Do you have bad soil? Do you have trouble leaning or gardening? If any of these issues concern you, straw bale gardening is a great alternative to gardening! Straw bale gardening uses decaying straw bales instead of the soil to grow vegetables. Its concept is similar to that of elevated gardening, but its price is much lower.
These tips will help you set up and garden successfully using straw bales!
Bundles come in two varieties: straw and feed. Straw is a side-effect of the grain business and contains just the empty stem of plants, for example, wheat, grain, and oats. Roughage bunches frequently contain an assortment of dried herbs and numerous seeds; they are typically less expensive, yet they become awful and separate too rapidly. Slugs can be acquired at some greenhouse focuses or bought legitimately from ranchers. They are increasingly accessible to buy in the fall after the grain collect.
Spread a few layers of newspaper or weed tissue under the area where you plan to place your bales to keep weeds out of the ground. Bales can be placed on your concrete driveway, on your existing garden floor or anywhere else you want to garden. Remember that moisture from the ball can damage wooden decks and that bales become quite heavy, which is worrisome for rooftop gardening.
The balls are held together with 2 or 3 strands of string, which keeps the ball in its revealing rectangular shape. Make sure this string is not cut as this will allow the ball to come off. Bales should be placed on the side with the narrow side up so that the string is parallel to the ground.
One of the most important steps is the preparation or conditioning of the balls for cultivation. You need about two weeks for this. Conditioning starts the process of failure; the microbes in the straw generate heat during their work. The key to conditioning is watching and waiting for the bale temperature to stabilize.
Days 1 to 3: Water the balls thoroughly until the water flows downwards.
Days 4 to 6: Sprinkle 1 cup of high nitrogen fertilizer (urea, ammonium sulfate, blood meal, lawn fertilizer) on the top of each bale and water well.
Days 7 to 9: Sprinkle 1/2 cup of high nitrogen fertilizer on the top of each bale and water well.
Day 10 until the end: Stop fertilizing but continue to water.
The balls are ready to be planted when they are no longer warm to the touch. They should be about as hot as the temperature of your body.
If you use seedlings, use a garden trowel to create a hole in the top of the straw bale, between the pieces of straw, slightly larger than the seedling. Then plant seedlings, one per hole, at the recommended spacing. If you are planting the seed, spread a layer of potting soil on the top of the bale. Sow the seeds in the potting soil. The root systems will grow down and end up in the ball over time.
Heavy plants such as corn are preferable for gardens in open ground. Growing plants can tip over, especially as the balls weaken as they decompose. Perennial root crops, such as rhubarb or raspberries, should also be avoided. They do not like to be transplanted every year in new balls.
The strawbales dry quickly, so water them regularly. A garden hose or drip irrigation system draped over the bales allows you to save a lot of watering time and provide adequate moisture to the plants.
Mushrooms are a sign that your straw bale garden is growing well and that the bales are breaking down slowly, as they should. Pick them up and throw them away if you wish, but avoid eating them as they can potentially be dangerous.
At the end of the growing season, the bales should have been broken down into a compost pile. Spread this compost around your flower beds and other gardens, or allow it to decompose further in winter before spreading.