Yes! Straw bale gardening is a thing! In this article, I offer a brief explanation on what it is, how it works and why it may be so much better than planting directly in the soil.
WHAT IS IT?
Straw bale gardening is exactly what it sounds like. Gardening in a straw bale instead of the soil. When I first learned about straw bale gardening, I thought the idea was pretty awesome! I knew I absolutely had to try it. I’ve been struggling with my garden this year. Moving from the city to the country, it’s funny you forget about certain things. You don’t incorporate that into your plans when building your garden lol. I had never seen a walnut tree before and now I have 6 of them on my property. I’ve never had to fight off rabbits or caterpillars before. I’ve learned a lot this year already and the season has just begun!
HOW’S IT WORK?
So the concept behind straw bale gardening is a weed-free medium to grow your veggies in. You start off with a wonderfully easy and (again) weed-free system – which is super important for me! I ain’t got time for that! LOL! And by the end of the season, you’ll have a half composted bale that is teaming with microbial life and full of nutrients and will make for great use the following spring for the outdoor garden. You can grow almost anything in a straw bale garden, but with that said, it has to be a straw bale, not a hay bale. A hay sale contains seeds and well, if you water seeded hay, you’ll only end up growing more hay!
HOW’S IT BETTER?
One of the major added benefits of straw bale gardening is (as I’ve already mentioned) the fact that it is a WEED-FREE MEDIUM! How awesome is that!!! No seriously. I hate weeding my garden (funny because I love weeding other people’s garden) – I think the biggest reason is that I just simply don’t have the time to weed!
Secondly, if you’re like me and have toxic soil (or diseased soil, poorly drained soil or an extremely clay-based or sandy soil) this style of gardening allows you to still have a wonderfully abundant garden without having to fight with non-amendable soil conditions.
No digging!!! Friggin Wonderful! While I love getting my hands dirty and covered in dirt, there is something extremely satisfying about planting a garden without the use of a shovel.
You can garden virtually anywhere! Provided your plants are getting 6-8 hours of sunlight each day, then you can garden virtually anywhere. I wouldn’t say they are portable in any way as once the bale get wet and retain moisture, they can be extremely heavy. Not to mention, as they age they begin to compost in on itself and moving that could get real messy!
So, give it a try – if you don’t mind the rustic look, this style of gardening could be the answer you’ve been looking for all along!