How to Use Alfalfa Straw in the Veggie Garden


One of the most important things you can do for your veggie garden is mulching. Mulch helps the soil retain moisture, keeps the temperature more constant and prevents weed growth. Alfalfa straw can successfully be used as mulch. In some ways, it is more beneficial to your vegetable garden than traditional mulch materials may be. Wood chips and straw can rob your soil of nitrogen as they decompose. Alfalfa instead provides a 2.5-1-3 balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) to your vegetable garden, multitasking as both mulch and fertilizer.

Step 1

Break up the bale of alfalfa straw as much as you can. To do this, cut any string binding it together and remove it. Then use the hoe and pitchfork to pry the straw chunks apart. Bales of straw are compressed for easy storage, so this may take a little work.

Step 2

Scoop the straw up and spread it over your garden, around the stalks of all your plants, to a depth of about 1/2 inch. The best time to do this is just after you have thoroughly weeded and before any big rains. Big rains usually leave many newly sprouted baby weeds in their wake, so it is important to apply mulch before they arrive.

Step 3

Water and tend to your garden as usual. As the alfalfa straw breaks down, its nutrients will enrich your garden's soil. At the end of the season, you can safely till any remaining alfalfa straw under as you prepare your garden for hibernation before the next growing season.

Tips and Warnings

  • Alfalfa straw can be sharp and pointy. Wear gardening gloves when working with it, as well as long pants, boots that come over your ankle, socks and a long-sleeve shirt. If you have allergies, wear a mask and goggles as well. If your allergies are severe, speak with your doctor before embarking on an alfalfa hay mulching mission.

Things You'll Need

  • Alfalfa straw
  • Pitchfork
  • Hoe
  • Gardening gloves


  • Society Garlic: Alfalfa Hay
  • Lawrence Journal World and News: Alfalfa Hay Gardening
  • Hay and Forage Grower: Alfalfa's Rosy Future
Keywords: alfalfa straw mulch, alfalfa veggie gardening, alfalfa vegetable mulch

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.