Lucerne Hay. Can I use something else instead of Lucerne hay for mulch?
What is Lucerne hay? Where can I get it and can I use a substitute when I build my no-dig garden?
Megan replies... Suppliers to horse stables, or racing/pony clubs would be your first call for bludging or buying lucerne hay; or ask them where they get their lucerne hay for their horses from. Any sort of farmer suppliers should help, garden centers and also search the web for local suppliers or garden supplies.
Don't worry if you can't find some. Lucerne hay (sometimes called Alfalfa) can be substituted with anything that is friable but rich in nitrogen. Straw mixed with grass clippings, mulched garden material, etc.
As long as it's organic, will rot quickly and will add to the nitrogen content in the soil underneath. It's just that lucerne hay is so brilliant and pea straw is next in line.
Lucerne hay rots in about 6 months or so, (pea straw much sooner) and usually the poorer quality is sold for mulch. Poor hay is fine for mulch, but not so good for horses. Also chaffed lucerne is sold for mulch after extracting any seed heads for horse and cattle food.
Other types of hay or straw often have too many seeds in them, which may sprout at the wrong time, giving you a bit of work to do.
I've used shredded corn stalks, dried seaweed, twigs, coffee grounds, grass clippings, leaves and mixtures of sawdust and other things for mulch.