New Home & Garden Trend: Straw Bale Gardening

by | Apr 10, 2019

Get Out Of The Weeds With Summer Gardening

Last Summer, we had dreams of fresh salsa and eating peas out of the pod…what we ended up with was a bed full of weeds and a few measly tomatoes. 

Our foray into gardening started the first spring after we moved into our home. We had tried smaller gardens at previous homes and loved both the process and the rewards.  I love to cook, and we both agreed that nothing is better than a garden tomato. Our new backyard had plenty of space for a garden so we wanted to give it a shot. How hard could it be, right?

Building an Impressive Home Garden in Vain

After a lot of research, we built a walk-in garden area over the course of a weekend. Three ground-level beds in a horseshoe design, enclosed with eight-foot walls, which were necessary to keep out the deer.  We prepped the beds, brought in fresh dirt, fertilized the soil, built supports for the vines and climbing plants, installed the drip hose and waited in expectation for the cornucopia of produce.

That was two years ago.  Our garden has been underwhelming.  It’s not that we haven’t grown anything.  We have. But for the amount of work and money and time spent on it, we were definitely not wanting to start the process all over again for the third year. Our biggest problem, we think, was the excessive amount of weeds, more specifically snake grass.  At one time our out lot was designated as a flood plain. So the amount of snake grass that found its way up through our garden beds was next level. It was a daily struggle and no matter how hard we worked, it was impossible to get ahead of it.


Growing Without Weeds: Straw Bale Gardening

Enter – Straw Bale Gardening.

This new-to-us concept is essentially forgoing soil and planting your veggies into a self-composting bale of straw. The concept seems to check all of our boxes.  No new dirt, easy to get started, and a bumper crop of veggies. We’ve watched YouTube videos like this one and read countless websites . My aunt who lives in Iowa City had great success last year using this method, so we picked her brain and decided to give it a shot.

Last weekend we covered the current beds with corrugated metal to give the bales a support system and block any weeds from growing through the current soil.  We found organic bales and started the fertilizing schedule to turn these bales into our compost-filled resources.

Our hopes are high and we’ll report back as the season progresses.  Have you heard of this method or tried it? We would love to hear your feedback!

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