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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here are a few photos of the straw bale garden I planted this year. This method is an easy, inexpensive, and very effective way to grow a garden, especially if you have poor soil conditions. You need to get started a few weeks before you plan on planting, but it only requires less than an hour a day once you have the supplies needed, and the bales placed where you want them. There is virtually no maintenance needed except for watering and fertilizing once it is planted. After the season is over you just compost the old bales along with the roots from the plants.

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Haven't heard of this before. Interesting.
 

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Nice way to garden. I've seen this done before. It is a very good way to garden with limited space. The bales of straw hold moisture and decay giving the garden item food. Very nice and thanks for the Pictures and sharing with us.

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444GS2
 

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What kind of straw did you use. Pine straw or hay. My eyes can't tell from the pics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Very cool. so there is no soil what so ever ???
You have to start your seeds in small containers or buy the plants from a garden store, then you make a hole with a small trowel and transplant them and fill around them with a handful of potting soil or mulch. Other than that it's just like 444GS2 said, the bales decompose and essentially turn into compost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What kind of straw did you use. Pine straw or hay. My eyes can't tell from the pics.
You need to use harvested wheat straw, and turn them on their sides so the cut ends are exposed. This is so water basically goes into the straw and stays there, which helps them begin to decompose.

For the first few days when I'm prepping the bales I use lawn fertilizer with a high nitrogen content, then switch to a fertilizer with a 5-5-5 content. You need to water them every day that you are preparing them. You will know when they start to kick off because you can smell them, and they will be hot if you stick your hand between them. After that point I just keep them wet and let them sit for a week or so, and then plant. They can sit even longer if you aren't ready to plant yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Very interessting, never saw this before. Looks like the warm bale could also protect the small plants from late soil frost as well. How long does it take until they fall apart?
You are correct, if you plant early and the temps drop the bales will provide some heat to protect the plants. You can also tent them with plastic to create a greenhouse type atmosphere while it's still cold outside.

Typically some bales are more dense than others and hold up a little longer, but all of them will hold up until the plants no longer bear fruit or veggies. You do have to start with new bales each year, though. Also, if you build a frame around them they'll hold up a little longer. When I cleaned them out early this spring to start new ones they were about half the size of what they were when new.
 
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