One method of gardening we’re tried out this past year was straw bale gardening. If you have access to some extra straw bales and some space to put them in your garden, try utilizing this method that doesn’t require any digging.

Start off by choosing a spot in you garden for the straw bales. A nice, sunny spot works best. Next, you’ll need to condition the straw and start the decomposition process. For this reason, having a bale that isn’t tied up super tight will be easier to work with as it will allow more oxygen into the bale and make it easier to plant. The downside of a bale that is too loose is that it can fall apart more easily.

Conditioning the straw means soaking it, such as in a large tub of water or with a hose. You’ll want to soak the straw daily for about 2 weeks, while also mixing in some granular fertilizer into the bale. This will help to speed up the decomposition process and provide nutrients for the plants then they do start to grow. As the straw starts to decompose, it will heat up and then provide nutrients, air, and water for your new plants to be growing in.

Next, plant up the straw bale by digging out some straw to make room for your transplants. Fill in the hole with some potting soil mix. If direct seeding, add an inch or two of potting soil on top of the bale and plant your seeds directly in the top couple inches.

After the growing season is completed, you’ll be able to use what remains of the straw bale in your compost or as mulch for your garden pathways. This article from Modern Farmer provides additional information and tips.

Materials Needed:

  • straw bales
  • organic granular fertilizer
  • potting soil mix
  • seeds and/or transplants
  • hose
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