it’s often said that necessity is the mother of invention, and that was true for joel. as the years passed, joel learned firsthand that just about everything grows well in the environment of a straw bale – from root crops (like potatoes and beets) to vining plants (like cucumbers) to leafy greens. if the bale sprouts look stunted or misshapen, that’s due to the presence of persistent herbicide, and you’ll definitely want to avoid planting in that bale. straw is high in carbon, so it’s necessary to add a lot of nitrogen to create the environment for bacterial growth. (photo: courtesy strawbalegardens.com) one of the most common mistakes in gardening is a tendency to overwater, and according to joel, that’s just as true in straw bale gardening.
unlike in-ground or raised bed gardening, water draining out of a straw bale is carrying with it some of the nitrogen you applied to feed bacteria growth. if you live in a cooler zone, you may want to cover the bale with plastic over a wire trellis to create a sort of tent over the bale. the height of the bale is a big bonus when it comes to accessibility. so if you have issues with a soil-borne disease avoid inadvertently transmitting the pathogens on work gloves or your garden trowel to the plants in your bale garden. root crops, like carrots and beets, do best in the decomposed material of a 2-year old bale. his lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability.
sometimes known as bale gardening, or hay bale gardening, a straw bale garden uses ordinary farmer’s straw as the principal growing medium. a straw bale can make a great growing medium, and a straw bale garden is a raised bed in which the potting soil, compost, and plants are all housed inside the straw bale. arrange the bales in whatever configuration is convenient for your style of gardening. 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. after the bales are arranged in your chosen configuration, spread a generous layer of high-nitrogen fertilizer on top of the bales. 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.
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. some types of edible plants will also grow in the sides of the bales if you create pockets of potting soil and compost. a fence may be mandatory to prevent pest such as groundhogs or rabbits from decimating the harvest. serious vegetable gardeners may want to invest in a large fencing structure constructed of chicken wire and stakes to surround the entire garden. it’s best for plants to water in the morning, making sure to water the bale, not the leaves. at the end of the season, you can let the bales decompose, using the remnants the following season as mulch.
straw bales are made from the stalks of cereal grain crops. it’s the material left over after the grain has been harvested. as a byproduct, a straw bale can make a great growing medium, and a straw bale garden is a raised bed in which the potting soil, compost, and plants are all learn all about straw bale gardens. the revolutionary method of growing food in bales in any climate and on any continent. you can grow beautiful,, .
fertilizer and water are the chief ingredients used to condition the bales. joel recommends lawn fertilizer, blood meal or milorganitexae. do not use u201cfreshu201d manure. he also recommends putting the fertilizer in a plastic container with holes punched in it to distribute the fertilizer evenly. a fresh, 3-string straw bale can exceed 140xb0f (60xb0c) during conditioning. older, seasoned bales may not exceed 100xb0f (38xb0c), but should still be preconditioned before use. once the preconditioning is complete, nutrients will no longer be sequestered in large amounts and the bale will remain cool enough to plant. straw bale gardens are inexpensive to set up and suited for locations with limited space. the use of a straw bale raises the garden off the straw bale gardening, also sometimes called hay bale gardening despite the difference in material, uses the bales themselves as both garden bed and growing consider the humble bale of straw. think beyond its reputation as a halloween decoration and picture it as a productive part of your garden., . here are some of the claimed benefits i found.no weeds.inexpensive.no digging required.they generate their own warmth, extending the growing season.straw bale gardening lets you control the nutrients.instant, rather inexpensive raised bed.garden without soil.less bending. for effective straw bale gardening:use straw, not hay. hay is made from alfalfa and grasses that still have the seeds attached, and these seeds will turn into weeds when they germinate and sprout. locate the garden near a water source. solarize the bales. use short plants. plant in full sun. avoid pooling water.
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