Straw mulch solves a lot of August gardening problems
If you happen to be tired of pulling weeds and it's really hot to be out in the garden, then straw mulch is a good solution. You can buy it in bales from the feed store and put it around plants in the cool of the evening. It breaks off in thick 3" to 5" pieces and can be used that thick which should garuantee no weeds popping up underneath it. Or if you are budget conscious, then you can go to your local store, ask for cardboard boxes and bring them home to break open and lay down between plants to begin with. The cardboard will break down over winter as will the straw that you lay on top of it and provide organic material to compost right in the garden. Putting the straw on top of the mulch makes the rows look much neater also, although cardboard alone would do the job of keeping sun from providing warmth and food for growing weeds.
The other advantage this method has for the August garden is that it reduces the need for water. I always try to soak the garden well before putting down the cardboard and straw mulch. Then light soakings directly on the plants keep them going with much less water. Soaker hose along the row works well now, or drippers to keep the plants moist is good. A light spraying in the evenings directly on the leaves keeps the plants free of dust and provides some nutrients from the water.
In case there's no cardboard boxes available, here's some biodegradable paper to use.
At Easy Gardener 702 WeedBlock Biodegradable Paper Mulch - 3-Foot x 50-Foot
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Posted by Marilyn Renaker at August 17, 2010 9:20 AM