My Straw Bale Garden Experiment

After seeing a Straw Bale planting on a television show, I began reading about planting in Straw Bales. From what I've gathered, it's not an uncommon practice in the South, but I've yet to find anyone from the South who is familiar with it. Anyway, We've decided to give it a try this year. I began with the purchase of 12 bales of straw from a local farmer. I put them in place over a bed of gravel that used to be the floor of my portable garage for my old car. Severe weather destroyed the garage after about 4 years. So, we had this graveled spot next to the permanent garage. It seemed as if it would be a good place to set the bales, because Carol had scratched out spots for 4 Azalea plants which did well for two years. 

Here are the pictures of the experiment after 'seasoning' the bales. Seasoning the bales means to soak them and keep them wet for about 7 to 10 days, to get the heat inside, down. As the straw is wetted, it begins to decay, causing heat to build up inside them. 

May 19, 2007

Straw Bales, after seasoning and top-dressing
. Transplants go directly into the bales.

I found it easiest to use a hatchet to cut the straw, when making holes for inserting the plants. I used just enough fresh topsoil to pack around the plants, just to keep them in place. Two Tomato plants can be planted in one bale or, up to three pepper plants. I'm sure I'll have to stake them, and any other tall plant.

Some of the bales were top-dressed with a couple of inches of fresh top-soil, for sowing seeds. I made hills for Cucumbers and Squash. 

Photos after nearly four weeks. 

June 14, 2007


After dressing up garden with a lattice fence.   Cherry Tomato plant with tiny tomatoes

More Photos

Page 2  June 14 - after 4 weeks      

Page 3  June 26 - Deer damage and replanting

Page 4  August 7 - August reflections     

I'll try to add new photos, about every 3 or 4 weeks, to show the progress of my experiment. 

Web sites I found for information are:

Nichols Garden Nursery

Carolina Country

Pioneer Thinking

The Decatur Daily (Living Today July 30, 2004)

Dave's Garden

Beginner Gardening

I Can Garden

Thanks for visiting, 

God bless, 

Steve (Pappaw)

Pappaw's Thoughts