I found a source for straw in East Sac where you can get both straw bales and bagged straw. The store is called Western Feed and Pet Supply and if you ask for the bagged straw they bag it for you right there and then. Isn’t the reusable bag it comes in cute?
For Halloween I bought hay bales for seating for a pumpkin carving party we hosted. I thought that I could use the bales for mulch around the garden afterwards. Unfortunately I bought hay and not straw. Hay has seeds in it. Straw does not. Even though I never put the hay on my garden, just transporting them to the backyard created a pathway of seeds around my garden. Wind carried seeds pretty far too. And then a gang of squirrels attacked the hay bales when they sprouted after a rain. I am still plucking out rogue hay plants sprouting up everywhere. Fortunately they are very easy to pull out but it sure is a pain.
Lesson learned. Buy straw.
If you are trying to be water-wise during this California drought, mulch is a great way to conserve water because it retains water moisture and helps moderate soil temperatures. Mulching lessens water evaporation from the soil, reducing the need to water. Not only that but it also helps keep down weeds. For plants like strawberries, melons and squashes, straw mulch also provides for a clean surface on which the fruit can lay. Also, as the mulch breaks down over time, it gives back to your soil.
I have never used straw as a mulch before so I am excited to see how my garden responds. I hope that I can keep my plants well hydrated while using as little water as I can this summer. Sacramento summer sun can be scorching so I hope my vegetables will be cozy in their mulch beds. I am also curious to see if straw will help keep slugs and snails away. I haven’t read anything about this so I will be on the look out for slug trails where I have mulched with straw.