How to Use the Straw Bale Vegetable Gardening Technique
If you are looking to grow your own vegetables, herbs, or flowers, you may want to consider trying straw bale gardening. Unlike conventional gardening methods, the growing medium is free and easy to create. But before you can plant your vegetables and herbs, you must first condition the bales. This requires soaking the bales in water daily for at least three days. As a result, they begin to heat up and decompose.
Once the bales have cooled down, the planting surface should be cut to allow water and nutrients to penetrate the bales. Moisture will promote the growth of bacteria, which are necessary for the decomposition of plants. Soaking the bales will also help to provide ample nutrients for the plants. Lastly, the soil surrounding the bales should be plowed regularly to prevent weeds and other problems from developing.
Once the ground is prepared, you can begin planting. Make sure to plant seedlings in the open space provided by the bales. You can also use a sharp trowel to wiggle the soil so the seedlings will fit comfortably. Don’t plant your seedlings deeper than their nursery pot. Taller plants should be placed towards the back of the bale, so they don’t shade the shorter ones. Also, stake them with long stakes so that they won’t fall over.
After the bales have been soaked, you can apply a balanced fertilizer. It can be organic or synthetic. Apply this fertilizer for two weeks, and water them well. The bales should feel warm and crumbly. If they don’t, they may need to continue composting for another few days. This will depend on outside temperatures. It’s important to water the bales every day. In addition, you should add a cup of fertilizer to them every day to encourage the soil to fully absorb it.
If you’re not able to work with soil that’s too rich, straw bale gardening is an excellent option. You can use the straw bales as mulch, potting soil, or even a compost pile. Once the straw has decomposed, they will provide a rich mass of organic matter. After a season, you can collect the bales and compost them. You’ll be glad you did!
Once you’ve conditioned the bales, it’s time to fertilize them. For the first four days, you should sprinkle a cup of ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) or half a cup of urea (46-0-0). The numbers after the fertilizer names refer to the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash content. The higher the number, the better; higher the nitrogen content, the faster the bales decompose and condition.