Mizuna transplants in a straw bale garden.
Straw bale gardens are a simple form of raised bed, created by cutting a small, shallow depression in the top of a partially-fermented straw bale (it should be left out from Fall), and filling it with compost. Straw bales can often be found for free after they have been used for decoration: I received 8 from a senior’s home.
The compost is “watered in” and sinks into the spaces in the straw bale, and more compost is added on top. Once the bale has been sitting for a week or two (and it is “settled”) it can be planted with a variety of things.
Because of the decomposing action of the straw, the straw bale gardens are warmer than other gardens. In the very early spring, when the temperature is sitting around 10-15˚C, mine are planted with peas, lettuces, and cabbage-family crops. Their growth is greatly accelerated by the warmth of the bales. On nights that dip below 0˚, crops are covered in a plastic cloche.
Once the season heats up (20˚C and up, without extreme nighttime lows) and I have taken my first harvest, the bales will be re-planted with tomatoes, peppers, tobacco, nasturtiums, and other heat-lovers.
This versatile raised bed is by and large “weeding free,” although the occasional seed will sprout from the straw itself. I am gently pulling these out and planting a little square of them elsewhere in the garden.
#garden hacks #diy
Straw bale gardening is quite popular around here as well. It’s important to use straw as opposed to hay, which will begin to regrow. Straw will simply compost as it breaks down.
One of our users swears by it for growing potatoes as well.