If you’re an urban gardener, there’s a good chance you’ve worked with a straw bale garden before. This is a growing fad in our society, thanks to its way of raising plants that are removed from any natural soil. With this method, straw and compost are used as the beds for the plants instead of your typical soil. They’re also very popular because you can plant straw bale gardens practically anywhere, making it easy for you to manipulate and design. In fact, here, all you really have to do is place your plants into the bales and add a little touch of soil. Once that’s done, your garden will begin to grow. However, straw bale gardens are not regenerative, so you will need to replace it annually. How exactly do you grow a straw bale garden, though? If you follow the steps below, you’ll see how super easy it is:
Step 1: You’ll need to start out by purchasing straw bales. These are often found at your local nursery or farm, coming in at a size of 2 by 4 feet. Don’t worry, though. They don’t cost a lot, ranging in price from 2 to 5 dollars. Typically, 3 to 4 large plants fit in one straw bale so plan accordingly.
Step 2: To get an idea for how your bales will fit in your garden, lay them out one next to the other. We recommend placing your bales in an environment where there’s plenty of sunlight such as a backyard, patio, driveway or balcony. Remember, since you are leaving the bales outdoors, they could get dirty over time. To combat this, put a sheet or tarp under the bales.
Step 3: Since straw bales decompose on their own, they have a tendency of overheating, which is horrible for healthy growing conditions. This is why you must thoroughly water your bales for anywhere from 5 to 7 days until they are completely cooled off. Once the insides of the bale have a lower temperature than your body, they are ready for plants.
Step 4: Grab a trowel and start digging holes in the top of the bales, where you’ll be placing each plant. We suggest making the holes 6 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 8 inches deep.
Step 5: With some composting soil, fill in the holes. Then, water the bales so that the soil you’re using can fully settle. When you’re done with that, begin planting your seeds. Keep in mind, your bales should never be dry so continue to water them regularly.
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