|Straw mulch, May 31|
I have a new problem—living mulch—in the Tomato Patch, and I hope you will tell me how you think I can solve the problem.
I mulched most of my rows of tomato transplants in my usual way—sheets of newspaper covered with a thin layer of straw. About a third of my plants are mulched just with straw because I ran out of newspaper.
Most years I discover one or two volunteer wheat plants—or maybe they’re barley—in late June or July—from seeds that hitch-hiked in with the straw. I’ve always pulled those few volunteers without a thought.
|‘Living mulch,’ June 14|
This year, however, I have hundreds—no, thousands—of volunteer grain plants—weeds, if you will. Tomato Patch looks like a newly seeded lawn sprouting in the springtime. I think some farmer must have harvested his grain before it was fully ripe and much of the grain ended up in bales of straw for sale at a local farm-supply store instead of in a bag of flour or chicken feed.
What should I do? I can easily hoe the volunteers at the edges of the rows, but how should I attack the living mulch in my rows of tomato plants? It’s growing on top of the newspaper in places and directly in the garden soil where I hadn’t used newspaper.
Help! If you have a suggestion, please post a Comment—soon.
I’ll let you know later how I solve this baleful problem—if I do indeed.