What is Straw
Straw is grown from cereal grains such as rye or wheat. It is cut and dried in the spring, then pressed into 50-pound bales. The bales measure 36″ x 18″ x 18″. It appears more shiny and golden than hay. It’s commonly used for animal bedding, mulch, compost or cover for newly seeded grass.
Straw is better than hay for garden mulch because it does not contain seeds that germinate. That makes it a good candidate for small-space gardening. Pioneered by Joel Karsteen, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, straw bale gardening rolls container gardening and raised bed gardening into one. The straw bales serve as containers as well as the growing medium. You simply plant in the bales. Time and nature gradually breaks down the straw into a fine mulch.
Baldwin Farm uses straw extensively in the fall with our pumpkins, gourds, corn shocks and mums for decoration. We also recommend placing them around an open fire for seating and great atmosphere at barbecues and other outdoor festivities.
What is Hay
Hay is generally a mixture of grasses, sometimes containing clover or alfalfa. At Baldwin Farms, our mixed grass hay contains fescue, orchard grass and timothy. It is also likely to have red clover in the mix, depending on which hay field we bale. Some farmers “roll” hay into large 5-6 foot tall rolls. We bale all our hay into the standard 50-pound bales that measure 36″ x 18″ x 18,” which can be carried by hand.
We usually begin hay harvest in late May or June, cutting the different fields as they are ready and time permits. Sometimes we sell hay for a reduced rate directly “from the field.”
Hay is commonly used for animal forage (feed). Our hay is suitable for many types of animals, including horses, goats, sheep and cows.