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Discussion Starter #1
I don't if any of you have heard of it, but I'm going to give it a go this spring. I have some straw bales as a wind block around my hives, and thought this would be a perfect way to re-use the bales.
By spring, they'll be rotted down enough to be just about right to plant some tomatoes in. I figure it'll be easier on me and my back. not to have to bend so much and dig dirt.
 

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Straw bales make a good mulch but they can also cause problems with pests and stem rot if they go tight to the plant. Another downside is if there is to much grain seed left in the bale then instead of weeds to pull you have lots of oats, wheat or whatever they were made from growing that needs to be pulled.
 

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Here's one guy's straw bale garden. I think he's got the kinks worked out of his system. I hope you can see the photo.
I did the link and got the message

"Only paid subscribers may view the full-size forum photos".

I thought I had signed on as a user way back when. When did they go to subscription service.
 

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We had a neighbor that planted a tomato plant in each end of a small bale of alfalfa, this worked out just fine for them. When it was getting close to frost in the fall they put the bale with plants on a kids "coaster" wagon and pulled it in their garage. When the tempature warmed back up they would roll the wagon and plants back into the sun, they had fresh tomatoes up to Christmas.
 

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I tried also and didnt get the pics:(. Good idea though!!! My straw bales weigh 1000-2000lbs so I had to take a look!!! I think the small bales will work real nice!!! I just roll out my bales and till into my garden in the spring when the girls are done being protected from my windblock bales.
I'm using the small straw bales for the chickens and hope they add a little good stuff to the garden also once I get it cleaned out!!!:doh:.
 

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Now that I see what was meant by straw bale gardening(not using them as mulch) I googled it and did some reading. Sounds very interesting, I might have to try it myself this year.
 

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This is really cool. I had purchased some straw bales for Halloween 2 years ago and I put them alongside the garage and I never got around to disposing of them and now I find that they can be used.

Brenda, thanks for sharing. I had never heard of this and am anxious to try it.
 

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I know a couple people who grow their potatoes in old bales. Just break the bale open - no digging to harvest the potatoes. Then they use the bale as mulch/compost/organic matter to till into the soil for next year.

I've always figured bales wouldn't have the minerals/nutrients real dirt does, so I prefer to plant in dirt. Kind of like how hydroponic grown tomatoes taste compared to tomatoes grown in dirt - you can taste a difference. (and who knows how much a difference there is in nutritional value too.)
 

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i grow oyster and winecap (garden giant) mushrooms on wheat straw. the oysters are prolific enough that i am planning to innoculate a whole bale. off topic i know, unless you combine it with gardening. justin
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Here's another link to beginner SB gardening-
http://www.beginner-gardening.com/straw-bale-gardening.html

Dave's Garden has a whole forum dedicated to it, but it is subscription.
You might be able to read some without subscribing, but I don't recall how much.
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/strawbale/all/
I thought we might start a thread here, or just post to this one, and we can compare and help each other out through the growing season.
Potatoes and even mushrooms sound good too!
I do understand that it takes more water, and requires some feeding, but you'd be doing that in most gardens anyway.
 
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