Straw and hay bale gardens could be the answer to all of your gardening woes. Trust me, they are more than just a passing fad.
For one thing, the technique of using straw bales to grow crops is a technique that has been around since the 60s….but it is really starting to grow in popularity. It’s easy to see why. Just look at these common issues that can be overcome by using a straw bale:
Image by Modern Farmer.com
The cost is lower than building a raised bed or using grow bags, plus they enter into the circle of life, being biodegradable! You can use them for compost the following year. Other benefits of using straw bales for gardening include:
Sounds good right? If you are like me, you are wondering why you didn’t know about this sooner!
Fortunately you can get started quickly and easily. Just follow the steps laid out below.
Ideally you should look for wheat, oats, rye or barley straw – which are the leftovers from harvesting grain. This means that very few seeds remain in the bales. Hay bales on the other hand still have the seed heads, so you are likely to find weeds growing in your bales. Hay bales do provide a nitrogen rich environment for your growing plants, but they will require more effort to upkeep. With straw bales you will need to do little more than add nitrogen (and I hear that human urine works well!).
Try to avoid corn and linseed bales as they decompose very slowly due to the oil residue from their crop, and are very coarse.
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