Straw Bale Vegetable Garden

We moved into the Garden in the Woods in late spring 2009, and spent most of 2009 settling into the house and dealing with family matters.  In spring of 2010, anxious for a vegetable garden of some sort and still with no idea about where to locate one, I discovered Straw Bale Gardening while noodling around on the Internet.  It’s a great option when there’s not enough space, soil or sunny space for regular gardens.

So in May, off I went to the local farm supply coop for straw and fertilizer.  I wound up with 18 bales of straw, on the driveway in the sunniest spot in the yard.

Straw Bales, 15 May 2010

Straw Bales, 24 May 2010

Straw Bales, 17 June 2010

Straw Bales, 29 July 2010

Work Notes

6 May 2010

Purchased and arranged 9 straw bales from coop

10 May 2010

Added 9 more bales, plus one extra used for mulching

Added to Bales Date Date
Water 5/6 5/10
Water 5/7 5/11
Water 5/8 5/12
1/2 c Urea per bale 5/9 5/13
1/2 c Urea per bale 5/10 5/14
1/2 c Urea per bale 5/11 5/15
1/4 c Urea per bale 5/12 5/16
1/4 c Urea per bale 5/13 5/17
1/4 c Urea per bale 5/14 5/18
1 C 10-10-10 (used Garden Tone) 5/15 5/19
Plant 5/16 5/20

Lessons Learned

wait for bales to COOL down before planting; some plants got burned by the decomp and never recovered

plant 2 wide rather than 3; the center got very warm and broke down faster than the sides

this could be done less expensively by allowing bales to age over winter, rather than buying nitrogen to speed decomp

It would be nice to start planting in March and have sugar snap peas

Needs DAILY watering during hot weather, which I didn’t do very well at

Last Updated 19 January 2012

2 responses to “Straw Bale Vegetable Garden

  1. I like this idea. We often have old hay bales left over at the end of winter, I wonder if I could use them in the same way?

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    • I think so. I actually have a note to get straw bales in fall and let them age over the winter to avoid the expense and non-organic-ness of the preparation period. There is a difference between hay (with weed seeds) and straw (without seeds)

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