Straw bale gardening is a variant of raised bed gardening. The straw bale serves as both the raised bed and as the growing substrate for the plants. Straw bale gardens require minimal labor and can be grown anywhere, even in locations with poor soil.
Get a bale of straw
The process of preparing the straw should start about 2 weeks before the desired planting date. However, straw is easier and cheaper to buy in the fall. Setting up the garden in the fall works fine.
Select a location for the bale
Anywhere that gets 6 to 8 hours a day of sunlight can be used. The bale can be placed on a deck, on a driveway, in the middle of a lawn or even in a garden. Place some landscape fabric on the desired location. Place the straw bale on the fabric with the stings on the sides and the cut side facing upwards.
Prepare the straw
Two weeks before planting, begin conditioning the straw. Soak the bale with water every day and apply three cups of organic fertilizer every other day for 6 days. On days 7 through 9, water the bale and apply 1 1/2 cups of organic fertilizer every day. On day 10, apply 3 cups of bone meal or fish meal mixed with wood ash.
Plant the straw
Plant seedlings or seeds in the straw. Cover with a light layer of planting mix. Water the plants as needed.