For the first couple of pathways I used up some old straw left last year in a pile at the end of the garden. When that was gone, I got a couple of bales of straw from some we purchased last fall (for mulch and poultry bedding) that we had stored under cover over winter. I used those bales to finish up my mulching in the strawberry patch.
It wasn't very long before I started noticing healthy, green sprouts coming up through the mulch that I had put down last . . . the straw we got last fall. In short order it looked suspiciously like a good stand of oats. (I'm sure the weeds would have been less thick if I'd not mulched at all!)
This is one of the rows where I used the old straw that had been left out in the elements. And had no seeds in it. Lovely. Nice mulch. Good mulch.
Well, sure as shootin', turns out our latest purchased straw did indeed have a lot of oat seeds in it . . . which to my mind, makes it pretty useless as mulch.
Because we're not market gardening this year, I have one corner of the field garden where I didn't plant anything. I kinda planned it this way because this area has always been the poorest soil in the garden and I wanted to try to enrich it this summer by sowing a green manure crop and tilling it in or just mulching it and then plowing that under. But
That's what we've done and now the tarp is ready to be taken off. We'll stack the now seed-free (keep your fingers crossed) bales of straw outside at the end of the garden by the fence line and they'll be ready to use as mulch when we need them. Sounds like a good plan. Hope it works.