As promised: results from our straw bale garden test project

Here’s our observations.

  1. The bales did indeed turn to something that would sustain life rather quickly
  2. Part of that new life was garter snakes.  They LOVED the moist composty hay.  I never knew there were so many garter snakes.  We’re not going to do it again for that reason.
  3. The bales produced really good, clean lettuce, and it was up high enough that the animals left it totally alone.
  4. It took longer to get the lettuce ready to harvest than in grow-boxes, but less time than direct soil seeding, as the soil was a little cooler.
  5. It’s hard to get straw bales with no weed seeds.   That was a disappointment, we had to keep clipping back grass.  While watching for snakes. Not fun.
  6. We had no source of organic straw so we could not list the produce as organically grown, which would have meant a lower selling price, and we weren’t really sure what we were eating.
  7. As the summer progressed we had to water the bales daily or even twice daily.  Eventually we gave up on that.
  8. The bales will make nice strawberry compost this year.  So, overall, a successful experiment.
Planted Straw Bale Garden

Not ours but just like ours. The snakes lived inside the open part in the middle. The soil on the top isn’t necessary unless you’re planting seeds.

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