Is anyone else having this problem? I usually give all my garden beds a good thick coat of straw in the fall, but this year there is basically no straw available around here.
This is a rural area, and many farmers grow extra hay for sale--though not nearly as many this year as usual and it's pretty expensive--but nobody sells straw. The straw bales usually sold at the feed stores and elsewhere are all shipped in, and this year they just weren't. I often get straw bales for little to nothing from obliging store managers when they take down their fall displays, but this year nobody had straw bales in their displays--they couldn't get them either. A family that runs a year-round fruit and vegetable stand on the outskirts of town did have a few bales for sale--at $10 each!!! (Last year I thought the going price around here of $4 each was outrageous....)
So I've been gathering up my leaves to use instead--no point begging the neighbors for theirs though. They are all gardeners too, in the same fix, and need their leaves for their own gardens. I've been mixing some cut grass with my leaves to make them go further, but I don't want something that will turn into a heavy mat after the first snow.
So it looks like I will have to settle for a thinner covering than usual for my garden beds this year. I'm at a loss for any other good substitutes to straw. Might have to start growing my own grain in future.....
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