Is there such a thing? I know you’re wondering it, because you’ve all gone pea straw mad! For sure it’s a lovely addition to your soil, but it’s not gold plated, nor magical (as it’s price tag suggests).
If you look out at your garden right now, I’d wager more than a few of you have your own straw on the go. Any crop that’s reached the dry stalk stage is straw and my garden is full of it – echinacea, magenta spreen, buckwheat, corn, cosmos and beans. Cut it up, mix it together and lay it down. Homemade straw.
There are multiple benefits when you grow a soil enhancing greencrop, grain or legume until dry. Peas and broadbeans can both be sown now for a spring food crop, a soil reviver and straw for summer mulching. Wheat, barley, mustard and oats can go in now too. While the crop grows up top, cool stuff happens below. The roots attract a heap of micro biology, stabilise sandy soils and open up clay ones, gather nitrogen and/or nutrients for the next crop and improve drainage and water filtration.
As if all that benefit wasn’t enough, there is the harvest of the straw. A heap of wondrous organic matter to be used as mulch for the next crop, thereby returning the nutrients back to the soil from whence they came, along with a glorious lot of carbon. The cycle is complete.
That, my gardening friends is the gold plated magic you are looking for. A pack of seed. Ten minutes to sow. Soil nirvana.