I love making vegetable gardens in straw bales. It has to be one of the easiest ways to grow your own, especially if you don't have any soil for a garden, or if you soil is not usable. All it takes to make one is:
- Straw Bale
- Garden Shears
- Sterile Soil (soil with no seeds in it)
- Seeds or transplants
Anyone can buy a straw bale, they range from $5 to $10, depending on the size. Make sure that you buy straw, and not hay. This is very important because hay contains seeds and those seeds will grow, and ruin your garden. I use organic potting soil for my dirt, old metal scissors, and my own transplants that I started inside in my growing trays.
Straw bale gardens can be put just about anywhere there is at least 6 hours of sunlight. They can even be put directly on concrete, or a wood or plastic deck.
Step by Step instructions on How to Make a Straw Bale Garden:
1. Put your straw bales, cut end up, where you want to keep them.
2. Thoroughly water them with a hose, making sure that the interior is completely wet. Water them daily for 5 days to allow the decomposition process to begin. After 5 to 6 days, you should be able to stick your fingers down into the bale and feel moisture and heat. If so, you are ready to continue.
6. If you are growing plants that need stakes, like pole beans or tomatoes, make sure that the stakes you use are about twice as long as usual. They need to be driven all the way through the bale in order to be stable enough. You may have better luck using cages, as long as they have extra long stakes.
I hope you have great success with your gardens!