you can use a number of straw bales to create your benches. The benches can be created for special events or cookouts, and simply taken apart afterwards! Alternatively, the benches can be used as great nap spots, so there’s no loss, really. When they begin to come apart, they can be used for something else listed in this post.
How to do it: simply get your straw bales and place them in an arrangement to make seating. To create a large straw sofa, you can place three bales on the ground, then place another two on either end as the arm rests, so that they are taller than the “cushions”.
Finally, get another three bales and erect them vertically to create the back of the seat. For added security, you can place or stack up some bales behind the back to ensure they don’t fall over.
Having straw bale seating is great for backyard events like cookouts. Sure, they might be a little scratchy, but they get the job done! Why would you want to buy some expensive furniture for it when you already have everything you need? You don’t even need glue or nails to keep everything together.
Since the straw bales are usually pretty heavy, they should be sturdy enough to withstand some butts. Not only that, but you don’t have to worry about them blowing away if things get a little windy. Just make sure you pluck the straw from your hair when you go inside.
What this is: a cold frame is like a mini-greenhouse. While not heated, it can warm up nicely, especially when some manure is used on the floor or the frame. The environment inside a cold frame is beneficial for many plants.
How Straw is involved: straw bales are used to create a perimeter, and the plants will go inside.
Why it’s a good idea: the greenhouse effects are great for plants that are being hardened off, and are good places to plant foods that you would like to use out of season.
How to do it: create a perimeter with straw bales, making sure all ends of the bales touch to seal the area. Plexiglass or an old window should be placed on top of the structure to allow light in, but keep the elements out. Ensure that the glass you use is not UV protected.
A cold frame can be any size you wish, though it’s better to restrict the size to get the best results. Generally, using six bales of straw should be more than enough to make a sizable cold frame for your plants. This size also works well with standard windows and doors. However, feel free to alter the length and height of your cold frame depending on what you intend on growing inside it.
It’s important to note that you may need to keep an eye on plants in cold frames in the warmer months. Temperatures inside these structures can get very high, and plants may suffer for it. The combination of the sun and the warmth created from the structure itself can be too much for plants if it isn’t dealt with. When temperatures get too warm, you should remove all or a part of the window or plexiglass to allow for proper cooling and ventilation. Just remember to cover it back up in the evening to protect the plants from the cooler night temperatures.
Seed Protection and Cover Crop
What this is: straw is broken up and spread over areas where you have freshly planted seeds or seedlings.
How Straw is involved: the straw is broken up and laid over the area.
Why it’s a good idea: when the straw is placed over the area, it protects the seeds and seedlings from birds or anything else that could eat them. Not only that, but this will also help prevent weeds from growing, and it will keep the moisture in the soil to help with germination.
How to do it: once your seeds have been placed in an area, get your straw and break it up. If possible, you should shred the straw to make it easier for the plants to grow. After the straw has been shredded or broken up, simply spread it over the area to let it do its thing.
The straw should be watered down before being used to cover seeds. Ensure that the layer is not too thick so that it can choke out the plants. Usually, a layer of straw that is around an inch thick should work well. That way, there is enough light for the plants when they eventually germinate, and the seeds will be well hidden from birds.
Since nitrogen unavailability may be an issue for this method, you may need to give the new seedlings some nitrogen to help them along. This should be done around three weeks after they first start to sprout.
Alternatively, you can leave a straw bale outside for around a month before using it for your seed protection. This way, decomposition will have already started by the time you shred it, so nitrogen will not be an issue.
Soil Splash and Disease Control
What this is: straw mulch is used to protect the plants from soil splash and other diseases
How Straw is involved: the straw is turned into a mulch and used to protect the plants
Why it’s a good idea: soil splash and other diseases can easily affect a plant or a whole crop. By using straw mulch, the probability of these diseases infecting the plants is greatly diminished. As a result, you are protecting your plants from danger.
How to do it: all you need to do is great mulch from the straw bale and place it around the base of the plant as mulch.
There are a number of plant diseases and blights that are transferred from soil to plant. For example, tomato blight is a common issue. This, however, can easily be managed as long as the pathogens in the soul cannot reach the plant.
When it rains, diseases are very likely to be spread, because of the dirt particles constantly being sent into the air, which then will affect plants after coming into contact with their lower leaves.
This method can also effectively reduce the risk of plants experiencing blossom end rot. While this is a calcium deficiency issue, it is more specifically an issue that relates to calcium transfer.
It is more likely to happen when the moisture content in the soil is not consistent. So, when the mulch is laid down on the ground, it helps keep the soil moist, which then results in this issue being less likely to occur.
Winter Crop Storage
What this is: a way of storing vegetables such as potatoes so that they last a long time.
How Straw is involved: the straw is placed at the bottom of the pail and on top to keep the produce insulated and away from potentially harmful or destructive elements.
Why it’s a good idea: this method of storing vegetables will make them last much longer, so it is great if you have a surplus of food and need to store it for a lengthy period of time.
How to do it: get a galvanized garbage pail and dig a hole in the ground in an area that drains well. Make sure the hole is deep enough for the whole pail to be inside, with only 3-4 inches left above the surface.
Get straw and use it to line the bottom of the pail – this should be about an inch thick. Fill the pail with the crop as tightly as possible (in order to reduce airspace inside), then cover the pail. On top, add a layer of straw. This should be at least a foot thick, but can be more.
Finally, place a plastic covering then a weight such as an old rug over the straw to provide more insulation. Make sure to create a runoff drain with the soil around the mount so that water does not become an issue.
A second option can also be tried. For this, a storage mount will be created above ground in a place like your garden. This option is a good choice if there are water or drainage issues during the winter, as this will keep those products dry.
To make this mound, all you need to do is place a very thick straw layer on the ground. On top of the straw, pile up the crops you want to store, then add more straw on top. Finally, a thick layer of soil should be added on top to cover the entire mound.
When you want to take something out of the mount, however, you would need to get all the produce. For this reason, it is recommended to make several small mounds. Otherwise, all the food you’ve stored will need to be stored inside once you have accessed the mound.
What this is: a straw bale compost bin can act as the wall around the compost to keep it contained. When the straw begins to decompose itself, you can simply make a new wall, forever adding to the compost.
How Straw is involved: straw bales are used to create a perimeter wall to contain the compost. These bales will eventually become part of the compost as they start to break down and get replaced by new straw bale walls.
Why it’s a good idea: this creates a cycle of compost and containment. You don’t need to worry about using plastics or metals to contain the compost you want to use. Not only that, but you can also make the bin larger at any point.
How to do it: get your straw bales, and create a square or rectangle as large as you want. First, put in three sides of the shape, leaving the final side open for access. You can make the structure two or three bales high if you wish, though two is a good starting point.
The size of the compost bin you want should be determined by how much waste you have to put in it. It can always be made larger in the future. When stacking bales, make sure that the bales are staggered so that all the weight is not on one single bale on the ground.
Making a compost bin out of straw bales is a great way of recycling the straw. It will initially be the walls of the bin, and can either become part of the compost, or used elsewhere in the garden.
Since a compost bin can have many benefits, using a product like straw bales is basically the perfect barrier to use for them. It’s a great way of avoiding the use of artificial materials that you may not want to use in your gardening.
What this is: anything you want to use it for! A popular use for the strings from straw bales is for fixing random items or tying plants to poles to give them support. However, you can use them for anything you like.
How Straw is involved: not the straw itself, but the wrong that is used to keep straw bales together
Why it’s a good idea: the string from the bales is the only part of the product that won’t break down like everything else. As such, the best thing you can do is find as many uses for the string as possible.
How to do it: the string can be used to tie plants to poles to give them support, or to simply tie things together. You can use string to keep smaller bale sections together, or to make your own little fences.
When it comes to reusing the straw bale strings, there are no real limits. While you might not have any need or use for the strings when you get the bales, you will always find a use for them later. Stock up on these so that you have plenty to use when the time finally comes to use them.
Walkways and Paths
What this is: walkways and paths make getting around your garden a lot easier. If you have a larger garden and enjoy planting vegetables and fruit, having these walkways between the plants ensures that you won’t be walking on mud while you’re out enjoying yourself.
How Straw is involved: the broken up straw is laid down on the ground to make these paths in the garden or other areas.
Why it’s a good idea: no one likes walking around in the mud, or leaning down onto it while working in the garden. Having straw paths will keep you clean while also reducing the possibility of having to deal with weeds. These types of paths are easy to freshen up with new straw, and once the old straw begins to break down, it can be used for another purpose. Not only that, but having paths of straw between plants will help protect the roots from water and allow the soil to retain more moisture.
How to do it: break up bales of straw and simply place the straw where you want your path to be. Try to lay the straw out so that it’s around 3-inches thick so that the path lasts.
As the straw settles, it will become more compact. You may want to add some water to the straw if you are going to be placing your path down when it’s a little windy. This will help keep the straw in place rather than being blown away.
For the best results, you should till the area where you would like your straw path to be. This will prevent the grass from growing through the straw. It isn’t necessary, though, and you can still get read results from not doing this.
If you notice that some weeds or grass grows through the straw, you can deal with them by spraying them with a weed killer solution made from vinegar or baking soda.
Alternatively, you can use newspaper or cardboard to line the walkway before placing the straw down. If you do this, you will need to remember to add a fresh lining of cardboard or newspaper before adding the straw. This is because the cardboard will gradually decompose over time.
What this is: the straw will be used to help seeds germinate.
How Straw is involved: the straw is used to cover the seeds that you sow to help with germination.
Why it’s a good idea: some seeds are notoriously difficult to germinate compared to others. This is especially the case when the local birds like to steal the seeds the moment they’re put down. By using straw, the seeds are concealed and difficult to get to. Not only that, but the addition of the straw will help keep the soil moist, which is essential when germinating.
How to do it: once the seeds you want to grow have been placed on the ground to germinate, you can either cover them with a thick or thin layer of straw.
A thick layer of straw, which is typically about 4-inches thick, will help protect the seeds from birds while also keeping the soil moist. However, this can be a dangerous option if you don’t check your garden every day.
It’s incredibly easy for the tiny sprouted plants to become smothered by the straw. Because of this, when using thick layers of straw, the seeds should be checked daily. Once half the seeds have started germinating, the straw should be removed.
If you decide to use a thin layer of straw (about 1-inch thick), there is a lot more wiggle-room. This thin layer of straw will not smother your plants, so you can afford to leave them unchecked for a few days. For this option, you can also use this straw as a mulch.
Once the plants have grown to be around twice the height of the straw, more straw can be added to reduce the possibility of weeds being an issue.
What this is: straw can be used instead of soil for hill potatoes. The process involved piling up straw on top of the potatoes as they continue to grow.
How Straw is involved: straw is used instead of soil when the time comes to hill or cover the potatoes as the plant grow
Why it’s a good idea: if you have straw to use, this is a great use for it. Not only us is great for using products you can’t use elsewhere, but it also prevents weeds from being an issue while the plant is growing
How to do it: start by planting the potatoes as you usually would in the ground. Wait for the potato plants to grow anywhere between 6-8 inches tall, then hill them. Do this by piling loose straw on top of the plant until only 2-3 inches of the plant is showing.
This is what you could do if you were hilling potatoes with soil, too. You will need to repeat this process as the plant continues to grow. Realistically, you will probably have to repeat the process at least two more times, though you will need to judge this by how much your plants are growing.
Be sure to keep an eye on your potato plants as they grow. If you notice even a tiny bit of potato showing through the straw, cover it.
Any skin that is exposed to light will turn green, which will make the potato toxic. For this reason, you should check your plants every day to make sure that the potatoes are kept in complete darkness.
Once the tops of the plants die back and turn brown, you can dig your potatoes up. This will result in potatoes that are almost completely dirt-free. These potatoes can now be eaten and enjoyed after all that hard work!
Pepper Heat Reduction
What this is: straw can be used as mulch for sweet peppers to help them remain sweet rather than turning hot.
How Straw is involved: straw is used as mulch to cover the soil around the pepper plants.
Why it’s a good idea: if you spent money on sweet pepper plants but are getting hot peppers, you’re going to be disappointed! This method is great for making sure that you get the pepper flavors you want rather than accidentally growing hot peppers, which you may not be able to use.
How to do it: break the up straw into a mulch and pack it around pepper plants. The mulch will help the soil keep more moisture while also reducing the possibility of weeds growing. This mulch will also help the soil stay cool, which will help the peppers stay sweet.
This method cannot turn a pepper that had been created to be hot into a sweet pepper. Rather, this mulch is a way of ensuring that the pepper does not ensure the stress of dry and hot soils, which may change the flavor.
Using mulch will only help ensure that sweet peppers do not experience these conditions, which are known to alter their flavor and make them hotter than they should be.
Straw – Where to Get it and What You Should Know
There are a couple of important things to know about straw before you take the leap and buy some. Knowing about things like sourcing and chemicals can make looking for straw either incredibly easy or incredibly difficult. For the most part, however, knowing exactly what it is you need will help you in the long run, even if it does take a little longer to get.
So, when it comes to purchasing straw, you need to have a little patience. Do your research to find out everything you need to know. There’s nothing worse than purchasing a year’s worth of straw, only to find out that it’s full of chemicals with lasting effects.
Where to Get Straw From
The best thing you can do is get straw that is locally sourced from farms. This, however, is not always possible. Sometimes the straw needs to be purchased from larger retailers or online. There should be a number of garden centers or livestock feed stores that should sell straw, though.
If you are able to, you should try to get locally sourced straw. Not only should this help to keep costs down, but you are more likely to know exactly what chemicals, if any, are used on the straw. When working through large retailers, conversations can change a lot, as the truth gets distorted.
What You Need to Know About the Straw You Use
It’s important to try and get straw that has not been in contact with herbicides or pesticides. Particularly Pyridine-based herbicides, which can have residual effects that last a long time. Residual herbicide can be very damaging, especially if you aren’t aware that it’s even there.
The best way to avoid straw with any of these harmful chemicals is by finding out from the source. This is likely to be very difficult if you’re working through larger retailers, however.
If you check online, there should be information regarding what products and chemicals were used.
This will not always be possible, though. In the case where you are unable to find out exactly what chemicals have been used on the straw you want to buy, it’s safer to avoid it. The safest option would be to go with straw that is labeled “organic”, as this should not contain any chemicals.
It’s important to note that just because straw has been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides while it was a crop, does not mean that it is unsafe.
The majority of pesticides and herbicides do not have a long term impact. As such, they are perfectly safe to use, and will not have any effect on the plants that you are trying to grow at home.
Remember to Reuse Your Straw As Much As Possible
Straw can be reused until it has completely degraded and is in the ground. That means that you can use it for a long time, and for many things. From making straw sofas and outdoor seating to walkways, compost bins, cold frames, and winter crop storage, there are no limits.
As long as you take the time to make use of all the straw you make or buy, you can work with it so much.
It is an incredibly cost-effective product, and you won’t run out of uses for it any time soon. The fact that it is 100% recyclable and will always turn into something useful is amazing, too.
Straw is a product that helps you help yourself, even if you don’t want to sit on it. If you live in a colder climate, be sure to use it to insulate the ground for your seedlings or protect them from the elements.
Even in a sunny climate, straw is super helpful. From being used to create barriers and shadows to keeping the ground cool, it is amazing. If you have been thinking about all the ways to use straw, you’ve got your list!
Straw is one of the most versatile products you can make or buy. It is something that will always give back in the best way, making the ground more fertile and easier to use. For farmers and gardeners, straw is a resource with endless uses, even if you might not think so at first glance.
If you found this article helpful, let us know! If you are planning on trying out some of the various uses of straw any time soon, why not let us know how it went?
We’d love to hear about your experiences and success stories with straw. Good luck!