odd tasks

today i went out and rinsed off the plants. we'd had a pretty heavy downpour the other day and the plants were almost all covered in dirt (both the tops and bottoms of the leaves). some of the seedlings looked like little dirt pegs sticking out of the ground. the sun is out now and a nice breeze has come along. by looking around you wouldn't think that anything had happened.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

The co-op here finally got some straw in this week and Tuesday 4 bales followed me home . Yesterday I had a little job to do , but today ... there are now 3 bakes of straw spread as a weed deterrent mulch around and between the plants . My biggest problem is the grass , don't know what kind it is but it sure will take over if I let it . A nice thick layer of straw smothers it out , makes life much easier for me . The only concern I have is that I wonder if the decomposing straw has an effect on the nitrogen in the soil ... and if I need to use a nitrogen supplement to balance that .
--
Snag



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On 7/2/2015 3:26 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

What type of straw Terry? If you want to look it up insert this phrase into a Google search: the effect of decomposing (type) straw on soil nitrogen
Lots of info on the net about your problem but is better seen if you know the variety of straw.
I've used rice hulls, rice straw, oak leaves, pine needles, etc. as mulch and a weed deterrent and all of them used up a significant amount of available nitrogen. I always added a a nice amount of N to the soil and mulch.
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Terry Coombs wrote: ...

if it isn't mixed in with the soil it should not need that much as only the soil interface is the area in contact with the soil that is taking nitrogen during decomposition. usually rainfall has some nitrogen in it so i never bother to supplement nitrogen as the end result after decomposition returns any nitrogen anyways.
why make it decompose faster? :) that's like adding fertilizer to a lawn to make it grow grass faster so you can mow more often...
the other thing to consider is that the soil carbon is needed for most places, so adding nitrogen just burns through the soil carbon faster. the warmer and wetter the climate the faster it goes. the better slow carbon is held in the soil longer is stuff like charcoal or biochar.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

I'm OK then , the straw (probably fall wheat this early) is just laid on top . Some areas I pulled the grass first , others I just piled the straw on top of the grass . The areas where I pulled the grass , I piled the stuff on top of the straw , if this stuff touches dirt it will re-root . The area where i planted the vine stuff - squashes and melons - is a different matter . Last summer I tried to grow potatoes in this area by using cages that I filled with straw as the vine grew - miserable failure . After I pulled the tater plants I tilled that mostly-decomposed straw into the soil . I might need a nitrogen supplement in that area , the plants are all kind of yellowed a little . It's also the last part to get mulched , so I can do that before I cover it with straw . I'll slip by the nursery today while I'm in town and see what Melissa thinks . She's pretty sharp , hasn't steered me wrong yet .
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