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  • On the subject of straw vs hay

On the subject of straw vs hay

On the subject of straw vs hay, hay is material from an herbaceous plant allowed to go to seed, straw is cut before seed is formed. This is something we had to learn the hard way. For our purposes, seeded hay is, without a doubt, undesired in our field since it introduces a plethora of seeds from plants we don’t necessarily want growing in abundance. It’s more useful, and less time consuming, to spread unseeded straw.

We first spread seeded hay that we received from a neighbor for free, thinking, “Hey, it’s free hay, what could go wrong?” Well, about a week into spreading, we decided to stop until we could get unseeded straw because there was way too much seed in the hay to justify using. A couple of us had a feeling that in a few months (the hay was spread in November) we’d be pulling up a lot of grass from those areas. Well, we were right.

The month of march was mostly spent pulling up grass that had seeded from the hay and spreading new straw over the whole crop. Luckily, we have neighbors who cut, store and sell straw and hay for about half the valley, they hooked us up with a great deal on tons of rice straw! With 64 bales in one ton, we should be able to get more than enough to cover the garlic plants!

When we weren’t pulling grass up from the field, we were playing in snow and staying warm by the fireplace! A decent sized winter storm filled our little valley with about a 1 1/2 feet of snow in mid march. Our straw spreading antics were put on hold until the field dried out later in the month, we learned last winter that driving on a wet field is likely to get your equipment stuck!

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