The Basics of Straw Bale Gardening
Benefits of Straw Bales
Part 2 of 2
Benefits Of Straw Bale Gardening
Not only does straw bale gardening compensate for poor soil, but it also extends the length of the gardening season and makes planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting a whole lot easier than traditional gardening methods. Read on to learn more about some of the benefits of straw bale gardening.
Straw Bales Act As Natural Raised Beds
Straw bales function as naturally raised garden beds, reducing back strain when stooping and bending to tend the bed. Raised beds are especially appreciated by older gardeners and those with mobility issues. When kneeling and bending is difficult, or you’re just a big fan of raised beds, straw bales provide perfect ready-made containers for growing fruit and vegetables. Unlike raised beds, with straw bale gardening the bale itself serves as the frame. No need to build a support frame means less work.
You Can Plant Earlier In The Spring
Straw bale gardening can significantly lengthen the growing season. When seeds or seedlings are planted in the spring, they require warmth to stimulate growth. Due to the decomposing process, straw bales warm much faster than soil. Once moistened, straw bales start to decompose, a process that initially creates high levels of heat.
After a week or two, the inner temperature of the bales starts to cool to a comfortable warmth that is perfect for planting. The decomposing straw generates warmth for a head start in spring and a longer growing period into fall. If your gardening season is short, the straw bale gardening method gives you up to a month of extra growing time.
No Soil Required
If your soil has a heavy clay content or is too rocky, sandy, or sour to grow a garden successfully, straw bale gardening is the best solution. There’s no soil required. You can plant on the patio, on a rocky hillside, or most anywhere you have a sunny spot in the landscape. Strawbale gardening is perfect for small spaces. There is less mess and no soil-borne disease to attack your crop. No matter if you only have an apartment balcony, or tiny backyard, you can likely find room to accommodate a few straw bales.
Traditional garden beds require a lot of time, energy, and effort before you are ready to plant the first seed. Forget it! With straw bale gardening, there is no need for backbreaking tilling, cultivating, supplementing the soil with fertilizer, pH testing, weeding, or raking.
An excerpt from “The Basics of Straw Bale Gardening“, courtesy of Instead Gardening.