Straw bale gardening, step by step

Written by Doug Oster on .

Straw bale gardening has become a big thing for gardeners.

Lots of stuff on the Internet along with the book Straw Bale Gardens by Joel Karsten.

I've poked around online and here's how I'm trying to make a straw bale garden.

blog straw bale1These two bales will be watered every day for two weeks and will start to break down over that time. Photos by Doug Oster

You can see from the picture above, I'm putting two bales together. Some gardeners lay them flat, I'm trying then this way. One thing I've learned from looking at all the information, every gardener creates their straw bale garden a little differently.

I'll water the bales every day for two weeks. They get really heavy and will start to break down. Make sure you've put them in the spot you want, they are hard to move once ready for planting. The second week of the watering I'm also adding some organic granular and liquid fertilizer.

After the second week I'll force my hand down into the bale to see if it's still in the initial stages of composting. If it's really hot, I'll wait another week to plant.

For the planting I'm using a trowel to get down into the bale and putting compost in where ever I plant.

The bales I first planted have sat out all winter and were very heavy, wet and started decomposing.

This is my first experiment with this style of gardening and I'm excited to see how it works.

The three bales which I have stacked together are growing lettuce, arugula, dandelions, peas, beets and some flowers.

I need more room to plant favorites and if my first try is successful, I'll keep adding bales. I hope to plant lots of different crops in the bales including tomatoes, peppers an vine crops.

blog straw bale2These bales sat out all winter. I planted them with cool weather crops and it will be interesting to see how they do.


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