Uses for Straw in the Garden


Straw is an agricultural by-product and often viewed by many as a waste material. However there is a growing understanding that it is a material that can be put to good use. As more and more people realise the importance of switching to a more sustainable way of life, awareness is growing that we should all make the most of the renewable, natural resources at our disposal. Straw can be used in many ways – but in this article, we will take a look at some of the uses for straw in the garden:

straw mulchMulching With Straw

As a natural, biodegradable, organic and insulative material, straw is ideal for use as mulch around a range of garden plants. Of course, strawberries (hence the name) are traditionally mulched with straw, to keep the fruits off the soil surface. However, it can also be valuable to mulch a wide range of other plants with straw. Straw can help keep plant roots safe from frost in winter, and extreme, drying heat in summer. It is good for helping to retain soil moisture, and can also help, when spread thickly, to keep weeds down.

straw bale garden bedStraw Bale Beds

Straw, if on beds or in a compost heap, will decompose over time and add structure and fertility to the soil. Interestingly, however, it can not only be used to enrich the soil in your growing areas, but also as an alternative to soil beds. Raised beds can be constructed using straw bales. Fed with a nitrogen rich liquid solution and topped with compost, these can be used to create new growing areas for your garden. Straw bale beds can be extremely productive, and can also give off heat which can prolong the growing season.

straw bale buildingStraw Bale Garden Buildings

As mentioned above, straw has excellent insulative properties that make it useful as a mulch. Those insulative materials are also a reason why straw bales can be useful in insulating a range of garden buildings. Straw bale can be used in garden buildings in a range of ways. Straw bales can be used to create thick, insulative walls inside a wooden frame, or even as a structural element to make the walls of an eco-friendly summerhouse or store. Tightly packed bales have a range of beneficial properties that make for healthy spaces, and are usually combined with other green building materials like sustainable wood and clay.

Straw and straw bales may be readily and cheaply available if you live close to arable farmland, or on a farm. It makes sense to use this eco-friendly, natural material where you can in your garden.