Straw Composting - Die Weed Seeds Die!

1 Material
We bought a house on an acre of land in Wisconsin that had an old overgrown fenced in garden with grape vines along one side. We tripled it in size last year and have been working on improving the soil. The new 2/3s was more dirt than soil. Do you have dirt or soil in your garden?
1. The straw helps keep the moisture from evaporating rapidly from the ground in the heat.
2. The straw helps keep the weeds at bay by limiting the sun exposure to the weed seeds.
3. When the straw decomposes, it adds nutrients to the soil and invites worms – worms are good!
4. The straw provides a protective barrier for under vegis like squash and pumpkins.
5. The straw covers the dirt, giving a nice bed to kneel on and prevents slipping in the mud after a rain (side benefits).
And... It makes the garden pretty. OK, that's not a good reason, but it adds to my enjoyment of the garden…
Rather than buy the expensive weed hamper, I used and old hamper from when my dd was a teen. Free is good! Repurposing is better than buying new.
I saved the weeds, let them dry out and decompose in the hamper using them as compost in one spot in the garden as an experiment. Last year it did it to a smaller extent and it was fine. I hate the thought of weeds draining my garden of nutrients, so I want to try to keep them in the garden rather than tossing them.
The darker section (photo on the blog) shows the weeds decomposing, the brighter green section is the most recent pulled section of weeds waiting for the sun to dry them out.
Once they are dried out and baked by the sun, I will cover them with straw to prevent weeds growing just like I did in the rest of the garden (and will let you know how it does.)
Here is a good article about using weeds in compost - she does a great job at giving you a step by step:
How to Mulch with Straw?
1. Pull weeds first.
2. Layer straw about 3 or 4 inches deep around the plant but not right up to the stem.
3. Add more as needed. You can see where the straw has started decomposing already in the back rows (It's darker).
For more pictures and more tips on improving your soil, visit Love My DIY Home at the link below:

Suggested materials:

  • Straw   (Local Garden Center)

Val Frania {Love My DIY Home}
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Minna Murphy Minna Murphy on Jul 30, 2016
    What type of straw did you use? I purchased some from my local garden center and it actually introduced weeds into my garden! Now I am working twice as hard weeding than I was before. Any suggestions you have would be helpful.
  • Dl.5660408 Dl.5660408 on Jul 30, 2016
    What's the difference between dirt and soil?
  • Jennie Lee Jennie Lee on Jul 31, 2016
    How do you avoid planting weeds from the seeds of the weeds you made into compost, when you use the compost?


Join the conversation

3 of 24 comments
  • Ker2227175 Ker2227175 on Sep 08, 2016
    Val have you ever tried mulch in your garden?
  • I'm happy to announce that using the straw was stellar last year - I didn't have to constantly weed the garden and between that and the worm castings I used, I had a great harvest! I just threw down straw for my garden again this year. I wish I'd known this trick for my first three years of gardening! I did get some slugs, but the DE helped protect my plants. The losses due to slugs were minimal and worth not having to weed.