I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
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- gift giving obligations
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Ruth Stout Garden -- Hay has sprouted  RSS feed

 
Jane Walton
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This is my first year incorporating the ruth stout method.  We used several inches of spoiled hay, topped by clean straw.  Now there is a nice bed of hay growing among my tiny vegetables.  Any advice?  What did I do wrong?  Is it because I started in early spring v. fall?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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All that happened was that the straw had residual seeds as did the hay and those sprouted because conditions were right.

My experience with Ruth Stouts methodology is that composting is needed to reduce unwanted seed sprouting in mulches used.
The unwanted sprouts will develop into full blown plants if you want or you can cut them down to the ground, wheat and other grasses won't be killed by doing this but they will become better mineral miners as they struggle to survive from the cutting back.
In the south, many farmers will plant their winter wheat and once it is up around 6 inches they will turn cattle out onto the wheat field for a week, once the cattle are moved, the wheat regrows and does just fine in the spring.

What I do now is to "season" all the straw and hay bales I plan on using in the gardens (we also have animals that eat hay and we use straw for bedding for the hogs, donkey and chickens).
Once the garden bales have aged out in the weather, we can break them open and use them as mulch, most of the seeds have already sprouted by this time so when we spread it as mulch they tend to die.

Redhawk





 
Tobias Ber
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what I am wondering: is there any health-hazard concerning moldy hay/straw?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Tobias, that would be one of the "depends" situations. If you have a sensitivity to molds, then make sure the hay/straw is damp to lessen aerosols coming up from the mulch.
As far as for the plants, there is no concern since the roots will not "suck up" any of the spores or be infected.
In my experience, the presence of these molds seem to help build the soil quite nicely, since they can be a food source for both bacteria and fungi.
It is rare to find pathogenic molds in either hay or straw, usually it is inhabited by slime molds and fungi spores.

Redhawk
 
Tobias Ber
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bryant, thank you. that makes much sense.

did anybody experience increase in slug-damage through mulching with hay, straw etc.?

sorry for sidetracking this thread! i really like to understand this method better.

concerning sprouting hay/straw. what about converting it to sheet-mulch? pulling aside the mulch, laying down cardboard or 5 layers of newspaper and re-applying the mulch?
 
Rebecca Norman
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I was just rereading ruth stout yesterday, and she said if the hay sprouts, just pick up chunks of mulch and flip them over so the roots are up and the sprouts die.

She also had a lot to say about how slugs and other pests seem to vary from year to year, and she would get letters from people who thought their first year mulching had solved their slug problem, or had caused a new slug problem, and she felt it was probably just chance either way. But since then there have been decades and thousands of mulchers, so more experiences have accumulated. I haven't had a slug problem but I'm gardening and mulching in the desert where there aren't any slugs or snails anyway.
 
Della Miller
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Location: Hernando, MS Zone 7b clay soil
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I put my hay on about 7 inches thick.  I havent seen any growth in those areas.  In areas where I mulched it maybe 4 inches thick and some unnamed person ran over my area with a tractor who didnt eat dinner for a week I have had to mulch even deeper.  As a side note, I did combine wood chips on top of the hay once the plants grew up and were strong as an experiment in a couple of areas.  I like this almost better than just hay.

I havent seen slugs, but I do have squash borers.  augh..  all the plants seemed to be very happy in the deep mulched hay.  This is year 1.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Tobias Ber wrote:bryant, thank you. that makes much sense.

did anybody experience increase in slug-damage through mulching with hay, straw etc.?

sorry for sidetracking this thread! i really like to understand this method better.

concerning sprouting hay/straw. what about converting it to sheet-mulch? pulling aside the mulch, laying down cardboard or 5 layers of newspaper and re-applying the mulch?


Thicker mulch seems to deter slugs at least somewhat. Combining other mulch materials might be a key factor to reduction of pests (or not, haven't done any experiments to find out).
One thing I have done was to chop up the long pieces of straw by running them over with a mower for test one and through a chipper for test two. The chipper did a better job of making short pieces than the mower (more consistent in length).

I don't do sheet mulching much on Buzzard's Roost so others will have to chime in on that one.

Redhawk
 
Tobias Ber
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concerning chopping straw: i saw a video where they chopped straw for making cob. they spread it on the floor and used a leaf-vacuum-thing with a bag. seems to work very well.

concerning slugs: mulchings helps to grow strong plants. these are more slog resitant and (often) grow faster than the slugs can eat them.
 
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