You Bet Your Garden

What’s the difference between straw and hay?


Listen to the full show:

What’s the difference between straw and hay? Mike McGrath reveals how one makes a nice mulch and the other is seed for un-intentional grain growers. Plus: Mike speaks with Laura Palmer, Director of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program. The Garden Conservancy allows access to Private gardens that would not otherwise be seen by the public.


Questions of the Week:

“Mike knows a lot, and I love the show (I listen on KSFC; 91.9 FM), but on a recent program he referred to hay and straw as if they were interchangeable. Straw is a stalk, usually a waste product of wheat, that’s used as bedding for barnyard animals. Hay—typically alfalfa or a grass—is used as animal feed.”

— Mary Beth in Spokane (Washington)

“It’s always a struggle to try and work our clay soil. I read an article about how this problem could be solved by using straw bales instead of my having to schlep bags of manure, peat moss, etc. to grow my tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers; but my husband disagrees. What’s your opinion?”

— Eileen in Langhorne, PA

Learn the difference between straw and hay? »


Highlights from show for May 10, 2014:

Special guest: Laura Palmer

Mike spoke with Laura Palmer, Director of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program. The Open Day’s Program allows the public access to private gardens on select days throughout the summer and fall. The proceeds help to fund a public garden in need. This is a truly exclusive look at some of the best gardens all around the country including one in Bucks County, PA. Find a participating garden near you.



Scaring birds AWAY from your window

Christy, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma just moved with her husband into a new house, but once their first spring came they had a very curious Blue Jay trying to get into their bedroom window. But unlike a bird who might be attracted by their reflection it really seemed to Christy that this female Blue Jay was trying to get inside. Mike immediately recommends a great way to deter this unwanted visitor. “There is a product out there called Bird Scare Flash Tape and it’s a roll of tape quite like reel to reel tape recorder tape, but it’s made so it reflects light crazily and whistles in the wind and snaps and it’s highly effective at keeping birds away.”


How to get your lawn off drugs

Dave in Dayton, Ohio is trying to move away from using chemicals to control weeds in his lawn, but doesn’t know how to get rid of dandelions and control ivy and vinca that has run wild. Mike reminds Dave, “You know just because you got your lawn off drugs, which is a great thing, doesn’t mean it doesn’t need proper care.” Mike quickly realizes that Dave’s been going about this all wrong. He suggests with the proper cutting hight and fertilizing with corn gluten meal in the fall and again in the spring that Dave can have a healthy lawn again. Mike goes further to say that Dave could even buy a flame weeder and have some fun burning the dandelions to the ground. Mike also suggests that he get his soil aerated in the fall to relieve some of the soil compaction that Dave complained about.




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