Are you one of those who is really terrible at handling garden soil? You don’t have the first clue on what to do and how to get it right.
Straw bale gardening is a good choice for you then.
So why should a person opt for it?
Two major reasons- you don’t have good, fertile soil in your region to do gardening at. And you are just so terrible at it.
Straw bale gardening makes this process simpler.
Forget about having to work hands deep into rocky soil. You will not have to worry about creating the perfect raised beds or soil erosion concerns.
It just gets better and simpler.
You can even work out to compost the by the end of the season. Making it the ultimate gardening solution for you.
Straw bale is actually a really good and sustainable possibility when it comes to creating vegetable gardens.
Let’s get to know deeper about this kind of gardening and why it works great?
The Dynamics of Straw Bale Gardening
Gardening of any kind is one of the most practiced hobbies that brings people calmness and happiness.
But of course, sometimes the conditions don’t work out perfectly and can cause even more concerns and add to the whole way in which you are getting the gardening setup.
Gardening in Dubai serves its own challenges with the main one being not having good, fertile soil.
This is when this kind of gardening is a good option. Adding to the and benefiting the agricultural stance of the region.
Straw Bale is one of the best ways in which you can grow vegetables and flowers in really small spaces. It is a good method to make use of small spaces to grow large agricultural projects.
The major aspect of this kind is that it is a self-contained garden. The center of the bale plays the major role.
It is where fertilizers are also mixed in so to create a strong decomposition process. The decomposition allows for rich pockets to form for the plants.
Many people are now opting for this kind of gardening because you can easily find straws and there is not much science going into how you will create the garden space.
Before moving on, I want to also touch upon how do straw and hay differ and which is better for your vegetable gardens.
Straw vs. Hay– What does my garden need?
When talking about straw garden, you will like to know that people also prefer to make use of hay on account of it being cheaper and easier to find.
But ideally, straw is a better option to choose.
Well for one thing, straw consists of stems of grains like wheat and barley.
These are super great to make as bedding for animals.
Also straw is the key ingredient which farmers make use of when they are creating mulch and compost.
Hay bales consist of seed heads and that is where the problem lies. You don’t want these into your garden beds.
Many farm animals including sheep, cows and even horses consume this and smell it for smiles.
Hence you now know which is a better option when it comes to creating your small-space garden spaces which will last for longer days.
How do I Build my Straw Bale Garden?
So now that we have a good understanding on how straw bale garden is a good choice, let’s get into the practical side of it. How will you make one ?
Well firstly you will need to get a bale of straw ( that is kind of obvious).
But make sure that your bale does not have any shreds of hay and it also contains grass and weed seeds.
This can be found in farm supply stores or your regular organic farms. Look into organic farming in UAE to understand how its being done.
It is best if you choose the organic kind as that means there will be none of those harmful herbicides. And all your produce will be 100% natural and safe.
So it all comes down to your knowledge on how to create a good bale straw garden.
Make a purchase of a few metal stakes if you don’t have those already. This is needed to be able to make the bale stable at either side of the ground.
If you are doing this for the first time, it will be super helpful to get help from an expert. Or you can also opt to learn the basic tactics from an online video.
Now everything is easily available online for your usage. Make the best use of it.
Remember, this is the pre-bale prep so you should be doing this a couple of weeks in advance before you actually start planting.
It had to be really good as if your preparations fall flat, you don’t have a strong and stable garden bed to make sure the produce comes out proper.
Choosing the Right Spot
So now that you know how to get started, let’s now talk about another essential element- where do I setup my straw bale garden?
Firstly decide what is your straw bale garden about. If you are planning on growing different kinds of veggies, the best place for you to begin is a spot which is getting at least 6-8 hours of sunlight.
Yes, you need to invest in a spot that is all bright and beaming for hours.
Also know that your bales should not get in touch with weeds so make use of cardboard to place the bales on as a simple, thin separator.
It is a spot which will be committing to this kind of gardening and you will not be able to move the wet and heavy bales around often.
So once you have committed to a place, make sure you adhere to it.
The Perfect Placement of Bales- Beginning the Gardening Process
Right, so now you have got yourself the best kind of bale for the process. And you have chosen the best spot for your straw bale garden, what’s next?
You begin the process.
Begin by placing the bale in a way so that the twine falls and is parallel to the ground on each side.
Then comes the art of watering the bales. This is to be done thoroughly.
It is a major commitment. You have to make sure ample of water is going in and making the bales wet from inside and not just the outside and the borders.
You will have to keep them wet for three days straight.
After which you can then make use of a nitrogen fertilizer. This goes on top of the bale.
Water it abundantly as well. Some people make use of organic compost but here’s why I would not opt for it.
Firstly it smells bad and secondly it is a major attraction for animals and even wildlife. So it is best for your garden and that you steer clear of it.
Continue with the fertilizer and continuous water for three days more. But after that you will then limit and cut the fertilizer amount to half but continue to water in the same way.
So how do you know at this point that it is working?
If you touch the bale, you will notice that it is beginning to feel super soft. This means that the decomposition process is beginning inside.
But here’s the trick- when the bale is feeling soft and warm, don’t plant yet. Only start to do so when it begins to feel cool.
If you do it sooner than that, then the hidden heat will actually kill the seedlings and you don’t want that.
What do I Grow in my Straw Bale Garden?
Let’s now talk about the kind of produce you can grow in your straw bale garden. The good news is- there is plenty of options.
From bush tomatoes to even cantaloupe and squash, get ready to enjoy a variety of produce which is organic and your own hard work.
Nothing gets better than that.
But did you know you can also grow certain fruits. Like strawberries even.
The key is to plant seeds and produce which does not need a lot of space. Tall plants cannot really survive for long. This is because they are shallow in roots and can easily topple over.
You will simply need to add some potting soil and plant the seedlings of what you want to grow. You can actually fit in two to three plants per bale so it can become crowded but ensure you are leaving some space.
This is your way of promoting sustainable agriculture and playing your role in it.
Straw bale gardening has been gaining momentum in recent years for its many benefits.
It is not as complicated as traditional gardening and you need to remember to keep the bales wet and properly watered.
If they dry out fast, they will not survive for long.
Just continue to feed your plants weekly and make use of simple compost.
You can also compost your bale by the year end and even make use of it for the next. Adapt these simple gardening practices for organic produce.