More Mulch!

is almost ( not always) a good thing. But straw isn’t always the best mulch to use.

 It’s ideal for tomatoes 

tomato seedling mulched with straw

 These tomato babies have their bases covered in more ways than one.  

Strawberries, on the other hand, do better when mulched with pine needles, aka pine straw. Pine needles are slightly acid, which strawberries like, and they’re more inclined to lie flat. This is important for very short fruit plants. Fluffy oat and rye straw tend to shade low leaves, and leaves need sun to make sweetness.

pine needle mulch for strawberries

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3 Comments »

  • cindy lang Said,

    What are the thousands of small white moths in my gardens and yard ? i think they are moths ? i fear for what they may be and do! sorry…this has nothing at all to do with straw but I don’t know where and or how to pose my comments and questions!
    thank you so much.

  • leslie Said,

    Hi Cindy,

    Welcome and don’t worry – until there’s a formal Q&A section the place to ask questions is the comment section of whatever post you happen to be reading when the question occurs to you.

    Not that I’ll always know the answer, but when I don’t somebody else might. ( see the recent mystery azalea posts for how it works).

    In this case, I have a question for you: do the little white moths have 4 or 5 black dots on their wings? If so, they’re white cabbage butterflies, imported to this continent in the mid 19th century, merrily spreading ever since, and probably the most common little white butterfly thanks to a lot of food sources. They can (and do) eat any crucifer they can get their mouths on.

    As usual with butterflies and moths, it’s the caterpillars what does the damage and as usual you can protect valued crops like broccoli, cabbage, kale and kohlrabi – more people should grow kohlrabi! – with Bt. If necessary, use the same to protect alyssum, nasturtiums and lettuce ( which maddeningly is not a crucifer but they seem to be branching out). Fortunately, they’re very fond of cruciferous weeds, so even a yard full of them isn’t necessarily anything to get too het up about.

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