Straw Bale Gardens: A fun experiment!
An imaginative way to upcycle straw bales and grow all the vegetables you need,…easily…
Flea Market gardeners love to repurpose things and use ordinary items for creative projects. This type of creative inspiration struck Joel Karsten after seeing hay and straw bales grow sprouts as they decomposed on the farm. He also found himself with a yard full of heavy clay and was disappointed that he’d have to replace all his soil to grow a vegetable garden. That’s when he remembered the straw bales of his youth, growing healthy thistle weeds!
Joel then tried growing vegetable plants in the straw bales purposely and it worked! After some experimentation, he found easy techniques for using straw bales as a growing medium for tomatoes, squash, beans and lettuce to name a few of the veggies that can be grown successfully this way. What I like best is the way bales can be laid out in a neat formations, use less soil,…way less… and best of all, are raised beds,..up off the ground.
Joel’s experiment led to a book and a website , Straw Bale Gardens and he has an impressive speaking schedule explaining his easy, fun and productive gardening method. Would you like to try this method of vegetable gardening? I would!
My fun experiments with straw bale gardening
Part 1: Apr-May Creating a straw bale garden
Part 2: Jun-Jul Growing a straw bale garden
Part 3: Aug-Sept Harvesting the straw bale garden
Becky Carson, a Flea Market Gardener, has been doing this for 2 years now, she says. She tells us, “I found a website where they suggested sprinkling soil on top of the bales. I have been leaving mine outside for 6 weeks to condition them. DON”T cut the baling twine. I prop them beside the timbers of my raised beds. When I’m ready to plant I scoop out 3 or 4 handfuls of straw and replace it with compost and Miracle Gro potting soil. Also add a Tablespoon of Epson salts. Stakes are place every other bale and I run twine to hold the plants up.”
Sarah Lynch-Gregg says “I lived in an apartment and had three straw bales on my terrace. I grew tomatoes, cukes, peppers, squash and zucchini! The plants grew GREAT! It was so easy, you just have to make sure you water well when you do water because the straw doesn’t hold the water a lot, just do it like every other day if you live in a really hot climate like we do in the south.”
*Last year we had a drawing for two of the books Joel sent me
The two winners, picked with an online random umber generator, were Patti Kafton and Angela Carrera,…here are their reviews after they received their books…
IT’S HERE! The “Straw Bale Gardens” book by Joel Karsten arrived in my mailbox on Friday. It is WONDERFUL-ly informative. I first opened it to the dedication page and nearly cried. I have so many vivid memories of my OWN Grandma Josephine working her garden way into her 90’s. We were NOT ALLOWED in her garden as children. She tended it herself, even when she was so frail she literally crawled down the alleys to rid her treasured space of any weed that dared to pop up! THANKS, Sue, and Flea Market Gardening, and JOEL, for my new treasure!
Just received my Straw Bale Gardens book, thank you so much. as soon as I opened it, I started reading it!! I have got to do this this year!! I’ll take photos as soon as I can locate some Straw bales!!! after all, this IS the Garden State!!! Thank you again for this giveaway!!! And I’m using your note as a book mark!!!