starting new vege beds

Sorry added this as comment b4 didn't know there was a special discussion spot.  I am just starting up a new vege patch and have noticed my neighbours have haylage they are not using.  Do you think this would be ok to add in to my new plots perhaps at the bottom with some fertiliser then soil and compost.

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  • Hello Tracey 

    I too, have started some new beds and have used hay as a mulch. I heard about Ruth Stouts system of mulching with about 10cm of hay as a way to suppress weeds and lock in moisture. I did some research into the benefits of pea straw vs straw vs hay. In terms of a mulch that doesn't sprout lots of grass seed... the straws are definitely better... however are far more expensive. So I decided to give the hay a chance, as had a large area that needed covering. Have tried two methods: a thick 10cm layer and a thin layer that I've let my hens scratch through to eat the grass seeds. So far the results: the thick layer isn't working as it does in America... I think due to our wetter climate and so the grass seeds have managed to sprout in the top layer of the compressed hay. But am overcoming this by raking the top layer each week. The other method seems to be working better, as the hens have eaten most of the seeds. But all in all... with regards to your new beds... I've found the use of hay to dramatically help improve my soil. Since laying a layer of manure and then the hay... it's stared to break down and has quickly formed a nutrient rich, moisture retaining layer that is now full of earthworms - where before it was dry, barren soil. So I would definitely recommend putting a layer of hay to improve your soil content... but be sure to cover it well with your soil and compost... to prevent the sprouting of unwanted grass seeds. Sorry that's a bit of a ramble. Hope that helps :) Happy gardening! :) 

    • Thanks for that.  Good idea to let the chooks have a scratch first I'm sure they will love that. Now to negotiate a price.  Heres hoping they will be neighbourly and let me have it cheap.
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