The short answer is 12 – 18 months. In my experience, a straw bale garden can last well over a year. It really depends on how you want your garden to look and how long you want to garden for. After about 10-12 months, the bales do start to deteriorate and begin to look a little tired. But if you’re happy with that, use your bales until they just fall over! I have been known to prop up a bale or two with a tomato stake to get a little longer out of my bales.
FAQ Straw bale gardening
Maintenance is easy! With no weeding required, all you have to do is water once a day in the hot weather, every few days in the warm weather (if there is no rain forecast) and in the cooler weather once or twice a week. Give it a quick feed every 1-2 weeks and you’re done!
Straw bale gardens do not need any soil other than what is attached to the roots of your seedling. Adding soil from your garden can introduce soil-borne disease into your bales. This causes your plants trouble that can easily be avoided. When planting out your second round of crops, if there is a small hole from the removed roots, I simply fill it in with BaleGrow™ compost mix or potting mix (NOT soil from the garden) and start planting again. If this is your second round of BaleGrow™ and you have composted straw from your previous BaleGrow™ garden, this is perfect for filling holes.
The best way to know is to see for yourself. If you set a timer on a day when you’re around the house, you can pop out to the yard every few hours to see what the sun is doing. Your garden needs 5 – 6 hours of sun a day to get the best results. If the area you are thinking about has NO sun at all, unfortunately the chance of success is unlikely.
Yes, once your bales have been conditioned, you don’t have to plant out immediately. Providing you keep the bales moist and the bacteria alive, your bales can sit and wait until you are ready.
I love this question! You cut the string and see what is inside. You will find an incredibly decomposed bale of straw that is full of life. This is an amazing food source for your existing garden beds. Another option is to use it as potting mix for your next straw bale garden. This can be used to fill holes when a plant has been removed or when a seedling has just been planted and the roots are exposed. You can use a handful of the old bale to top up the new one. Alternatively, you can simply put it in the green waste bin.
In my experience I have not had a lot of trouble with pest problems in my straw bale garden. In terms of trouble shooting, your plants can be treated just the same at traditional soil gardens.
A straw bale is about 1 meter long and when standing on its side for planting it is about 45cm high. A great height to save a sore back!
This one is easy and exciting. If you pop yourself into your local garden centre you can start your staggered planting. All plants have a different life span, so as one plant finishes production, pull it out and plant something else. I have had a lot of fun with this because every few weeks I plant something new and the whole cycle starts again. But this time you will already have things growing, so you will have some plants harvesting and others finishing up. This staggered planting can go on all year round.
Like with anything, you get out what you put in. If you follow our detailed information booklet, and have your bales positioned with the recommended sun exposure, you will be successful. But you do need to do your part. That means watering a few minutes a day (for a 3 Bale Kit this will take approximately 4 minutes) and a quick feed once a week (approximately 2 minutes). And the results will be amazing.
Our conditioning treatment has all the elements needed to activate the bacteria inside the straw to start decomposing the bale. This specially-formulated treatment is the ideal substance to add to your bales to start this process. By doing so, you are creating a gardening method that is eco-friendly, sustainable and fun. It has all the essential components needed for your plants to thrive. Locally sourced materials are added in the ideal quantities to formulate BaleGrow™ Conditioning Treatment. The nitrogen and phosphorus that are present in each treatment are well balanced and measured to support the process that is needed to create your Straw Bale Garden. These minerals are vital to healthy plant life and are essential elements in BaleGrow™ Conditioning Treatment. We have also added other organic based materials to this treatment to create the optimum substance to prepare your bales for planting.
Our finishing treatment offers you the optimum organic based addition to finish the conditioning process. This step is vital for the success of this task. The elements you are adding at this stage encourage stem health and a strong yield of fruit.
In addition, water movement is also a vital aspect to plant health. Adding the elements supplied, encourage this movement of water flow within the plants as it begins it’s life cycle. Finishing the process with BaleGrow™ Finishing Treatment also assists with balancing the other nutrients within the bale. This ensures that the plants are taking and using the nutrients available efficiently. The elements within this treatment are both sustainable and organic based and are not at all harmful to the environment.