Growing Vegetables in Strawbales
Posted: Feb-04-2004 at 10:28pm
Garden of Eatin', one of the gardens at the Flower and Garden Show displayed strawbales that were mulched and then planted with greens. You can see a photo of it here.
I thought what a marvelous idea for a quick garden or for small spaces. You can tuck a lot of greens into a bale of straw.
Advantages I could think of was a brand new home without time to prepare bed or soil for planting. A garden with very little room could put in a few bales of hay and have an almost instant garden of greens.
Although I don't have a photograph of the whole garden it was a beautiful vegetable garden with a lot of emphasis on planting a row for the hungry. Which we can certainly find room using the straw for beds. Donate extra produce to local food banks, soup kitchens or shelters.
One tip told to me was when slugs show up put a slurry of coffee grounds around the vegetables. The slugs eat and die.
So anyone try this method before? Any comments, likes or dislikes about this method? Anyone wanting to give it a try and can you think of drawbacks to it?
Posted: Feb-05-2004 at 1:18pm
I overheard the demo person explaining that it was also good for folks who had problems with moles--raises the tender little delicacies right out of their reach. She also explained that although it was best for leafy veggies you could make it work for root vegetables by digging a trench in the straw and filling with soil/compost.
Posted: Feb-08-2004 at 6:48am
I think there might be another advantage to straw bales for those of us with dogs: the bales act as a barrier to keep the dogs away from the tender plants, and gets the yummies out of reach. I've given up on veggie gardens--the only space I have for it is in the back yard, where the dogs live. Our Airedale mix has feet nearly the size of dinner plates, and he is a grazer. The one year I planted tomatoes, the humans got 2 Romas; the dog got the rest. He'd pick them right off the vine as soon as they got ripe. I may have to try the straw bale technique.
Posted: Feb-08-2004 at 3:06pm
I can see a lot of advantages to this and I am going to try it myself. I also thought about making some squares with bales and filling in the center with soil and see how that did. Always fun to try different things!
Posted: Feb-09-2004 at 1:23pm
Weird - that link to the image doesn't work unless you're logged in.
Posted: Feb-09-2004 at 3:48pm
Oh that's right, unless you are a member you can't see that section, if I remember right.
Posted: Feb-09-2004 at 7:10pm
For anyone wanting to try this, I would wait a year. To grow vegetables, not to get ready to grow them.
I have used straw as a mulch, compost frame, and other uses for many years. But my past experience says that one should buy straw in the fall, let it overwinter and sprout in our rain, and then let it dry out to kill the new wheat plants during the summer.
Without this first year, you'll find that you will have lots of wheat growing where you want to have you vegetables, especially if you sow and then water the vege's.
Again one winter to sprout and a summer to dry/kill the wheat will give you a decent base frame for planting. Use the same bales to frame your compost piles and you get double duty and after another year or two, browns(carbon) to include in the compost.
Posted: Feb-29-2004 at 12:24pm
I don't think that right about the slugs dying from coffee grounds??? But is it??, no one mentioned if they knew??? I was thinking if it was I would start hitting some coffee shops begging for grounds. LOL. I know the earthworms like them a lot. Maybe I will experiment around plants the slugs love.
Posted: Mar-01-2004 at 5:08pm
Coffee/caffiene will kill slugs. Just do a Google search with the two words and you'll find that the effect was discovered in by USDA researchers in the 'Islands' and past on to UK and many other press sources.
In the vege patch, I would wonder about the acidity of the soil afterwards reacting to the plant.
All recounts that I have heard is that Starbucks, et. al., bag and are glad to see you ask for them.
Posted: Mar-01-2004 at 10:46pm
That is great news. I tried the slug bait in the plastic bottle thing. That worked great until I found a little tree frog trapped in one- and then I didn't think the idea was so great. Beers out, all the dogs in the neighborhood love it. I have a friend that works at a coffee place in town. Looks like she will be my best friend now. LOL. Hmmmm your probably right about the vegi garden. I don't grow many veggies though. I will probably do that different.
Thanks for replying. I appreciate it. I'll do that search.
Posted: Mar-03-2004 at 10:28am
'Back in the olden days...' in the '70's, I read an article about using straw for mulch and have used it regularly ever since. and Yes you are right about letting the straw winter over it keeps weeds down and adds texture to our clay garden soil. A good idea.
Another great help is to get straw from a grass farmer--bailed fescue has lots less weeds and seed, because they raise it for a seed crop, the spears are finer in texture You just have to get it before they burn! Beside keeping the soil in good shape, it also aids in reducing water usage, by reducing evaporation.
Posted: Mar-16-2004 at 9:32am
Coffee grounds or brewed coffee around your plants not only kills slugs but is great for plants that enjoy the acidity. I used to use this for my hydrangea bushes and it worked great. Here's a little more info on that:
I am defintely going to give the straw bale thing a try, was it ever mentioned if specific types of straw is better than others? I was told that straw attracts red worms which are great for the soil.