B1 Intermediate UK 270 Folder Collection
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- In this video,
we're going to be talking about
using grass and hay as
a mulch to grow food.

(hay thumps)
(gentle music)
For the past three years,
we've been using a lot
more cut grass and hay

in our vegetable garden to
help us with growing food.

Now the thing about grass,
especially where we are,

where it's quite a wet climate,
we just get so much of it.
So, it's almost like autumn time,
we have all the autumnal leaves.
It's like the rest of the time,
when it's not winter,
you have so much grass.

And the thing is,
if you've got an abundance
of a particular resource,

than it makes complete
sense to make the most of it

and utilise it to help you out
with what you're trying to do.
So, that's exactly what we're
doing through using grass.

So, if you live in suburbia,
than the likelihood is

that there's gonna be a lot
of people mowing their lawns.

So, all you need to do is ask
them for their law clippings.

And even just volunteer
to pick them up yourself.

Because they are such an
abundant resource around there.

And the thing is you
can get them for free.

And when it comes to mulching,
what you wanna do is place a two inch
or a five to six centimetre layer.
You can make the layer thicker
but that's kind of a
good minimum to aim for.

On our small holding,
we do have a lot of land.
So, that means a lot of grass.
So, at the moment,
we're currently scything our orchard
and that's gonna create
so much hay for us.

Now, there is something about hay
which people like to bring up a lot.
And I saw it in a few comments,
in the growing the potatoes the lazy way.
Where we simply placed
potatoes on the ground

and just covered it with
a thick layer of hay.

And people saying that you're basically
just putting down grass seed.
And that is true.
We have a wildflower hay meadow.
And when we have hay, we like to cut it,
after all the wildflowers have seeded.
And in that case, there
is quite a lot of seed.

But the idea behind mulch
and going towards no dig garden system
is that you're just going to
continue piling it on over the year.
Yes, hay can give you a lot of weeds
and it can give you a lot
of grass to deal with.

But that's basically only
if you take the hay off to leave bare soil
and then all the grass will grow through.
Because the idea, with
adopting a mulch system,

is that over the year,
you're going to continue placing
some more layers of mulch.

And especially for something
quite dense, such as hay.

Especially after it's rained.
It's literally going
to smother the ground.

So, the weeds will find it
very difficult to go through.

And should any weeds
happen to come through,

then it's so easy to pull out by hand.
Or you can simply place another
thick layer over the top.

And gradually, as you build the layers,
the hay at the bottom,
is going to start to break down.
And it's going to release those nutrients.
And as an interesting discussion,
where you're looking at,
should I mulch with straw?
Or should I mulch with hay?
And yeah, straw has its benefits
because you might not get weeds
because they've already
taken the wheat off it.

But the thing about hay is
that usually, especially
from a wildflower hay meadow,

or organically farmed meadow,
there's other things growing,
apart from grass, such as clover.
So, there actually tends to
be more nutrients in hay.

So, if you want fertile soil,
then what I'd recommend
you do is mulch with hay.

And I can speak from experience
because this is the third year
now where we're using hay.

And we haven't seen any
noticeable differences in weeds.

In fact, by mulching more,
we are building more soil.

And we're also weeding less.
So, it's actually saving time.
And if you happen to have a lot of hay
and you want to create
a new area of garden,

then here's a great way
to create a noted garden.

All you need to do is take off
the top two to three inches,
so around six to seven
centimetres of soil,

and you place a really
thick layer of hay on top.

And then, with the soil
that you've taken off,

you put that back onto the hay.
And then, over time, this will break down
and then you can plant into this.
And then, as the plants grow,
then mulch around them with hay.
And if you live in dry climate,
then mulching is a fantastic way
to reduce the need to water.
But it acts as insulation
where it retains moisture within the soil.
So, that's a really good benefit to it.
One thing we did to demonstrate
the effectiveness of growing in hay bales,
was that we kind of copied
the straw bale garden idea.

We planted directly into hay bales
and we found two things.
We found if you left a hay bale out
for a whole grain season,
and then planted the next season,
this would be the most
effective thing to do.

And the second thing is,
we didn't have to weed
the squash plants once.

It was so simple.
It was putting out a bale of hay,
leaving it there for a year,
and then the following grain season,
putting in a bit of compost,
planting the plant, and then leaving it.
And all we had to do was harvest
it at the end of the year.

And that's a prime example
that you can easily grow a lot of food
for hardly enough effort at all.
I hope this video has inspired you a bit
and answered your other questions
to do with growing food using
grass and hay as a mulch.

And I do appreciate that some of you
may not have enough
access to these materials.

So, a bit later on in the year,
I'm going to go out to my local community
and my local town,
and I'm going to show you
all kind of different materials
that you can collect
from shops and businesses

which you can use as a mulch instead.
And if you have any further
questions or comments,

regarding grain food and mulch,
then don't hesitate to ask me,
down below in the comments section.
And I look forward to seeing
you again soon, good bye.

(gentle music)
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Using Hay and Grass as Mulch to Grow Food

270 Folder Collection
Amy.Lin published on March 30, 2018
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