Straw Bale Gardening is all the all the go. It’s the easiest and most enjoyable way to grow veggies, herbs, flowers and more!
What Are Straw Bale Gardens? -:
It’s the answer to your prayers if you have poor soil or a bad back or both! It’s a no muss, no fuss way of gardening that you are going to love. You can create the perfect layout or design for your garden and it couldn’t be easier.
Imagine no weeding, no back breaking toiling in the yard .. it’s true, this can be you! The versatility means you can build a Straw Bale Wall or a Straw Bale Garden Bed.
So how does it work? In a nutshell, you use Straw Bales the same way as if you were using Raised Beds. There is a difference, you don’t need additional soil. While we’re on the subject, it’s important to recognize the difference between straw and hay.
According to USA Forage, most people think that Straw and Hay are the same, they are not! To begin with, Straw is stalk and Hay is grass. Whatever you do, don’t mix them up!
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How To Condition A Straw Bale
Here’s A Top Gardening Tip -: For best results position your Straw Bale with the cut side up, as shown on the left-hand side above ⇑
The advantages of Straw Bale Gardening are numerous. It’s tried and tested, portable, you can plant mostly anything in Straw Bale Gardens and when it decomposes, it becomes great compost for your garden! The first thing you need to do is get your Straw Bale ship shape and ready for planting. The best spot is in direct sunlight
Full sun is defined as six or more hours a day of bright, direct sunlight. Although some vegetables, such as lettuce and green beans, can grow in partial shade, most vegetables need full sunlight.
Whilst Straw Bales can be portable, (you can add wheels like the Straw Bale Frame above) you also need to pop them in a location in your yard that has easy access to water.
As you will be watering regularly, they will become too heavy to move, so place accordingly. There is a step by step tutorial that shows you how to build the mobile frame here
The above infographic from Fix gives a detailed look at what is required to condition your straw bale. Be sure to Pin this very handy information and then watch the Video below.
For average Straw Bale Gardens you will need:
- Sheets of newspaper or cardboard to place under the bales
- A hand trowel
- A garden hose
- Organic fertilizer — especially bone meal or blood meal
- Straw bales
- Soil or compost if you need to direct-sow seeds
Straw Bale Gardening Instructions
Place a sheet or two of newspaper or cardboard on the ground where you want your garden. The paper should extend several inches beyond the edge of each bale. Then, place a bale on top of the paper. The paper prevents weeds from growing up and into the bale.
Make sure you arrange the bales the way you want them. Leave space between them so that you can push a lawnmower or wheelbarrow among the bales. Once they’re in place, they get heavy when water-logged, and are difficult or impossible to move. This information is from the ‘Safer Brand’ Site.
Straw Bale Gardening Video Instructions
Straw Bale Gardens have made a video that teaches you how to plant out your Straw Bale Garden. Start with conditioning your Straw Bale. This is what Bonnie Plants say on their website.
“As soon as moisture hits the bale, it will start to decompose, and the inside will heat right up – definitely not a good thing for the plants. The solution? Condition the bale before you plant. This process usually takes around 10 to 14 days. For the first 3 days, simply water the bale thoroughly so it stays damp.
straw bale gardening via Real Farmacy
For the next 6 days, in addition to watering the bale, use a liquid fertilizer like Bonnie Herb, Vegetable & Flower Plant Food to add nitrogen to speed the decomposition. Simply add a capful to a gallon of water and pour it all on the bale. (Another option is to sprinkle a cup of ammonium sulfate on the top of the bale on days 4 through 6, then a half-cup on days 7 through 9. Each time, water fertilizer in.)
How To Plant Out Straw Bale Gardens
Now that you have properly conditioned your Straw Bale, we’re onto the best bit and that is to plant out your Straw Bales with vegetables.
Here’s the recommended number of vegetable plants per Bale according to ‘Safer Brand’
- Tomatoes: 2 to 3 plants per bale
- Peppers: 4 plants per bale
- Squash: 2 to 4 plants per bale
- Zucchini: 2 to 3 plants per bale
- Cucumbers: 4 to 6 plants per bale
- Strawberries: 3 to 4 plants per bale
You can also grow lettuce and green beans in straw bales, but the number of plants depends on the varieties. Check the seed package. Both lettuce and beans grow easily and quickly by direct sowing methods (planting seeds directly).
Use your trowel to dig into the top of the straw bale. Make a hole about the size of the container your vegetable plant came in. Gently slide the plant out of the container. If it sticks, tap the sides and back of the container to loosen the plant. Don’t tug it by the stem — you can easily break the stem and hurt the plant.
Place the plant, root-side down, into the hole and gently push the straw back into place around the soil and onto the roots. Water it well. The Before and After Photos from 1001 Gardens shows the Straw Bale Gardens progress.
The above Infographic has some great tips for your Straw Bale Gardens and the article has been written by John Karsten. He is an expert on how to build a Straw Bale Gardens and has an excellent book that you can buy here ;
Be sure that you scroll our page all the way to the end. We have included the full version of this Infographic and you won’t want to miss it. Be sure to Pin all the great ideas as you see them.
Bonnie Plants have a great Tutorial showing you how to make a Raised Straw Bale Garden Beds but we have also found a great video below that shows you in time lapse just how easy it is. You are going to be so inspired when you view!
Raised Bed Straw Bale Gardens Video
This Straw Bale Garden is described by the maker as a no dig and no-till garden. What could be better? Click Play above to view now ⇑
Here’s another great idea that shows you can enjoy Straw Bale Gardens all year round. Nicki Jabbour has created a Cold Frame for hers. She arranged 6 Straw Bales in a Square and planted herbs, veggies and annuals. The Cold Frame was a Door on the top of the Bales. She loves the fact that there is no bending, weeding or digging and she was thrilled with the results.
Here’s another way to use Straw in Vertical Gardening from Photo Shelter – Continue scrolling our page and grab your Free Printable Companion Planting Guide for your Straw Bale Garden too. Images via The Modern Farmer
The above Infographic from Fix has some great tips for your Straw Bale Garden and the article has been written by John Karsten. He is an expert on how to build a Straw Bale Garden and has an excellent book you can buy here – You can visit him on the Fix Site and read everything he has to say here
This Companion Planting Printable from One Creative Money is a must to Pin. It will come in so handy and shows you exactly what you should plant together for the best results.