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Community Garden News 

March 10, 2021 March 2021 No Comments

Pea straw, glorious pea straw!

So wonderful to be able to use this mighty mulch again.

Many, many thanks to the generous soul(s) who dropped off 10 bales of this wonderous delicacy at the Community Garden. May you be well rewarded for your generosity! Thanks also to our regular “horse pooh” donors, who quietly drop off bags of this powerful elixir, that brings joy to brassicas, which have just been planted.

This is the first season for some time that we have been able to mulch with pea straw…why is it so fabulous?

  • It mulches the soil enriching it with organic matter.
  • It conditions the soil; being high in nitrogen it breaks down releasing nutrients for the soil and adding organic material to improve the soils structure.
  • It suppresses weeds from taking hold and competing for moisture and nutrients in the soil.
  • As it breaks down it boost the microbiology of the soil ie. All the tiny organisms that help to make essential nutrient available to root growth.

Pea straw can be applied as a layer – about half a finger deep – around seedlings and mature plants. Chopped pea straw is easy to place in a uniform layer around small seedlings without them being covered up and deprived of sunlight.  Used like this it can help preserve moisture levels by preventing soil from drying out. If you are applying a mulch of pea straw on a windy day, it is worth damping the pea straw with a spray of water from a hose or watering can.
           Pea straw can be dug into garden soil to help improve its structure and moisture retention. With sticky clay soil – where particles are exceedingly small – pea straw helps to open spaces between the compressed particles so that water and air can more easily move through the soil. 

On sandy soils where water passes through very quickly and soil can become dry too fast, pea straw helps to hold onto moisture so that it is available to plants for longer. Adding pea straw to garden soil also increases the nutrient content of the soil as it starts to break down.

Such are the great joys of pea straw!

         All this excitement aside… we are currently harvesting prolific amounts of peppers, aubergines and cucumbers. Also, tomatoes and beetroot. New crops of lettuce and bok choy are on their way, and we have brassicas, leeks and chard planted for autumn.  Look out for fresh produce at the Larder in the Medical Centre each Wednesday.

Nga Mihi…especially to our pea straw pals!

Photo caption : Glorious pea straw.  

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