Straw Bale Gardening

Written by Andrew Morrison

It’s not unusual to end up with extra bales after building a straw bale house. In fact, I recommend it.  Those extra bales are great to have around as steps or scaffolding supports when plastering. Furthermore, I would always rather have a few too many bales than not enough when building. The question is, what to do with the extra bales when the project is done?

straw bale gardening

If you live on a big piece of land, you can spread the bales out as mulch in your garden, bedding for chickens or other livestock, or simply to decay back into the soil. If you don’t have a spread of land big enough to accomplish that, you can try and find someone who does and offer them the bales either for a price or for free. This is also a great idea (either of those two ideas) for the loose straw created during construction. Believe me, there will be lots!

Another great way to use the bales if you don’t have that room to spread them out is as a gardening tool. Straw Bale Gardening is a  good way to grow plants in limited space, or if you have poor soil. It also helps if you have a hard time bending over as the bales lift the plants 18″ or so off of the ground. If you just finished building your own house, the idea of not having to bend over to harvest your lettuce may sound pretty good! Anyway, there are some good advantages to using straw bale gardening techniques, not the least of which is that you will use your excess bales in a healthy, positive way. Here’s a good website to get you started on this process. Enjoy!

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11 Responses

  1. The photo above in your post on straw bale gardening actually came from my site. In fact I took the picture myself. It’s a great method of gardening.

  2. Hi Braddock. I apologize. I thought I got it from and that is what I had placed as photo credit. Now that I go back to that site, I see the photo is not actually there. I’m not sure why I thought it came from there. I have changed the photo credit to your site. Thanks for letting me know.

  3. cool bananas – Ive just completed my straw bale house and busy building venue no 2. we had a lot of bales that damaged in the rain and this straw bale gardening gives them a purpose 🙂 im going to get going with it straight away – 🙂

  4. A friend of mine tried the bale gardening but was not satisfied with the messy look of it. This year she has combined it with another great idea. She is using discarded pallets to create boxes of different sizes. Straw goes in there. The open slats on the pallet if put horizontally can be planted with flowers, lettuce, strawberries etc. A living wall – very pretty. She did create little pockets w black plastic to hold the water better. If the pallet is placed vertically the slats can be painted to look like a picket fence.

  5. Just want to make sure I am doing this right I have a ‘friend that did it last year and she loved it so this year I an trying it can you give me some how to do it special Thanks have a great Day Mrs. Mooney

  6. We built a 2300sq ft straw bale house 30 years ago here in Austin, Texas. We love it. This year I started a (hay) bale garden (no straw available). Is anyone here able to give advice or troubleshoot hay bale gardening issues, specifically the intense ammonia stink and the hoards of flies? I would be very grateful.

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