Straw mulch boosts garden diversity.
I just wanted to add another "win" to those already mentioned in the August/ September 2011 article "The 10 Worst Garden Weeds." I can't speak for everyone, but I've used newspaper covered with straw for several years and I've found that, in addition to weed control, moisture retention and added fertility, this combination also attracts a host of beneficial creatures to my garden. Tons of spiders (large and small), toads, a rat snake and usually a box turtle or two all take up residence under the mulch. I've found that squash bugs really dig this mulch, too, so I avoid mulching around squash plants. And, hey, if the turtles help themselves to some melons or low-hanging ripe tomatoes, it's a small price to pay for the free labor they provide!