Straw mulch my newly seeded root veggies?

Asked August 31, 2020, 6:10 PM EDT

It's hot in Eugene and I've just planted rutabegas, onions, kohlrabi, diakon, watermelon radishes and turnips! I've intuitively put straw down over the germinating seeds to protect them from the sun and keep the moisture in. Should I have done this? Can they germinate and sprout through the mulch? Or when I check to see if they've sprouted should I peel back the straw a bit? Thank you! Also, it is very hard for me to tell if I am overwatering since it's so hot and I've never planted in the height of summer before. I've soaked the straw since mulching, but how long should I use the hose (shower setting) on my beds? Got any tips? Thank you!

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Yes, we have some unusually hot and extended weather in the forecast. For future reference, all the mentioned seeds except the radishes, may be pre-started in flats or 6 packs and then transplanted, which is my approach.The wet straw may cause a problems for the germinating seeds which will not be harmed by the sun, but must be kept damp at least until true leaves appear. Also the straw will tend to mat, making seed emergence unless very vigorous difficult. A light sprinkling with the shower hose or even a mister which dampens the soil to just below the depth of the seeds will work well, but may involve fairly frequent watering. A thin layer of dampened compost may also help, probably only 1/4 inch. Another solution is to set up a little shade "house" over that area, row cover cloth or even an old sheet will do the job. Good luck.