Friday, April 15, 2016

Straw Bale Gardening - Planting a Crop

Gardeners have a choice between planting seeds or transplants on the bales. When transplanting use hands or planting trowel to make an opening that will serve as planting hole on the bale. You can add a little potting mix around the plant, which you can acquire commercially. Do not be tempted to use soil from your yard. This is important to avoid because soil could spread diseases and weeds into the bales, which is something you are trying to avoid in the first place. When planting make sure the plant is down to its first leaves before closing the crack. The moment the plant begins to grow, boost its fertility and water as necessary. At no point should the bales dry out meaning that you may have to keep watering several times in a day the first times you plant. You will reduce the amount of water with time as the bales continue to decompose and increase their water holding capacity. You can use a soaker hose placed over the plants to gently water the plants.

Growing potatoes in straw bales

While it is possible to grow a variety of crops in thee bales. We are going to look at the growth of potatoes. You are likely not to look at any other potatoes planting technique once you try the bales. Potatoes perform excellently in straw bales.
Most gardeners assume that growing potatoes in their gardens will require a lot of space that they actually lack. Fortunately, if you have room for a hay bale then growing potatoes is something that you can do. The trick is to know a few things about appropriate planting and you will be good.


This is a key thing when you want to plant potatoes in bales. Make sure you position the hay or starw bales in area that receives direct sunlight for 6 to 8 hours straight. It is even more desirable if the area can receive full day sunlight. You can place the bales in areas with unsuitable soils as long as they have access to sufficient sunlight. You may however want to consider placing them in areas that drainage will not be an issue because the water from the bales drains at the bottom ad can easily make an area messy.

Prep the bales

Preparing the bales for planting potatoes is not any different from the way you prepare the bales for any other type of crop. Saturating the bales with water for three to four days and missing it with nitrogen rich fertilizers or its organic equivalent for recommended days and quantities is necessary. You can mix both organic and commercial fertilizers in the right quantities to speed up the decomposition process. All you need is the rich compost that will serve as a base for your crop.

Check the bales

You make holes in the bales by pulling the hay or star layers open in a gentle manner. You must confirm that the inside of the bale is warm and not hot which should be so after day ten of prepping. You should not plant the potatoes for another two or three days if you feel the inside is still hot.

Planting the potatoes

Cut the potatoes in two or more sections taking care that each of the cut sections has an eye. Place the cut potatoes inside the bale at a depth of about 4-6 inches at a spacing of 6-12 inches. This means that an ideal bale should have a maximum of four potatoes plants. Once plated, close the hay or straw over the potatoes.


Water thoroughly until waters runs freely from the bottom of the hay or straw bale. You may have to water the bales daily s as to keep it moist as it should. A soaker hose over the top or filing milk cartons with water and punching small holes at the bottom for water to drip can be an effective and economic way to water the plants.

Fertilizer application

Apply water-soluble fertilizers meant for garden vegetables at least once a week. This high frequency is necessary for nourishing the potatoes especially considering the fact that these nutrients are leached from the bottom of the bale make it necessary to apply regular fertilizer.

Harvesting procedures.

You should check for new potatoes the moment you notice the plant blooming. You need to gently pull the layers of straw bale garden and harvest the young potatoes. You should close back the hay or straws to allow the younger plants to continue growing. You can harvest the mature potatoes when the foliage dies back, which happens mainly in the fall. Potatoes grown this way are clean, free from soil and the greatest advantage is that you can harvest soft potatoes as soon as they set in.

Planting vegetables in your garden

Vegetables would naturally be one of the most desirable options when it comes to a backyard garden, let alone a straw bale one. With such a wide variety of vegetables at your disposal, choosing what to plant will be your own decision. You could decide to do a couple of eggplants, spinach, kale, coriander or cauliflowers. Choosing a plant that you understand or are willing to expend some time into studying how it grows is the key to successful vegetable farming.
Your crash course should encompass tricks on transplanting, planting spacing, taking care of the vegetables and most importantly any diseases to expect. Most vegetables will have to deal with a pest or a disease in their lifetime. It is up to you to have the right treatment procedures at hand to ensure that you combat the problem as soon as it sets in. failure to do this could cost your entire crop or worse lead to contamination problems.
Since you only intent to supply your own kitchen, consider starting small. A smaller garden is easier to maintain than a larger one. In addition to this, stay in contact with some professional who has done it before. You would not want to be in problem without someone to turn to. Someone with the gardening skills could pay a friendly visit to your little garden and tell you what is wrong. You can also visit their garden to borrow some tricks and tips that will help you make your garden better.

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