Straw bale gardening looks like an icky thing to try and get into and have written extensively about it too. But then, maybe I’m just a tad ahead of my time as this is one of those perennial flower and plant container gardening schemes that never really seem to come to a standstill. The Straw Bale is treated exactly like regular soil garden too. All three gardens are at least a few feet away from each other so that they all receive the same level of sunlight and fresh air.
There are two ways to incorporate straw bale gardening into your vegetable garden. You can either grow your own strawberries and tomatoes or you can buy and place a Straw Bale garden over the tomatoes and strawberries. There are advantages and disadvantages for both methods. This article explores some of the pros and cons of Straw Bale Gardening to help you decide whether it is right for your garden.
The obvious benefit of Straw Bale gardening is that it gives your plants a chance to take root in a prepared environment. So, if you have hardier plants such as strawberry tomato or squash that normally do well in soil that is rich in nutrients but which have been neglected and left out in the cold it may well benefit them by supplying them with the exact environment they need to flourish. For example hardier vegetables such as red cabbage do better in Straw Bale Garden soil as the acid levels in the soil to create a less hospitable environment for bacteria and fungal spores to thrive in. Some soil test samples have shown that Straw Bale Gardening plants do just as well in a variety of soils as their more traditional soil neighbours.
Straw Bale Gardening is a great way to give your garden variety, as plants from all kinds of gardens will thrive. As a Straw Bale garden is a self contained system, it makes it easier for a gardener to rotate different plants from year to year, or for the gardener to vary the types of flowers and vegetables they grow, depending on the time of year. This means that Straw Bale gardening is perfect for people who have less time or who cannot rotate their plants as often. Also Straw Bale gardening is a good way to introduce contrasting colours into a garden as some plants do better in sunny conditions than other plants and some plants do better in shady conditions than others.
Another advantage of Straw Bale gardening is that, because it is so successful, it is easy to find readymade Straw Bales and mix them with the soil in your garden, so that you do not have to make your own. Most gardeners find that Straw Bale Gardening provides the perfect ‘green’ garden that they are looking for when they are growing their own produce, especially fruit and vegetables. Straw Bale gardening can also be very effective if you are trying to create a habitat within your garden where insects are unable to thrive. Many insect species like to feed on green leafy vegetables, so if you are attempting to introduce a Bamboo Fungus, for example, an appropriate Straw Bale Garden will provide an ideal location for them to live.
The advantages of Straw Bale Gardening are clear; it is easy to keep clean, there are no weeds to get in the way of your produce and you don’t have to keep cutting your plants away to clip off the top leaves, which can be damaging to the tender roots. It also provides gardeners with the benefit of seasonal blooms and color, helping to bring to life the vibrant colors of summer into the winter. Straw Bale gardening is also an excellent way of feeding the lawn, as it does not require fertilizers, as many other vegetable gardens do. Finally Straw Bale gardening provides a simple way of saving money on produce, as you will only need to buy what is in season in your local area and nothing more.
The disadvantages of Straw Bale Gardening are a few, it does take some time and effort to maintain the lush green environment that you will require to grow your own vegetables. Two years after initiating Straw Bale gardening many gardeners find that the soil in their gardens has lost most of its nutrients and this usually occurs due to the watering of their plants. In addition to watering your plants it is important to give your plants their required amount of compost, which helps to improve the health of both the soil and the plants. If you do not compost to your soil will become an ideal environment for bacteria to breed in, which can ultimately kill your plants.
There are many people who claim that Straw Bale gardening is attractive, others feel that it is harsh on the plants and that it is difficult to keep in check. Whilst it is true that Straw Bale gardens do require more attention than most other gardens, they are well worth the extra effort. If you are a beginner looking to grow your own vegetables then the idea of Straw Bale gardening may appear a bit daunting. However, it really does not require a large amount of work, and with a little advice from an expert gardener you will soon discover the beauty of Straw Bale Gardening. As you develop your knowledge of Straw Bale Gardening, you will probably start to enjoy the benefits of being able to grow your own vegetables in your own environment, and maybe even get involved in growing your friends’ plants.