Midseason Garden Update: Mulching with Straw and Newspaper

Strawmulch

For the first time we decided to mulch the pathways of our garden to make managing the weeds easier. We should have done this long ago. The technique is to put down a thick layer of newspapers and cover it with straw. It should kill whatever is growing in the path and for awhile keep new growth from popping up. Be sure to use straw, not hay. Hay is full of seeds.

Beware that wood chips, pine straw and other materials can change the acidity of the soil and if they get mixed in can "fix" the nitrogen in the soil, making it unavailable to the growing plants. This can be an issue with large amounts of non decomposed straw that get mixed in to the soil too, but to a lesser extent.