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Straw Bale Gardening


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Straw Bale Gardens
container gardening picture of straw bale garden

Straw Bale Garden

Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Straw bale gardening is also called bale gardening or mistakenly, hay bale gardening. Whatever you call it, it's a great way to grow herbs and vegetables. It's economical and easier on your back and is great for people with mobility issues. I love it and it works incredibly well for me because it allows me, very inexpensively to put a temporary garden in my driveway, where I get the best sun.


To find out if straw bale gardening makes sense for you click below.

Pros and Cons of Straw Bale Gardening

Before we get to the instructions, I want to share a few tips:


  • Don't make a hay bale garden use straw. Make sure you get straw bales, not hay bales. This is key because hay bales will have even more weeds than straw bales.

  • If you can, put your straw bale garden near a water source. Any garden takes a fair amount of water, and though I’ve found that the bales do a pretty good job of retaining water, it’s still great to be right near a hose.

  • Try solarizing your bales. I haven’t tried it myself, but have been told that if you solarize your bales by wrapping them in black plastic for several weeks before you plant them, you can get rid of most weed and sprouting problems. Take off the plastic before you prep your bales

  • Be careful of tall plants. While I have grown giant tomato plants in a straw bale garden successfully, by the end of the season, the bales had started to decompose and the tomato plants started to tilt. You can either grow smaller varieties of tomatoes or keep them pruned and have them grow on wider, rather than taller trellises.

  • Make sure you actually have full-sun. Don’t just guess because almost everyone over estimates sun exposure.

  • Don’t place your bale where water pools. You don’t want your bales sitting in water or your plants will drown.

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