Straw Bale Culture -- Growing Veggies In Straw Bales

Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by The_Blob, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    This looks like something I'd like to try.

    From Mother Earth News: "I think I've discovered the perfect compromise method for growing tomatoes (and other garden produce) indoors . . . a Golden Mean between the high-tech effectiveness of hydroponic cultivation and the simplicity—and lower cost—of raising plants in soil. I'm talking about straw-bale culture, a technique I heard of only after hauling some 300 cubic feet of pumice, gravel, and dirt to fill the planting beds of my new solar-heated greenhouse.

    As I paused in the middle of that task to contemplate (and curse) the necessity of trucking still more earth to my conservatory, some sympathetic friends came to my rescue with tales of "soilless" hothouse gardening. Needless to say, the idea caught my fancy immediately. After all, who wouldn't exchange the transfer of tons of terra firma for the lifting of a little straw? "

    B's Cucumber Pages: Greenhouse Cucumbers

    About Nichols Garden Nursery

  2. DaddyOh

    DaddyOh Member

    A bale of straw would me very much like organic rockwool until it begins to break down. But after a single crop you would have some nasty molding black bales to move to compost.

  3. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    The guy down the road plants his tomatoes in straw and swears by it. (but I have never tried it)

    Let us know how it works out.
  4. bacpacker

    bacpacker Well-Known Member

    I'm gonna try this for a part of my crops this year. Tomatos, peppers, cantaloupe, squash are gonna get tryied. Not a full crop but maybe half.
  5. HardCider

    HardCider Well-Known Member

    I've looked into straw bale gardening and it looks like a great idea. Be aware that it takes quite a lot of fertilizer and water to prepare the straw.
  6. txcatlady

    txcatlady Texan

    I always have problems with fire ants getting in my hay. They love to get in it, on it and under it. Pesky little boogers. I find them when they start stinging. What solution would you plan to stop them? Over and out is slow and expensive. Some of the other ant killers are hard on plants.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  7. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

    Each spring when I start tilling and mowing I hang a jug of "Amdro" on the tiller and mower handles then dose each mound I come across.

    I dont like to use it in or around the garden but have come to the conclusion its about the only way to keep them under control. If I dont get them killed off early they will start killing the plants when it gets hot and dry.

    They will bore through Okra plants at the roots and travel all the way up the stalk and exit at the crown then feed on the blooms and young pods, they make their nests in the roots of other plants and do enough damage that the plants die - they move on to the next one then.

    A non toxic way to control them is to pour boiling water into the nest, it will kill them and anything else around the nest so its not a real good solution in all cases but it is a weapon in the arsenal against them.

    I have used DE and it does work but it takes forever to complely kill the mound.
  8. txcatlady

    txcatlady Texan

    Thanks Davarm. Once it warms up I might as well start after them. I know they are there. I am kinda out of sight, out of mind these days. Prep is the key though for a good garden. Appreciate the idea. I usually put off until totally overrun. Stay on top of yard ants due to grands and that helps the garden. One year they really took out my taters. Ants, not grands!
  9. Hooch

    Hooch Well-Known Member

    I had a bale sitting next to the compost pile and taters took the bale over. They grew under and into the straw bale..was a fun treasure hunt when I went to use a chunk of straw I got some taters too...It wasnt a intentional planting but they seemed to dig it and I tend to let nature do as it pleases most of the time if anything just to see what happens. I do know taters love compost and Ive gotten monster taters outta and around my compost pile..
  10. PrepN4Good

    PrepN4Good BORN PESSIMIST; we are doomed

    Here's what I don't understand, so someone please educate me. :)

    How does the veggie draw nutrients into itself without soil? Just thru the fertilizer used? Otherwise I don't see a mater being very nutritious, just growing in straw & occasionally watered. What am I missing? :scratch
  11. power

    power ExCommunicated

    The straw or hay begins to rot almost immediately. It is sort of like growing in a compost pile. Plants do very well. You can continue using the bales until they completely rot. Mine last several years as I enclose them in a raised bed. When the bale rot just add new ones on the top.
  12. k0xxx

    k0xxx Supporting Member

    We're trying straw bales this season in one section of the garden. I've fertilized with high nitrogen fertilizer and followed up with a balanced fertilizer as per directions. We had a couple of freezes since and now I'm getting ready to plant, but the bales have been taken over by mushrooms. Is this going to be a problem, with planting the taters?