So why do gardeners use mulch, and why does everyone recommend it?
It is without a doubt that using mulch improves a garden and can help plants thrive all year round. Pea straw is a commonly used garden mulch as it has many benefits beyond trapping moisture, these include:
Tips for using Pea Straw
It is important to create a continuous covering with pea straw mulch so that the soil is not visible. Ideally a minimum ground covering of approximately 50 mm - 80 mm is desirable. However, we recommend that you don't hold back, as creating a thick layer is an excellent method to retain soil moisture.
Some plants such as roses, benefit greatly from pea straw but require a small space to be left without mulch around the base of the stem. The high moisture levels created by the mulch can create rot in the rose stem.
When used in conjunction with other materials such as manures and bio-stimulants, a healthy moist garden bed can be easily created and maintained.
When applying pea straw to a garden bed, there is nothing worst than when the wind blows it away the next day, or the birds get into it. To better protect the straw from blowing away, and to help lock in the moisture, a tip is to soak handfuls of peas straw in a wheelbarrow or bucket first. This creates a damp covering that sets atop the garden, reducing the chance of the wind blowing it, and also helps lock in the moisture.
It is not uncommon for pea seeds to be present in pea straw that are left over from harvesting. Once one the garden, some on these may germinate and grow. Some people find this to be an annoyance, however it is these growths that can provide beneficial nutrients to the soil. As peas are a legume plant, during growth, the plant secretes nitrogen back into the soil. This nitrogen is extremely beneficial for the garden and fellow plants. If peas do start to grow, let them grow a little before you remove them to allow them to deposit their nitrogen into the soil. Or if you let them grow to maturity, you can have your own equivalent of snow peas.
Check out the photo gallery to see examples of pea straw in action.