Straw Bale Gardening

Monday, June 3, 2013

Over Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I made the six-and-a-half hour trip to the tiny little town in Minnesota where he grew up. His parent's house is situated on a 45-some acre lot with tons of trees, a creek (or "crick" as they say), a few hayfields, a couple garages and sheds, 3 horses and a bunch of random cats. Both my husband and I grew up in the country (although I wasn't quite in the sticks like him), and so it is always a treat to get away from our city-apartment and be immersed in the country, with lots of fresh air and beautiful stars at night.

Our trips to Minnesota are always filled with a little bit of excitement.  Whether it be an experience eating Pig Weed (essentially grows in horse fields, near manure piles... look it up), taking a few snowmobiles for a spin, or hopping on his dad's latest toy, a mini-bike, and riding it around the property, it is always a good time.  In addition to attempting to climb a tree, this time, we got a chance to be assistants as his mother taught us a new technique she is trying out in her garden- straw bale gardening.  

I don't know about you, but I have never heard of, or seen this before so I was a bit skeptical.  But after she explained how the bales are first fertilized, watered until soaked, all in the efforts to pre-treat the bales to prepare for planting, I am very intrigued in how this is going to work out.  The goal of planting in a straw bale is to avoid some of the annoying weeds that make their way into the plants and to give the plants a productive, warm, nutrient rich environment in which to grow.  

Because this is the first time my mother-in-law is attempting this, she decided to go with a few rows of bales with pepper plants, and a couple other bales with seeds for lettuces and beans.  For the plants, we simply dug a hole into the bale, set in the plant, and filled around with potting soil.  

And for the ones with the seeds, we laid a layer of soil, followed by the seeds, and topped off with another layer of soil.

Not only is it an innovative way of gardening, but the little plants all nestled in the bale are pretty cute, right?   

Since we won't be there to see how it all turns out, I told his mom she has to give me progress reports with pictures as to how these little babies are doing.  I am really excited to see how successful straw bale gardening is!  Although we don't have enough space in our duplex to attempt our own straw bale gardening, we did come home with a few pepper and tomato plants to try out on our little porch!

I can't wait to have a house of our own where we can have a lovely garden to play with!
Cheers to warm weather, planting, and all the good things that come with it.


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