I remember this time of the gardening season. After seed sowing, before the harvest, not quite the calm before the storm.
With a larger space to manage this year (x’s 8!), it’s taking me a little longer to get to that calm before the storm point though. That’s where those first post-sowing weeds are all up and needing pulled and the hay mulch layer down on top to prevent the next round.
We’re picking up 20 square bales on Monday. The 200 we were working on getting fell through so I’m incredibly thankful to be getting these… for free. And only 18 minutes from a town we’re going to anyway to pick up this year’s batch of layer chicks.
Next week, I’m going to lay that hay down, plant some peas that are chitting on a shelf right now, plant some replacement strawberry plants that came in the mail yesterday, re-plant the potatoes, stake & trellis the tomatoes, cucumbers, & beans, and give everything a bit of fertilizer. I’m also hoping to get the chicken coop cleaned out & white washed and clean up the unruly brambles and grape vines. A bit too ambitious, I know.
If I really crack the whip on myself, maybe, after that’s all done, just maybe I’ll be able to enjoy a few calm weeks before the big harvest rush.
Today, I set Hannah to making breakfast and got right to work weeding, more weeding, and mulching. It started to rain and unless there bolts of lightening coming down around me (not a common occurrence at 6:30AM) I wasn’t going in!
I have found that it takes a second layer of hay mulch a few weeks after planting to get good coverage, especially where it was laid down thin so the seedlings could come through. Then you don’t want to weed until they’re getting pretty established so you don’t pull the seedlings up with the baby weeds. It kind of gets away from you at first.
While I was out there, I couldn’t help but think about how the number one warning I get when I discuss hay mulch. You better use straw or else the grass seeds will take over your garden and you’ll never get through weeding them.
Well I’ve busted that myth and you can see it here for yourselves.
On the left is a plot of garlic. It has been hay mulched once in the fall and twice so far this spring.
On the right is a square where I planted carrot seeds and didn’t lay down any mulch. See the carrots? No, me neither. That’s because it’s so overgrown with weeds.
The last time I weeded the garlic was the same day I sowed those carrot seeds. Need I say any more? The photo says it all.
And pretty much the only weeds in the garlic are thistle which was there before and can’t be irradiated by mulching but only 2 years of diligent hand-pulling.
So there you have it. Hay mulching does not necessarily cause an overgrown of weeds any more than not hay mulching.
We also worked on getting the edges of the greenhouse covered with cardboard and hay mulch and then sowed it with oats to try to keep the weeds suppressed until planting time when we’ll turn them under. The melons we planted in there had abysmal germination rates. Which has pretty much been my experience with the company those seeds came from and why I don’t buy mine from there.
In the meanwhile, I couldn’t possibly be more thankful that tomorrow is the Lord’s Day, I can rest from my labors, rejoicing in His wisdom in giving us a day where we can leave our cares of the week behind and focus on worshiping Him!
May yours be just as blessed and restful as I hope mine to be- Good Night!
Do you know what kind of weeds are growing with your carrots? I have them too. I paid my little boys to fill 5 gallon buckets with garden weeds. Fun motivation and an incentive to practice saving. They are easy to pull, but are everywhere. I filled several buckets myself….not at 6:30 am though 🙂
I don’t Sabrina, but like you said, I’m just glad they’re easy to pull! 🙂 There is a book out there I’d really be interested in getting at some point called “Weeds & Why they grow” Wouldn’t that be helpful to understand what the weeds growing in our gardens are trying to tell us?
We always use hay mulch just because it is easily available in our sheds. Sure you can end up with a few weeds, but it certainly is a whole lot less than no mulch at all. I know they say straw mulch is optimal, but we use what we have. I love these pictures in this post. Sleeping Phoebe is so sweet!
Have a wonderful day of rest!
Exactly- why go through all the work of no mulch or sourcing different mulch when you can just use something more readily available. Often that’s not straw, which isn’t cheap after all. Thanks for backing me up though that it doesn’t cause a heavy influx of weeds to grow. I actually think that the more years you use it too the better it gets at preventing weed growth.
With respect, it really depends on the hay. The second cut of hay has little to no seeds, but the first cut is full of them. Also, it depends on how long the hay has been sitting around. If it’s fresh, it will go to weed. If it’s been sitting around several months, it might not. If it’s been around a year, it won’t go to weed at all.
I would recommend anyone interested in starting up with hay mulch not to get this year’s hay anyway because I doubt anyone will be giving it away for free. Put a little time and investigation into it and source old bales or clean up barn floors of the loose stuff (then all the seeds will be left behind anyway).
Naomi from Australia says
I just love the sleeping baby pic. Such an inspiration to me – my 5th is due in 7 weeks and I have big plans for being outside in the garden with her while she is so very young.
Congratulations on the new wee one! I’m so happy for you! I hope you’re feeling well and that though it’s so hard, you’re able to be patient to meet Baby. Those last few weeks and days make you realize just how relative time really is for it stretches on endlessly while you wait 🙂
Aaron Haylock says
hey, Aaron again! I couldn’t help but notice that this was posted the 21st of June, and in ending you mentioned that tomorrow is the “Lord’s Day”.. being that this was posted apperantly on a Saturday, and Saturday is the seventh day of the week. The word of God calls the 7th day of the week His Holy day. Having mentioned that I would also like to mention that we are called to remember His everlasting covenant with us, and this 7th day of the week is for that purpose. This has simply been forgotten by most of the people in our society and around the world. God bless you Mrs.Quinn.