How to plant a strawbale garden
I'm new to this forum, but thought I'd post some info on using wheat or oat straw bales in which to grow vegetables. I noticed there was some talk on this forum about 2 years ago.
I grew a 2nd garden using 20 wheat straw and 10 oat straw bales last year. I planted tomatoes, peppers, cukes, squash and zucchini. It did great. I'm going to do 50 bales this year.
You can see a story on this method at www.carolinacountry.com. Carolina Country is a magazine that is mailed to members of Wake Electric Co-Op. They did a feature story on my garden. See their current (March) edition and go to the Features section and you can pull up the story with instructions. Or, you can email me at email@example.com and I'll send it to you.
This method is great for those with bad or compacted soil and for those who physically can't work a traditional garden with all the hoeing, weeding, back bending, etc. Even a wheel-chair bound individual can do this.
Now, the recipe I used from a compilation of several internet articles about straw bales uses some ammonium nitrate in the 10-day preparation of the bales.
Ammonium Nitrate (34-0-0) just acts as a catalyst or vitamins for the microbes that help break the bales down to be a good host for the plants.
Since my garden of last year, Ammonium Nitrate has been regulated under Homeland Security issues but this is no problem. The seller will ask for your name and address or phone number. It sells in 50 lb. bags so if you're only doing a few bales, you may want to just pass on buying it. Just add about a week or so to weathering your bales.
Just thought I'd throw this out for those who may want to try this method of gardening. I didn't invent this method, but I'm sure a proponent of it.
Kent Rogers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wake County, NC