The straw bale gardening method has been a savior for gardeners over the years.
If you find your soil not responding to all the growing boosters that you have been trying, it’s time for you to move on to the straw bale method.
This is the least expensive way and can be used over-fertilizing, composting, and many others that the soil is stubborn to absorb.
What is Straw Bale Gardening all about?
In this type of gardening, you will be replacing soil with straw to raise your garden bed. The straw is also used as the medium for your plants to grow, just like how they usually develop in the soil.
To use the straw bale, one must condition them. Only after proper conditioning can you can start implementing them in your gardening.
Remember to place them in the bright sunlight and water them sufficiently. If you have nourished the start bale well, you can be confident in growing your plants.
Here is how you condition your Straw Bale in the easiest way possible.
With many gardening techniques and measures, it could be not very clear to choose the right method. It’s also noted that some of them need many other sources and equipment, which makes it expensive.
What makes this straw bale technique stand out is that a gardener can spend the least amount while contributing to a good yield. The straw bale doesn’t cost you much.
You can either get it from your farm or find it in the market for a lower price. When you lay them on the soil and let them compost, you enhance the texture of your soil.
Most gardeners use this technique when they find out that their soil has become unresponsive and poor.
Once you get your hands on the straw bale, you’ll have to start conditioning it before using it.
We’ve explained how easily you can condition them before using them for your plants.
1. Keep the Straw Bale right under the Sun
Excessive sunlight helps your straw bale. Find a place that has a good amount of sunlight during the day. If the bale is wet, it becomes harder for you to move them around.
In case you’ll have to place it on the grass, use a newspaper underneath. This will keep it away from any weeds and keep it dry.
You don’t need cut the strings or wires that keep the bale together.
2. Positioning the Bale
For better conditioning, turn the bale to face up the side with the cut ends. While using the straw bale, the straw will be folded over the narrow side, while on the other, it is cut.
The area that will be cut should face upwards to absorb the sunlight, water, and other conditioning resources. This is the side that will have the potential to soak up the moisture.
3. Conditioning the bale
Conditioning the bale before planting is essential. If not, the bale decomposes which it wouldn’t be ideal for plants.
Conditioning takes about 10-14 days. This is the most crucial part you must pay attention to.
You must dampen the bale with water for the first three days. (Days 1-3) The bale needs to be damp.
Then, for the next six days, you must add liquid fertilizers to the bale. This is to add nitrogen for faster decomposition of the bale.
You can dilute and use the fertilizers by mixing a capful with a gallon of water. Pour this mixture all over the bale.
Use one cup of ammonium sulfate as a sprinkle on the next three days after using water (Days 4-6)
Reduce it to half a cup in the next three days. (Days 7-9)
On the last day (Day 10), only water the bale. You’ll have to watch the temperature at this step. Use a thermometer to check the temperature if you want.
You’ll have to witness the temperature soaring up and then fall back to the normal or the ambient temperature. You might not find this happening on day ten itself, so keep watering it until you find it is adjusted to the temperature.
Once it’s reached the ambient temperature, it’s good to use.
The straw bale is great for growing a wide variety of plants. You’ll only find a few exceptions, such as tomatoes, corn, and sweet potatoes, as they need a stronger ground to grow on.
Smaller herbs are the best for the straw bale method. It’s ideal for growing plants that need a cooler environment over a hot and humid climate.
How to plant with the bale?
You’ll have to make a hole in the straw bale. Ensure to make it as deep as your plant roots require.
Then place the plant in the straw hole. You must add some potting soil around the plant to keep the plant stable and extra nutrients. Cover the rest with more straw. Now it’s good to go.
Water the plant well, and it’s ready to start growing with the influence of straw bale now.
Watering and fertilizing
Compared to the soil, the straw bale has fewer nutrients, and that’s why it’s very important to fertilize the plants. It’s ideal for adding fertilizer energy a week or once every two weeks.
You’ll have to check on the bale and make sure it doesn’t dry out. If it does, it wouldn’t be helping the plants in any way.
Following these steps and being consistent will allow you to succeed.
The straw bale method will revive your garden. With this method, you can also decorate your garden well, as you can arrange or design your straw in a creative way.
For example, you can cut the hay in various shapes. You will surely have a good gardening experience.
Why should you use the straw bale gardening method?
Straw bale gardening has proved to be an inexpensive and effective option to deal with poor soil conditions. When gardeners suffer from growing their plants on soil with low nutrition, there are a lot of ways to resolve the problem.
The straw bale method is one way. However, it is distinguished from the other ways. The straw bale acts both as a garden bed as well as a main growing booster for the plants.
It has helped gardeners revive their hope with poor soil and grow organic vegetables despite the barriers.
Quick tips for straw bale gardening
- Always keep the straw damp; it can dry quickly.
- Feeding your plants that are growing with straw bale is important, as the straw bale holds very few nutrients.
- Check the Nitrogen content in the fertilizers. You will have to provide your plants with a sufficient amount for their growth.
- Fertilize the plants every two weeks. If your plant is bearing fruit, then you’ll have to fertilize it once every week for its healthy growth.
- Make sure to water the straw bale plants every day.
The straw bale method of gardening enables the gardener to grow their organic plants despite barriers like soil conditions. You can continue to use the straw bale method to enhance your gardening methods.
The straw will ensure to keep up with the growth of your plants for the entire growing period. You could also use the same straw for the next plantation.
It will revive all the nutrients. As a simple and effective gardening method, the straw bale technique has helped many gardeners yield.