Although I decided to go no-dig this year, I had a few flower beds and herb gardens within the veg plot that were not no-dig. For these, I decided to try using Strulch, a branded mulch (organic) made from wheat straw, which claims to deter slugs and reduce weed growth.
Having dug over the soil loosely in the spring and planted my plants (a mixture of herbs, Jerusalem artichokes and ornamentals) I was struggling to keep weeds down as I had a lot of other jobs to do around the garden and not a huge amount of time. Over the course of that first month I was also getting irritated that the Jerusalem artichokes kept shooting only to be eaten by slugs, and I was convinced they were never going to grow. At this point I bought some Strulch and laid it down around the plants as directed, using it as a mulch.
I have to say I was a little sceptical, but the reviews were all raving. The results? Well, the Jerusalem artichokes soon shot through the Strulch, without being wiped out by slugs. And the weeds definitely slowed down. It wasn’t until around September time that I started to notice some peeping through, and in hindsight it would have been a good idea to reapply a new layer of Stretch at that point. It has largely thinned out or rotted away, and now, in mid-October, I am faced with an awful lot of weeds. Luckily I have a bit more time on my side now.
Overall, I think it worked really well and will definitely give it another try next year, especially on those areas of the veg patch where I do struggle with weeds and slugs, even with no-dig.