Getting the job done with Straw!
Whether throwing a party or setting up for special events, it sometimes becomes desired or required to cover the ground so as to lessen the impact of the ground and create a more appealing look to where the event is to take place. Straw is a great cover for lawns, dirt, or muddy situations. In this day of limited resources and the desire by many to live “earth-friendly” and sustainably, a good choice to temporarily cover ground is good old straw.
Straw is relatively inexpensive compared to other ground cover options such as turf protection mats, or temporary flooring. It can be easily formed, contoured, built up a little more here or there, into a design that will fit your individual needs, and better yet you don’t have to return it when all your guests have gone home. Unlike some other temporary ground cover, straw can be used year-round and doesn’t mind getting wet.
Straw is a renewable resource, usually the stalk of wheat that has been harvested, and is usually readily available in most areas. Straw can be used for many applications by almost anyone (short of a person with extreme allergies to grasses). Straw is great for temporary ground cover, animal bedding, mulch in the garden, protecting plants in Winter that are subject to freezing, or an addition to a compost pile.
Where to buy Straw?
Depending on where a person lives, whether it is in the city, rural, or the country, straw is usually available. I live in a smaller city where there are farms just outside of town. The choices I have are Walmart, Home Depot, or the farm supply store which I typically will shop because it’s fun to see all the new gardening supplies/tools. With a quick look on the internet, you should have no problem finding straw in your locality.
When purchasing straw, there two sizes of bales to consider a two-string (the string holds it together) or a three-string. The two string bale is typically 14” X 18” X 36” in dimension and will weigh approximately forty-five pounds. The string bale is approximately 16” X 24” X 48” and weighs around eighty pounds.
The cost of a bale of straw will vary from region to region, but you can expect a bale to run anywhere from $5 to $10 apiece.
How to Clean up Straw?
Depending on your situation,it is usually an easy clean-up. If the straw is on the lawn, simply get the lawn rake and go about it as you would leaves. Some lawn and garden bags would be useful, as would a pair of garden gloves.If the straw is the straw is on dirt, or mud, it won’t take the elements long to break it down and if you have the option of leaving it, I would as it won’t hurt anything.
I think the Ideal way to rid yourself of your used straw is to compost it, maybe use it a mulch in the garden or flower beds, or possibly offer it to the neighbor that you know gardens, etc. In some localities, they pick up yard waste.
A Word of Caution:
Make sure to buy straw, and not “hay,” hay is for horses to eat, and straw to lie down in. I once covered the garden with hay, and the next year I had “Canadian Thistle” growing in the garden, I never did get rid of it as the horizontal roots grow fifteen feet or more, and have vegetative buds on them which can give you more of a headache.
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