Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1
    Bronze Member Slowpoke Slim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    79
    Location
    Bismarck, ND
    Tractor
    Husqvarna YTH24V48 riding mower, Branson 3725CH

    Default Anyone using the "straw bale" method for gardening?

    We are going to try straw bale gardening this season. Anyone here using it/tried it? We have the how-to book and are going through it. Think we're going to set about 40 bales for our main (vegetable) garden, and set 3-4 bales against the house for strawberries. Now just waiting for the rest of the snow to melt off and the ground to dry out.

  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    353
    Location
    yelm washington
    Tractor
    MF 1734E

    Default Re: Anyone using the "straw bale" method for gardening?

    I used straw bales for tomatoes for a couple of years, it worked fairly well. I tried using them for peas and a few other things with less success. You will end up with a lot of straw for compost and mulch. I did find that digging holes in the bales for tomatoes was not very easy by hand, I ended up using a chain saw to cut the holes. It worked but also clogged the saw rapidly and necessitated pulling the cover off of the drive sprocket every third or fourth hole to clean out the impacted straw.

  3. #3
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    7,895
    Location
    SW WA
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Anyone using the "straw bale" method for gardening?

    I found holes easiest to cut with a Sawzall. But straw bales didn't work well for me. The straw never seemed to decay enough to matter. Articles said to keep them wet for a few days until they got warm inside. Never happened. Planted anyway. Poor results.

    Ignored them for a couple of years, then hauled them away. Still pretty solid, but too heavy with moisture to lift by hand. Might have worked if aged for a year or two first.

    There may be regional differences in straw. I don't know what kind I had.

    Probably would have done better putting planting soil in a wicker basket.

    Bruce

  4. #4
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    190
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Tractor
    several kinds and sizes

    Default Re: Anyone using the "straw bale" method for gardening?

    That dont work here either,---tried a few bales and it was total failure!---The book writers wouldn't know a bale of straw if it fell on them!! LOL!!!----If you compost the bales down for 2 years, then it would work.---Why not just plant in the ground or in containers?? thanks; sonny580

  5. #5
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    353
    Location
    yelm washington
    Tractor
    MF 1734E

    Default Re: Anyone using the "straw bale" method for gardening?

    I found you had to put a lot of nitrogen on the bales to start with but they did not break down much until the following spring. I was using them more to have clean soil to raise tomatoes in than better dirt. I have been gardening here for over thirty years and I have mosaic virus in most of my best locations for growing tomatoes.

  6. #6
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    190
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Tractor
    several kinds and sizes

    Default Re: Anyone using the "straw bale" method for gardening?

    If using bales,--could you put some clean soil on OR in the bales??---That would give the plants a better life and keep the water coming,--maters GOTTA have 5 gallons per plant, per day!!!---also they are HEAVY feeders so lots of fert. is also needed.
    Do you lay the bales flat, or on edge?---on edge would allow you to get lots of soil worked into the bale down deep, making for better water holding and encourage rank root growth, which in turn will make for some really nice fruit!
    This is just what I envision as I think of this method!---I am not saying that if ground is not good for them then this would certainly be worth trying! thanks; sonny580

  7. #7
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    353
    Location
    yelm washington
    Tractor
    MF 1734E

    Default Re: Anyone using the "straw bale" method for gardening?

    Lay the bale on edge, condition for several weeks with water and nitrogen fertilizer, dig hole in bale, fill hole with potting mix and plant tomato starts. For smaller stuff the recommended way was an inch or so of soil on top of bale to sow seeds in, did not find that to work very well. Water by laying soaker hose down the top of the bales. Use only straw, hay will sprout an amazing crop of grass and weeds.

  8. #8
    Elite Member RalphVa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    4,596
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA, USA
    Tractor
    JD 2025R, previously Gravely 5650 & JD 4010 & JD 1025R

    Default Re: Anyone using the "straw bale" method for gardening?

    A couple of our master gardeners have been using these. One gave me a book, Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales by LeHoullier. He also recommended that I buy new bale twine and put onto the bales before conditioning them because, in his experience, the twine fails quicker than the bale.

    I plan to use urine, as I collect mine to monitor my water anyway. For some reason LeHoullier mentions this but seems to not recommend it highly. One of our spring lecture series speakers (a lady) was high on it last year. Urine is sterile and has about 18% nitrogen. After conditioning the bale with some of it, dilute it 10/1 to use as fertilizer. In fact, I'd hold the fertilizer until after your veggies start to form fruit.

    I've at least 6 bales of straw bought last year to surround my banana tree. So, I won't be able to move them to start their conditioning (after buying some more twine) until about Mother's Day around here.

    Ralph
    The natural gardener
    God's original intent

  9. #9
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    264
    Location
    Montgomery, AL
    Tractor
    craftsman lt1000/jd 717a/ mahindra max26 hst

    Default Re: Anyone using the "straw bale" method for gardening?

    I did it a couple years ago, will probably re-visit soon. I let mine 'condition' for probably 3 weeks (think the book said 10 days, but I wasn't in a rush), HEAVY nitrogen fertilizer and lots of water. they didn't really get "hot", but they got warm and started to break down fairly quickly. The dogs were the biggest problem I had, they ate most of my jalapenos. tomatos did well, ghost peppers did well, poor organization on my part made life a little more difficult than it needed to be.

    It's a great way to start a large compost/mulch pile as well. I will say that it's not really a whole lot easier than growing in the ground if you've got good soil.. I don't, so it does help around here.

  10. #10
    Bronze Member Slowpoke Slim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    79
    Location
    Bismarck, ND
    Tractor
    Husqvarna YTH24V48 riding mower, Branson 3725CH

    Default Re: Anyone using the "straw bale" method for gardening?

    Our soil here (at our garden location anyway) is bad. Mostly sand for some reason, even though the area in general isn't "sandy". A previous owner must have come in with a shallow layer of topsoil over the sand. Looked like good soil when we started the garden last year. Burned off old stalks, tilled, planted, all seemed well. Over the course of the season and watering via sprinklers, the sand migrated up and the top soil disappeared. Now it's all just sand.

    Had thought about taking off the first couple feet of sand and putting down good soil, but wasn't looking like we'd get a tractor in time to do so (my first posts, "why is it so hard to buy a tractor"). So wife was looking around and found the straw bale info, and we kind of got interested in trying it out. Now that I actually have a tractor and could take off the sand, I think we still want to try the straw bale method because it sounded so interesting.

    I think I'll build a compost bin (large enough to get my FEL into), and try the bales this year. Worst case I'll have some compost for next year if I go back to traditional soil gardening.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Looking For a Tractor - Using the "Price on Craigslist" Method
    By 5thGenTexan in forum Buying/Pricing/Comparisons
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 09-26-2012, 02:12 AM
  2. Replies: 60
    Last Post: 08-23-2011, 09:44 AM
  3. Square Bale Hay Accumulator/Grapple "Grapalator"
    By nvlong4n1 in forum Attachments
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-06-2010, 09:56 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
© 2017 TractorByNet.com. TractorByNet is a registered trademark of IMC Digital Universe, Inc. Other trademarks on this page are the property of their respective owners.