Canola Straw as Mulch?

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Danux
Canada
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Canola Straw as Mulch?

Post by Danux »

Has anyone used canola straw as a garden mulch? Was thinking about starting a garden bed, to be used in a couple of years, looks like I have access to canola straw at a decent price, but am not sure that it is the same nutritional value as wheat straw, or if it would decompose as readily?

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Danux
Canada
Posts: 210
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:55 am

Re: Canola Straw as Mulch?

Post by Danux »

So a bit of internet browsing seems to indicate that canola straw *can* be used as decomposing material for enriching soil, but the nitrogen content is lower than for other types of straw. Wheat seems to be the best, quick to rot and (relatively) high in nitrogen, then pea straw (I think), then oats & hay, then canola, then flax. Still not sure if canola stems would make a suitable mulch cover, perhaps it should be shredded into finer pieces before being cast down?

Anyway, still interested in hearing from anyone who has already tried using canola straw.

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farmgal
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Re: Canola Straw as Mulch?

Post by farmgal »

Just back on the group, my stupid computer would not let me load for a while.. and I still do not know why.. but happy to have it working again.

I have never used it, however I do know its used as livestock bedding and then used the gardens.. if you can get it, just it.. if you are worried about nitrogen.. either put some clover in there if you want to go permaculture, or save some #1, mixing fresh clean (no meds) with 1 to 10 parts water and water it down once a month and you are good..
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Danux
Canada
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Re: Canola Straw as Mulch?

Post by Danux »

Thanks Farmgal. I got my hands on some wheat straw, ultimately, so I am good for now, but canola straw is readily available and inexpensive, so perhaps I'll use it as my next few layers.

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scrounger
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Re: Canola Straw as Mulch?

Post by scrounger »

I recall reading an article a few years back on using canola straw as cattle feed. Apparently the cows love it.
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Danux
Canada
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Re: Canola Straw as Mulch?

Post by Danux »

I've read something similar, regarding all straw types. Some, the cows won't eat, until there is nothing else to eat, but once they acquire a taste for it, gobble it down willingly. I think my biggest concern about using canola straw as mulch, is the size of the straw - some of it is as thick as a tree. It seems to me, in order to get it to decompose at a decent rate of speed, I'd have to shred it all first. I dunno, maybe it would just take more of it, to be as effective as wheat/barley/hay straw. Another thought I had, was that if canola wasn't appealing to wildlife, it might make a better choice for protecting trees, be another form of dissuasion for an animal to take an interest in a precious leaf hanging from a fruit tree.

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scrounger
Canada
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Re: Canola Straw as Mulch?

Post by scrounger »

FWIW a local guy is advertising canola straw for sale as mulch. Here is his blurb.
Canola Straw is a versatile mulch’s that is light in colour and reflects the heat. Being a straw it doesn’t have seeds or clump up, allowing water to easily flow through to the soil. The straw will break down quicker than tree mulch adding valuable organic material to your soil. As Canola is much courser straw it breaks down slower than others. (should get over 12 months benefit)

Doesn't sound like you would have much to worry about if you were letting it go for 2 years. Just plant into whatever is left.
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Danux
Canada
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Re: Canola Straw as Mulch?

Post by Danux »

Thanks scrounger, that seems to jive with what I've been reading. I'm looking for decomposition for the first couple of years, looking to enrich the soil, so a finer straw is probably the better choice there, but canola sounds like a good option when my primary concern is retaining moisture. The fact that its cheaper than wheat/barley/hay, and lasts longer, is also good - less work over time.

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farmgal
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Re: Canola Straw as Mulch?

Post by farmgal »

I hope you lets us know how it goes if you use it.. Its not something I can find right now where I live but I like first hand knowledge and it is available in a lot of other parts of Canada for sure.

I get both long wheat and chopped wheat and I find the chopped is fast to be worked down but the long can last me two or three years as mulch cover..
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