If you are a gardener like me and have limited space, a great way to grow food is in a straw bale garden. Straw bale gardening is basically the same as growing in a raised bed, except it involves using bales of straw to raise up the soil level.
This gives plants an extra boost of nutrients from the soil and helps them resist pests, weeds and diseases because of the higher elevation.
Before use straw bale it’s important to know what kind of fertilizer to use in straw bale gardening and all other things about straw bale.
What is Straw Bale Gardening?
Straw bale gardening is a form of raised bed gardening where you use bales of straw as the “soil” in which to grow your plants.
This method uses straw instead of dirt because straw retains nutrients and helps keep the roots of your plants moist, while also preventing weeds from growing around the base of your plants.
It is also much easier than traditional gardening—no digging, weeding or tilling. All you have to do is prepare the bale, plant your seeds and water it.
What Kind of Fertilizer to Use in Straw Bale Gardening?
There are many types of fertilizers you can use for your straw bale garden, but it all depends on what you’re growing and where you live. Here’ is a brief overview of the different types of fertilizer you can use in your straw bale garden:
1) Organic Fertilizer: Organic fertilizer is made from plant and animal materials which have broken down over time. This nitrogen rich material breaks down more slowly than chemical fertilizers. The primary benefit to using organic fertilizer is that it is environmentally friendly, and causes less damage to the soil around your plants.
2) Chemical Fertilizer: Chemical fertilizer contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, as well as other nutrients such as sulphur and iron. While these nutrients are essential for plant growth, they also cause damage to plants when used in excess or when combined with certain types of soil. For this reason, chemical fertilizers should be used sparingly due to their high salt content.
3) Compost Tea: Compost tea is created by immersing compost in water for a period of time in order for the compost to leach into the water. The tea is then sprayed onto plants to add nutrients back into the soil and improve plant health.
But when it comes to fertilizing your garden, you should use a natural fertilizer. If you do not use natural fertilizer, the chemicals can be washed away with the rain and will get into the water supply.
People who use natural fertilizers usually are concerned about the environment and want to be good citizens.
The downside of using natural fertilizers is that these fertilizers are not as strong or as potent as chemical fertilizers.
If you want your plants to grow fast, you should use chemical fertilizers. However, if you want your plants to be safe from chemicals, then choose to use only natural fertilizers.
The Benefits or advantage of Straw Bale Gardening
The benefits of Straw Bale Gardening include:
- A raised bed that warms faster than traditional garden beds.
- A super-fast composting process that delivers great soil for your vegetables.
- No digging, no kneeling, no bending over – so it’s easy on your back and knees.
- A great solution for poor quality soil.
- A good option if you don’t have space for a garden but would like to grow some veggies at home.
- They are great for edible plants that need constant care, like tomatoes, potatoes and cucumbers.
- They can be turned into a beautiful piece of art or a small bench in your yard.
Disadvantage of Straw Bale Gardening
They can be difficult to maintain if you don’t know what you’re doing. You must make sure that the soil around them doesn’t dry out or else you will lose your plants.
They must also be watered regularly, so if you’re not home all day then this isn’t the best option for you. If a plant needs fertilizer, then this is also not the best choice for you.
Straw does not absorb water like soil does, so keeping your plants healthy during those months can be difficult for you. This could lead to your plants dying off during those months, which means you will have to start from scratch again in the spring.
Another disadvantage has to do with pests and diseases that could be introduced into your garden with this method.
Straw bales are open to the environment and other types of vegetation, so it allows more room for problems like insects or disease to spread throughout your garden quicker than they would if you were using a different method.
What you Need to make a Straw Bale Garden
Straw bale gardening is a great way to grow your own food in a small space. It doesn’t require any tools or chemicals, and you can get started right away.
Here is what you will need:
-a straw bale
-soil (at least six inches deep)
-any seeds or plants that you’d like to plant
You can easily find a straw bale at your local gardening centre, as they are increasingly popular as planters. You’ll need enough soil to fill in around it—six inches should do it.
If you don’t have access to soil from somewhere else, you can always make your own by mixing compost into the existing soil until it is at least six inches deep.
Assembling the Straw Bales
Assembling the bales for use in the garden is simple. To begin, get a large tarp or sheet of plastic to protect the ground from dirt and straw.
Place the bales on top of it and pull out the wire that holds them together. Cut away any extra twine or wire that might be used to secure the straw together.
Remove as many of the twine ropes as possible so they are not in the way of planting or watering.
The next step is to move your bales off of the plastic sheet and onto a flat area in your garden.
The bales can now be placed on their sides to make them easier to handle, or laid flat with one end on top of another and covered with more plastic sheeting for protection from rain and sun. Now you are ready to start planting!
Watering the Straw Bales Garden
Watering straw bales is the process of keeping them full of water for the bale gardening to continue. Normally, you would have to deal with watering plants individually but with a bale garden, it is much easier and more efficient way for gardening.
It is just a matter of placing some straw in a bale and letting it set there and start growing. The challenge with straw bale gardening is that they are very sensitive to water loss.
They need regular watering because they dry out quickly if left unattended, which can affect the plant growth immensely.
There are two general ways of watering the straw bales: sprinkling and flooding.
Sprinkling is done by placing a hose end or sprinkler head close to the base of the bale and spraying the surface. This method does not encourage good root growth due to uneven wetting and drying of the soil.
Flooding involves laying out plastic sheeting over a bed, putting down a layer of mulch and then placing your bales on top.
Water is then slowly added to the bed while making sure not to allow any water to run off. The reason why flooding is recommended as opposed to sprinkling is because it will eliminate weeds from growing in your Straw Bales garden.
Why Straw bales are better for Gardening?
Straw bale gardening is great for people who live in areas with poor soil as well as for those who are short on time.
It’s also a good option for small spaces since you don’t have to worry about creating rows for vegetables or flowerbeds for flowers.
Straw bale gardens are also a good choice if you have back problems because they allow you to garden without bending over all the time.
A big plus is that you don’t need much space at all! You can even build these gardens on your patio or driveway!
How often should I fertilize my straw bale garden?
The answer is three to four months, and then you’ll no longer need to feed it at all. When your plants are young and tender, they need a lot of help growing—starting with a great compost full of nutrients.
Once the plants are up and growing, the nutrients from the compost can get absorbed into the soil surrounding the bales.
So after about three or four months, your garden will no longer need fertilizer, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop watering it! It’s still important to water your garden regularly so that the plants will continue to absorb the nutrients in its soil.
How do you condition a straw bale with blood meal?
In order to condition a straw bale, first you’ll want to make sure that it is completely dry. You can use a fan or a heat lamp to help speed up this process by increasing air circulation and drying out the inside of the bale.
This should take at least one day, but if you’re in a hurry, you can also turn on the oven for about 30 minutes at low temperature to achieve similar results.
After your bale is dry, start adding blood meal. Add around 20 pounds for every 500 square feet of growing area and work it into the surface of the straw with an trowel or other tool that you don’t mind getting covered in blood meal.