Source straw straight from local farmer so you know how it was grown. Add more fertilizer every couple of days, spreading it generously, then soak the bales each time. Contact your local county agent to find out where to get straw bales in your area. Even though plants will get nutrition from the internal decomposition of the bales, you still need to fertilize them, though it's required less frequently than with in-ground plants. Some types of edible plants will also grow in the sides of the bales if you create pockets of potting soil and compost. Keep your bales watered; they dry out fast! Enjoy your organic harvest and please share your straw bale gardening experiences and hay bale gardening tips with the rest of us. Like other forms of raised-bed gardening, straw bale gardening lets you control the nutrients in your soil. We asked Joel Karsten, author of Straw Bale Gardens Complete, Third Edition and the originator of the straw bale gardening method, his tips on keeping deer away from your garden: Electric fencing, set … Do not place bale(s) in close proximity to a home as to attract unwanted rodent problems. Straw bale gardening is a great way to extend your growing season, create a garden in areas with less-than-ideal soil, and make tasks like planting and weeding less labor-intensive. Like any raised garden, straw bale gardens consume a lot of water. It starts as a sterile medium, and by season’s end, the bale has transformed into nutrient-rich, organic compost. Let's find out how to condition a straw bale for gardening! Straw bale gardening uses a bale as the medium in which you plant. After you notice the straw beginning to get warm and decompose, spread a mixture of potting soil and ordinary compost over the top of the bales in a 2- to 3-inch layer. Straw bale gardening - is there a gardening method that sounds easier? Arricca SanSone has written about health and lifestyle topics for Prevention, Country Living, Woman's Day, and more. Straw bale gardening, also sometimes called hay bale gardening despite the difference in material, uses the bales themselves as both garden bed and growing medium. You also won’t be able to move wet, heavy bales after you start watering them. Straw bale gardening eliminates digging and weeding and is the best way to avoid diseased soil or poor-draining, hard-to-work soil. A straw or hay bale garden is a gardening method used for raising vegetables, herbs, and flowers directly on a bale. Once the bale feels cool in a few days, begin planting. University of Illinois Extension. Once soaked with water, straw bales are very heavy, so plan the position of your straw bale garden first, before planting. Plants are much less susceptible to drowning in a straw bale garden. As usual, make sure to plant seedlings no deeper than they sit in their nursery pot. May 16, 2013 - All about one of the best and easiest methods, Straw Bale Gardens. a location that receives 6 to 8 hours of sun per day, how to understand fertilizer numbers and letters, Compost tea or liquid fish emulsion is a good choice, Create a Garden Anywhere With Straw Bales. The bales can also be abutted against each other to form a larger raised bed, but make sure you can still reach to the center of the garden for tending the plants. Harvesting root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions often means breaking apart the entire bale—which is largely decomposed by this time—to extract the vegetable roots. When it comes to thrifty, versatile ways to garden, it’s hard to beat gardening using a bale of straw. Start the process a few weeks before you want to plant. Don’t forget that the bales will kill any lawn underneath them. The straw tucks right around the potato plant and keeps everything covered as the plant prefers. Pucci Straw Sun Hat: What Is It? With straw bale gardening you don’t have to worry about this. Your Christmas Dessert Table Needs These Recipes. Generally, you’ll fit two or three plants per bale. Using straw and compost rather than soil as beds for plants, straw bale gardens can be planted almost anywhere and are easy to design and manipulate. Also, try to place taller plants toward the back of the bale, so that when they grow, they won’t shade the smaller plants. Strawberries and potatoes are especially effective when planted this way. Straw Bale Gardening Has a Hidden Risk. Straw bale gardening can have many advantages and few disadvantages if done correctly. If you are staking taller plants, make sure to use long stakes that can be driven all the way through the straw bale and into the ground. Setting them up is the hardest part but there are many benefits to this type of garden. At the end of the season, compost your bales or save for one more year. Straw bale gardening is just that, planting your seedlings into bales of straw. Position the bale(s) on their side, so the cut side of the straw is facing up. Add potting soil, and plant your seeds or seedlings as you would in ground, and top with soil. The bales should be postioned on-edge so that the sheared ends of the plant stalks are facing upward and the bands of twine are along the sides. Maintenance of garden beds made from straw and hay is easy, keep the bale garden watered during hot dry weather, a little bit of weeding and nature will do the rest. Tall plants, such as corn, don’t do great, as they're shallow-rooted and topple over. Karsten recommends erecting seven-foot-tall posts at the end of each row of bales, and running wire between them at intervals of 10 inches from the tops of the bales. Water the bales thoroughly, and keep them wet for three days. Straw Bale Gardens. Straw Bale Gardening. Straw Bale Gardening WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION FACT SHEET • FS109E What is a straw bale garden? Straw bale gardening is a way of using a bale made of straw as your actual garden. The concept is simple: As the straw begins to break down, it turns into a rich, compostable planter that's ideal for growing vegetables. A straw bale is the perfect gardening container. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Straw bale gardening is an easy way to setup your own veggie garden, by using the decomposing straw bales as the foundation for your garden. Kerry Michaels is a writer and photographer with several years specializing in gardening and landscape design. It’s best for plants to water in the morning, making sure to water the bale, not the leaves. Watch Joel’s Straw Bale Garden grow as you slide the arrows across the photo. You also may want to get a couple of metal stakes to drive into the ground at either end of the bale for stability. Annual flowers, such as marigolds, can be planted on the ends to dress up your bale. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board, spread a generous layer of high-nitrogen fertilizer. You need a location that receives 6 to 8 hours of sun per day, says the Washington State University Extension. And the evidence is mounting. Straw Bale Gardening Tips. But there are several critters that will not hesitate to scale your bales and eat your entire harvest. The only caveat is that you’ll need to place your bales somewhere you can access water, because you can’t let them dry out. Straw bale gardening is an easy, time-saving, sustainable way to provide your family with home grown goodness. Easily accessible to those who battle to reach normal garden beds, this type of gardening can be very effective and useful. The benefits are awesome: It doesn’t require digging in rocky or hard soil, and it creates cheap, raised beds! BaleGrow™ is a sustainability and straw bale gardening program for early learning centres and schools. This technique might be an option if you have no soil, or your soil is contaminated, chemically or with diseases. Any kind of raised bed makes for an easy, convenient garden, but one technique that is especially effective is straw bale gardening. Sometimes known as bale gardening, or hale bale gardening, a straw bale garden uses ordinary farmer's straw as the principle growing medium. Click here to get extra SBG stories & videos sent to your Inbox. Arrange the bales in whatever configuration is convenient for your style of gardening. Let's get into further details. More about us. Straw bale gardening uses a bale as the medium in which you plant. The main difference is that the container is the straw bale itself and is held together with two or three strings. Although this may come as a surprise, straw bale gardening can be just as productive as regular, soil-based gardening, although it has some limitations. Straw bale gardens have taken off over the last decade or so. It’s also not the prettiest sight as the straw naturally begins to decompose and turn sort of gray (so you may not want it in your front yard!). Make sure to keep the soil constantly moist until the seeds have sprouted and are well established. Position your bales correctly. They function essentially as a raised bed (each bale is 14–16 inches high) and a container garden in one. Straw Bale vs Hay Bale Gardening. About Us. As the straw breaks down over the course of the summer, it turns into compost that feeds your plants. Do You Know How to Hang Christmas Lights? You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, 60 Types of Flowers You Should Have in Your Garden, The Best Indoor Trees for Every Room of Your House, Winter Flowers to Get you Through the Doldrums, Your Yard Needs These Perennial Flowers and Plants, 20 Low-Maintenance Flowers for the Lazy Gardener, 20 Perennial Herbs for Your Edible Garden. According to the Clemson University Cooperative Extension, the veggies that do the best are bush tomatoes, bush beans, and vines such as squash or cantaloupe. Or, you can use the sides to plant ornamental flowers, such as marigolds or petunias. If planning a vacation, be sure to have someone water the bale(s) to retain sufficient moisture throughout the growing season. What Is It Worth? Once the straw inside the bale begins to decay the straw becomes "conditioned" compost that creates an extraordinary plant rooting environment. Straw bale gardening utilizes straw bales in place of other types of containers and is a low-maintenance, eco-friendly way to grow plants. On day four, sprinkle a ½ cup of urea (46-0-0), a type of high nitrogen fertilizer (here's how to understand fertilizer numbers and letters), on top of the bale, and water it in. It's economical, easier on your back, and is great for people with mobility issues. This digital guide is a simple, step by step, easy to follow plan to help you get started growing your own organic food & herbs in straw bales. The bale will feel warm to the touch because decomposition is occurring inside. Water in the fertilizer, making sure to saturate every bale, every day for several days. Straw bale gardening is a great way to grow herbs and vegetables, and can also be used to grow ornamental plants. Some people like to arrange the bales in a straight row, others arrange them in an L or U configuration. The answer? Purchase rectangular straw bales (approximately 2′ x 3′). Seeds can be planted directly into the soil/compost layer, then watered in. Water regularly to keep your straw bales moist. Excess water will drain out the bottom of your bales so your plants don't sit in water. Straw bales contain barley and wheat stems, commonly used for composting, mulching, and gardening. When placed over straw that has begun to decompose, this is the only growing medium you need. Straw bale gardening is exactly what the name says it is - growing plants in bales of straw serving as a part-raised bed, part-growing medium. Cost is typically $10 per bale. The gardening concept is the same and they seem similar on the surface, there are differences between straw bale gardening and hay bale gardening. Consider the pros and cons to determine if straw bale gardening is right for you. Everything to Know About Painting Furniture. Easiest to source straw in the fall. A high nitrogen fertilizer, such as that used for lawns, is the best formulation to use for this conditioning stage. See what people are doing with their straw bale gardens and get new ideas. In these situations, place plastic between the bales and ground. Some gardeners fill these spaces with additional compost/soil mixture as they appear. Compost tea or liquid fish emulsion is a good choice, says the West Virginia University Extension. A monthly application of a balanced water-soluble fertilizer is sufficient. Get Answers to Your Gardening Questions in our Community Forum - It's Free! Conditioned with a small amount of potting soil, compost, and fertilizer, the straw itself breaks down gradually, providing its own nutrients over the course of the growing season. At the end of the season, compost the bales, so it’s the ultimate in sustainable gardening too. Get a bale of straw (not hay, which contains grass and weed seeds) at your local hardware or farm supply store. Read our, How to Make and Use a Straw Bale Compost Bin, The Pros and Cons of Straw Bale Gardening, 6 Great Containers for Growing Vegetables, How to Make a Garden Planter From a Plastic Kiddie Pool, How to Grow Leaf Lettuce in a Reusable Grocery Bag, How To Grow Eggplant From Seed and in Containers. After the bales are arranged in your chosen configuration, spread a generous layer of high-nitrogen fertilizer on top of the bales. They’re usually about $10. To plant seedlings in a straw bale, simply take a sharp trowel and stick it down into the straw, wiggling it back and forth to make room for the seedling. Straw bale gardening involves, as the name suggests, creating a garden from straw bales. Straw bale gardens are a growing fad among urban gardeners and others looking for a challenging way to raise plants away from natural soil. Once your bales are ready, dig out holes about six inches deep in the bales with a trowel or small tree saw. How to design & layout your garden for maximum productivity. To grow your plants INSIDE of the bale using it as the container for the roots to take hold and thrive. Continue to add fertilizer and water it in for a total of three days, then cut the fertilizer amount in half on days seven through nine, still watering. Lay down landscape fabric to prevent weeds from growing through bales. Straw bale gardening is an ideal way to overcome nutrient-limited soil. Straw Bale Gardening is simply a different type of container gardening. Place your bale so the twine is on the side of the bales, parallel to the ground. Here’s what else you need to know about straw bale gardening. Or use bone meal, fish meal or compost if you want to go organic, says the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension. Consider the pros and cons to determine if straw bale gardening is right for you. If your bale is on bare soil or a weedy patch, put down a few layers of landscape fabric or cardboard to create a barrier so weeds don’t grow up through the straw. Although the practice of gardening in straw bales dates back to ancient times, I learned of it only a decade ago during a chance encounter with a local straw-bale guru, Kent Rogers. Should you have a straw bale garden? Water the bale or bales well –if you can leave them out for a couple of weeks and water them every day, even better. Jul 23, 2020 - Explore Straw Bale Gardens's board "Straw Bale Gardening", followed by 537 people on Pinterest. Yes, you can garden even if you have no soil! (And don't forget to check out our fresh landscaping ideas and best backyard ideas too.). Last year I tried a few off-the-wall types of gardens, including a straw bale garden. Serious vegetable gardeners may want to invest in a large fencing structure constructed of chicken wire and stakes to surround the entire garden. Prepping straw bales (sometimes called conditioning) involves starting the decomposition process before planting. Straw bales are Straw bale gardening is more work, takes more water and uses more fertilizer than traditional gardening. The most important criteria is to have a location with plenty of direct sunlight—at least six to eight hours daily for most vegetables. Country Living participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. An inexpensive wire fence may discourage these pests. Straw Bale Gardening Book. It might seem too good to be true, but yes, you can still garden even if you have poor soil or have a small backyard. A soaker hose is a convenient option. What to Expect in the Early Stages of Straw Bale Gardening Straw Bale Garden- Early Summer (by Cyndy Crist) As my 17 day conditioning period was drawing to a close (the timing recommended for those using organic fertilizers), I was pleased to discover that it was easy to stick my finger into the top of the bale. At the end of the season, compost the bales, so it’s the ultimate in sustainable gardening too. See more ideas about straw bale gardening, straw bales, baling. Straw or hay bales from alfalfa, wheat, oats, rye, or other cereals are suitable for making a garden bed. All you need to do is buy a straw bale, place it in a sunny position, condition it for 10 days, and plant your favorite plants in it. See more ideas about straw bale gardening, straw bales, strawbale gardening. In this first chapter, you’ll learn about the benefits of a straw bale garden and what you’ll need to create your own. View beautiful straw bale garden photos. The benefits are awesome: It doesn’t require digging in rocky or hard soil, and it creates cheap, raised beds! Straw bale gardening is simple and effective. On day 10, stop adding fertilizer, but keep watering. Feed your plants every other week at first, then weekly as they mature. Or spread potting soil along the top of each bale, then dig a shallow hole and plant. A fence may be mandatory to prevent pest such as groundhogs or rabbits from decimating the harvest. Get your straw in the fall. Pioneered by author and lecturer Joel Karsten, this method gives high yields, does not require soil, can be done anywhere and best of all, there's NO WEEDING!. A bold claim, but it’s true. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission. >> Be sure the bales are STRAW and not hay…or you’ll be growing whatever is in that hay along with what you intended to grow.Straw is typically yellow, dry, hollow and not food for animals. 1. These Christmas Front Doors Are Nothing but Merry, 27 Most Delicious Christmas Dinner Casserole Ideas, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Strawberries also do well. It’s inexpensive (usually well under $10), you can put it wherever you want, and it’ll eventually turn into compost – so what is your garden this year can feed your garden next year. Straw Bale Gardening provides many advantages over traditional soil gardening, some of which have already been alluded to: no weed seeds, no disease or insect carry over, and a neutral pH which allow you to grow essentially anything with roots. The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. At the end of the season, you can let the bales decompose, using the remnants the following season as mulch. If you are able to grow food in soil, keep doing it. Straw bale gardening is a great way to grow herbs and vegetables, and can also be used to grow ornamental plants. Like most raised gardens, straw bale gardens resist many common garden pests. You’ll learn where & how to get straw bales at the best possible price. The result is an inexpensive method of growing organic vegetables. Proper prepping requires a week to 12 days. Be aware that as the bales decompose they shrink so the spaces between the bales will get larger. Arrange straw bale garden before winter to be ready to plant in spring. One of the coolest things about straw bale gardening is that it combines the best of container gardening with vertical gardening. Also, it’s easier for the plant to push down and grow under the top layer of straw because straw bales are more accessible to … Country Living editors select each product featured. Straw bale gardening can destroy your garden. In the heat of the summer, this may mean watering every day. Straw Bale Gardening Pros . 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