A peculiar container

 

Straw bale gardening has benefits

By Ray Ridlen

Some benefits include extending the growing season by planting a little earlier in the spring and later into the fall as the bale provides insulation to plant roots, plus, as it decomposes, it provides heat to keep plants warm.

Gardening in straw or hay bales has become a popular way to garden. Growing a garden in bales allows gardening when conditions do not allow working the ground, when there are poor soil conditions or when the gardener may have limited ability to move in or around the garden.

Other benefits include extending the growing season by planting a little earlier in the spring and later into the fall as the bale provides insulation to plant roots, plus, as it decomposes, it provides heat to keep plants warm. Another advantage is plants are growing above the ground so they remain cleaner and there is a reduced chance of ground dwelling insect and disease attacks.

Straw or hay bales from alfalfa, wheat, oats, rye or other cereals are suitable for making such a bed. Straw bales are preferable over hay since straw contains less seed than hay. The straw or hay bale should be tight and held together with two to three strands of twine, preferably made from a biodegradable material such as sisal, but synthetic materials can also be used. Biodegradable twines should be positioned parallel to the ground to avoid their hastened decomposition.

Fresh straw bales should be allowed to decompose for at least one to two weeks before planting. This is important because the microbes in the bale will use any nutrients present to breakdown (or decompose) the straw depriving the plants of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and other essential elements.
Read the full article: NewsOK

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.