I've seed a lot lately about straw bale gardening. I began a new way of gardening last year. I have gardened my entire adult life. The way that I garden now is the most amazing experience I have ever had in my life. I only watered my garden 5 times last year (when the drought was going on!!!). It is absolutely AMAZING. There is a man, Paul Gautchi who developed this method of gardening. He has made a movie of instruction which is free to the world to watch on line. I can tell that everything he teaches in this video is absolutely true. I'm so grateful to have discovered it. Go here, and scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll be able to watch the movie. It has transformed the way I garden for the rest of my life.
I haven't heard of straw bale gardening and we have a very horrid yard (very hard and no way of tilling it right now) so we haven't been able to plant anything really well. Grass wont even grow that much. This would be a great way! i will have to give it a go some time. Going to try to find some information about it online.
We started a straw bale garden this year too. Haven't had to water since we planted a month ago. Still having late freezes though so have waited to plant more.
Robbo - this is what we did on advice from someone near us who use this method.
1) stack straw bales in whatever shape you want. We did straight single row in a horseshoe pattern.
2) for 3 days water the bales until water runs out the bottom of them
3) for three more days cover each bale with 1/2 cup blood meal or other high nitrogen fertilizer and water well
4) for three more days cover each bale with 1/4 cup of the same and water some more
By now your bales should be getting a little bit warm.
5) use a regular fertilizer on them watering well each day for another day or two til not quite so warm
6) cut a trench in them or individual holes for each plant - we cut a trench 6" wide and 6" deep down the middle of each one and filled it with soil
7) plant away
We used the straw that was pulled out of the bale as a mulch after planting. Ours are also on a concrete surface, an old unused driveway that we can't remove. So far everythings doing great. Ready to plant much more!
We looked like nutcases watering bales of straw for the week or so but then again our neighbors already think we're nuts.
It's good to see someone on this site doing this project. a perfect forum for my question.
I have several straw bales in my chicken coop for the winter (I build a wall with them on the side that the wind/snow come from, I scatter straw around after it snows, I turn the bales periodically giving the girls a new crop of worms to peck at, they've got a nice little playground. Then springtime comes.
I want to try straw bale gardening with the straw bales from their habitat. Do you think this will work? Will I still need to add anything, or just get the watering started?
I appreciate your input.
Absolutely, you can use them. They have a bit of a head start on the conditioning. But, even so, you'll have to spend about 2 weeks getting them ready to plant. Be sure that you place them where you want them before wetting them down! Happy planting.