Anyone who lives where there is an abundance of rocks in the ground, poor soil and clay know these are not the best conditions for growing plants. There has to be an easier way. Some of gone to raised beds, square foot gardening and container gardens. These are all excellent ways to provide good soil for growing and fewer weeds to pull.
Last year, I came across the above book and knew I wanted to give it a try. Basically, you spend 10-15 days prepping the bales so that they begin to break down inside, providing compost to plant in. While you can not plant in them year after year as you can the ground, you can possibly get 2, maybe even 3 years of bale use. Then you simply turn them into mulching compost and start new bales.
I tried a short row of four bales last year for tomatoes and was very happy with the outcome so this year I stepped into full straw bale garden mode. The previous link takes you to the one shown. There has since been an UPDATED version released by the same author. I've gotten my sister involved and we've joined a Facebook group.
While I have stuff growing in them now.. here are pics of the set-up process.
The main bed. There are now a total of 15 bales forming this horseshoe. The rack in the foreground is not there anymore. That is an old card rack from a store that will become a flower tower next year.
The two trellis' are for green beans. I broke down the tomato bales from last year and used them as the planting medium. The empty space on the left now has a bale with a trellis for Snow Peas
You can just see the edge of this in the previous picture. These 6 bales are planted with Peas. The swing set frame is covered in chicken wire.
You can see how the main bed finished out in the back ground. These are the first of a total of 7 towers of tires for potatoes. I have 2 each of Red and White potatoes plus 3 for Sweet potatoes.
Putting this garden together has been a lot of work but I'm happy with the results so far. Next week I'll show you some pictures of growth as well a share a green house 'oops' courtesy of my husband.