CHARLOTTE – If you want to have some fun with your vegetable garden, especially if your outside living space is restricted, grab you some wheat straw bales readily available at your local landscape supply store or from your local farmers. Straw bale gardening is easy but some preparation is required.
Condition the bales
First, place the bales with the cut side on top as the planting surface. Then, apply blood meal as an important nitrogen source by poking holes in the top of the straw bale and poring the meal into those cavities. Add water and apply blood meal every other day. By day 18 the bale should be ready for planting.
Early on individual bales need no more than one gallon per day. As the plants take root more water will be necessary but watering frequency should also increase so as not to wash away nutrients per dose. A soaker hose or drip irrigation with automatic timer can efficiently provide the frequency the straw bale garden will require.
When planting seedlings make a hole deep and wide enough to insert the root ball in the cavity. When planting seeds it’s a good idea to place a thin layer of soil over the bale surface. Follow the same row spacing as recommended on the seed packet. Just about every vegetable grows well in a straw bale – from root crops (potatoes and beets) to vining plants (like cucumbers) to leafy greens. Exceptions would be sweet corn and perennial-rooted plants such as asparagus and rhubarb. After the second season bales tend to be too decomposed for another crop but the remaining material makes a great potting medium.
For more information on straw bale gardening email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (704) 888- 1822.