Gardening Tips For Beginners, Straw Bale Gardening

straw bale gardening

You May Be An Old Hand At Gardening,

but there are usually new ways and techniques that you haven’t tried yet. This post is the first in a series that will explore some of those different methods. If you find one you like, go ahead and try it out.

When I was growing up, we lived on a farm, and always had a garden plot. Every spring one of us boys would fire up the rototiller and till the garden spot. It was usually pretty big, like a mini field. After we got it tilled, we’d rake it and smooth it out, then dig watering trenches about a foot apart.

We’d plant our veggies between the watering trenches, and from then on, for the rest of the year, we’d use a hose in the trenches to get water running down, and after the water reached the end and was soaked in, we’d move the hose to the next row.

Sorta like the picture above. Plants growing in rows.

That’s great if you have the room and if you like traditional gardening methods. It’s tried and true. There are some drawbacks, though. And the biggest one to me is…

Weeding!

Nobody likes to weed the garden, do they? Especially not a big garden. I sure didn’t. It was one of my least favorite things to do. It had to be done constantly. You’d weed one row, then on to the next. And, when you finally finished, depending on how big the garden was, you had to start over and do it all again.

I’m”m sure there are people with hobby gardens who think weeding is some kind of zen thing that helps them stay focused and calm, and I think that’s great. Our gardens were always big, though, and a pain to weed.

After I graduated from high school and served a mission for my church I joined the Navy and pretty much never had a garden again until I retired from the service.

Hoeing or hand pulling, weeding was hot, sweaty work, and you’d be bent over with the hoe or down on your knees in the damp soil getting a kink in your back and your neck.

Even if you could till between the rows, you still had to weed by hand around the plants themselves, because the weeds were ALWAYS stronger and faster growing than the vegetables themselves.

Pull Those Weeds!

The end result was usually a lot of great tasting vegetables, so we’d usually say that the hard work was worth it.

If you really took the time to think about the labor involved, growing your own vegetables was not really all that cost effective.

Over the years I’ve tried a few things to make gardening easier, and I’m going to post about my experiences with each method. Keep in mind that I’m not a professional, I’m just a guy who likes to try my hand with growing my own veggies.

Straw Bale Gardening

The picture pretty much says it all. Just get some straw bales, stand them on end, and plant your veggies in them.

Actually, there’s a little more involved. For instance, you have to prep the straw bales. You have to wet them down for a couple of weeks until they start to rot on the inside. This rotting process provides nutrients for your garden. And you need to add a nitrogen based fertilizer of some kind. It takes about 10 days to prep the bales.

Plant your vegetables down a couple of inches in the bale. Do this by separating the stalks in the bale and pushing the plant down. I’m not sure planting seeds would work as well, but try it if you’d like. I found a few things I liked about this method, and a couple of things I didn’t.

Pros

  • No weeding
  • Plants are higher up, so not so much bending over. I like this feature a lot.
  • Easy and inexpensive to do.
  • Great for small spaces, and you can even put the bales on gravel or concrete.

Cons

  • Takes a lot of water. Water soaks to the bottom of the bale and the top, where the plants are, dries out fairly quickly
  • As the summer goes on, the bales can fall apart
  • Some straw bales have seeds from the original plant, like oats. As the year goes on, these seeds can sprout, and compete with your vegetables for the water. Weeds after all. (I didn’t experience this in my first year, but it was a problem in my second year.
  • Some fertilizing needed.
  • Not very visually appealing, but it works!

Here’s a You Tube video that will give you an idea of the process. It’s about 10 minutes long.

I’ve grown tomatoes, peppers, both bell and hot, green beans, green peas, onions, cucumbers (the vines don’t stay on the bales), and more.

Changing The Subject

What I want to post about now is blogging. I really like blogging. It gives me a chance to express myself and attract readers to my blog.

I’m trying to monetize my blog. That’s where I earn an income from blogging, and people do it all the time. Some established blogs bring in 5 and 6 figure monthly incomes. That’s the brier patch I’m working to get into.

The best way to monetize a blog is by using a business model called affiliate marketing. Basically, affiliate marketing is where the blogger connects the customer with a product that the customer is looking for, and when the customer makes a purchase, the blogger earns a commission from the sale. I wrote about it in more detail here.

Do you have a blog? Would you like to start one and work toward a full-time income from your blog?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an eye-opener. A lot of people have been unable to go to work. For some, who have blogs and are involved in affiliate marketing, this hasn’t stopped them from earning an income, even while they stay home. Wouldn’t you like to do that too?

Then join me in one of the best training websites for affiliate marketing that you can find on the internet today. It’s called Wealthy Affiliate.

The nice thing is that you can sign up and get started for free.

Wealthy Affiliate offers 10 free lessons and a free website to get you started. From there, if you want, you can move up to premium training and the sky’s the limit.

The FTC requires that bloggers notify readers that if they tap on an affiliate link and end up purchasing a product, the affiliate (blogger) will earn a commission.

That’s how it’s supposed to work.

Feel free to leave me a comment, whether about straw bale gardening or affiliate marketing. I’ll be sure to get back to you.

I’m Grant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *