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Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,933
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Has anyone done straw bale gardening.  If so, can you share your set up and success/experience?

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,960
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

 

 

There is a group on FB called  - All About Gardening, PA/Oh/WV 

 

I have seen many do this method and have sucess on there.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,576
Registered: ‎03-15-2014

I've seen it but don't know why anyone would do it.  It looks messy.  Why not just put the plants in the ground.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,933
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Thanks nunya.  I was reading about it and will definitely check out that FB page, which is great because I am in PA.  I started container gardening for potatoes and tomatoes, this year and have spent a ton of $s just for the soil, so I am looking for an alternative to grow a few vegetables, not wanting a large garden  

 

While we have planted traditionally in the ground, our property is sloped, so having a small flat garden to work in is impossible without having to construct a raised bed.  It also seems much less labor intensive then ground planting.  

 

Whether it appears messy, that is up to the individual.  I have seen some photos of straw bale gardens that have been maintained very neatly and I am lucky to have the space and seclusion to compost the bales after they deteriorate.  I certainly do not think this method would be appropriate for anyone who lives in a manicured residential area.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,758
Registered: ‎03-12-2010
We did it growing up. We used drip irrigation but used hay bales instead of straw. We weed it easily and just pop the plants right into the hay like it was dirt except you push the hay/straw aside to put the plant in or dirt with seed. They are easy to maintain and great for doing raised beds. To join them you can use those stakes that you use to keep trees up. You can make any configuration you want to get them to the height and location you want.
Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,933
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

@Tigriss wrote:
We did it growing up. We used drip irrigation but used hay bales instead of straw. We weed it easily and just pop the plants right into the hay like it was dirt except you push the hay/straw aside to put the plant in or dirt with seed. They are easy to maintain and great for doing raised beds. To join them you can use those stakes that you use to keep trees up. You can make any configuration you want to get them to the height and location you want.

Hi tigriss,

 

Did you prep the bales before starting planting.  I am seeing advice to water them for a couple of weeks and even adding compost or fertilizer onto/into the bales prior to adding plants.  I'm thinking about doing plants vs seeds first.  I might not recognize a seedling from a weed, LOL, even though I grew up on an active working farm.  

 

I've looked at a lot of images with staking them together, some pictures show them bound together with baling twine.  If I don't use a drip irrigation method, can you give me your thoughts on watering frequency and how I can educate myself on determining the correct moisture?  I mean can they get too much water?

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,758
Registered: ‎03-12-2010
No real prep required. You can make the hole for the plant larger so that you can add extra potting soil/fcompost. We water in the later evening for several hours on a timer based on what the plants need. You can also use a soaker hose laid on the top of the bales so that it soaks into the bales. You can also hook up a timer for that to do it automatically. When you purchase the pants, there will be a watering guide as to how much moister and light/direct light, they need. You will know what plants you purchase and what they look like so pick out those that don't look like the rest. You can also water them with some Miracle Grow if you like.
Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,933
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Thanks tigriss.  I appreciate your helping me.  I'm probably over-thinking this too much, should just jump in and give it a try.  I have a couple of tomato plants in planting bags that haven't been growing to my satisfaction so I can just transplant them into a bale and give it a go.  If I can still find pepper plants may do a couple of them in a second bale.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,758
Registered: ‎03-12-2010

Good luck on your plantings.  Since it is later in the season and you are transplanting, you may consider making the hole larger and using some root starter and compost to make sure the transplant does well.  Congrats on you adventure!