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First time mulcher and gardener, direct sow question.

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This is my first time gardening. I live in Portland, Oregon.

I made a mandala style bed and then put straw on top of it. Now I am wondering if it was a mistake to put straw on it. The reason I did was to suppress weeds and grass from returning from where I dug and to hopefully break down and retain water and add matter.

I was planning on direct sowing most of my vegetables and maybe buying starts. I also was going to throw in some wildflower seeds.

Should I remove the straw until the plants have sprouted a few inches above mulch level then put the straw back down?

I notice when I leave cardboard on the ground for a day, I will find slugs on the bottom it. Will they move into my garden bed because of the mulch?

I am including pictures to give you an idea of what I have done this month and what it looks like.

Any questions or advice is much appreciated, and if there is already a good thread on this I am sorry for reposting.
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Posts: 48
Location: NC, Zone 7
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Joshua, great looking garden bed! Slugs will find there way to your garden with or without the hay mulch. They decimate crops for some and are not really a problem for others. If they do become a problem you can sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants they are going after. It's a natural product that acts like tiny shards of glass against their soft bodies. I have found that they go after some plants more that others but they are not a huge issue for is so we don't bother doing anything. This being your first season you will learn a lot about your site specific challenges. Ask your neighbors that garden what varieties they plant and what pests they deal with. Even if they are traditional chemical farmers there is a lot of knowledge there you can glean off of. Plant as many different varieties as your budget will allow this year so next year you will have a good group of plants that like your environment to work with. You have gotten off to a great start and I wish you well.
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