I have started to plant the “conditioned” (see also… Straw Bale Gardens by Joel Karsten for the conditioning process…) straw bales in my garden, and it has been fun and exciting. It is always fun to try something new.
I have saved room in this straw bale bed to add more tomato plants that I have been growing from seed. Right now, I have a pretty good crop of mushrooms that are part of the decomposing process of the straw bales. They will eventually die back and the plants will take over the bales.
I planted sugar snap peas in this area and by placing an old trellis between the bales and zip tying it to tomato stakes placed in the ground, it made a great place for the peas to run up on.
I planted two bush tomato plants in pots, then added these walls of water to protect them from the lower night temperatures. I have had these walls of water for several years and just never put them to use. I am trying for less wasting of resources this year, and that has also been fun… trying to see different things I can do with what I already have available.
The straw bale gardening has been the most exciting gardening project that I have ever tried. Due to the shortage of straw last year, the bales were a little pricey, but the experiment has been worth the money. Hopefully the straw crop will turn out better this year, and the price will come back down for the next gardening season.
If you are trying to save money in the garden, it is probably better to work on making more compost to add to existing beds. If you have never started a garden, the straw bales would be a great way to begin. There is no tilling of ground, or the adding of anything but fertilizer and water. It has perfect pest and disease control built in, since none of these exist in fresh straw bales like they do in your soil.
I am not protecting any of the plants in the bales from cutworms, or squash borers since the rough straw sticking out is a natural deterrent. Also, there is very little weeding to do.
Another good benefit from the straw bales is that once they have been used for the season, they can be composted to use in the garden next year.
So if any of you are thinking about a garden, keep following my progress with the straw bales over this season and see if it might be worth your time.
“See then that ye walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-18