The Pros and Cons Of Straw Bale Gardening

I had heard good things about straw bale gardening, so when I was planning this website I decided to try it. I saw the photo above and it looked so easy. I went to the garden store and bought 2 bales.

Starting My Straw Bale Garden

Right away I ran into difficulty. The bales were heavy, so I had to have help with them both at the garden center and when I got home.  But I finally got them in place along my back fence. I put the sides with string tied around them on the sides so that the "unstrung" sides was on top and botton.

Conditioning The Bales

So now I am ready to plant, right? Wrong. I discovered I had to condition the bales for 10 to 14 days by adding fertilizer and water until they quit decomposing.  To do this, I should add 3 cups of fertilizer to each bale every other day and completely saturate the bale with water. On the off days, I would simply use the water to saturate the bales. Do this for 6 days.  On days 7, 8, and 9 add one and a half cups of fertilizer and saturate the bales. On day 10 I needed to add 3 cups of phosphorus and potassium to each bale. If mushrooms started to grow in my bales they were ready to plant 

Some Cons 

That sure seemed like a lot of work to me. And a lot of stuff to buy. Plus, that would be a lot of water to use in water stressed environments. Then I was told that at the end of the season the bales were finished. They would be compost and I would have to buy more bales for next year.

Re-Purposing My Bales

Well, that was not to my liking. Maybe I should have read the instructions before I bought my bales. However, they did not go to waste. They were used for covering my potatoes, as compost, and mulch when my garden is put to bed for the winter. 

The straw is also a good mulch to put in the walk-ways in and around my beds. I just use a layer thick enough to keep the grass from growing through.

If you want to try your own straw bale garden go to /

Maybe you will like it better than I did.

Have you tried straw bale or soft container gardening? How did it work for you?

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