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There are many reasons to try straw bale gardening. Chances are you’re reading this now because you either already know why you want to try it, or because you’re wondering if it’s a good solution for your circumstance.
Straw Bale Gardening Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to most anything, and certainly, that applies to straw bale gardening as well.
- Raised beds – easier to work
- Fewer weeds – easier to weed
- Self-contained garden bed
- No tilling soil
- Less soil is needed
- No need for crop rotation
- Avoid issues with moles and voles
- In the end, the bales break down into compost, so expanding your soil resources
- No worries about over watering because the bales drain well
- Can be set up anywhere, including a driveway, patio or deck, (just protect your wood from moisture)
- Best if you can find an organic straw bale resource
- The bales still need to be hauled in and put in place
- Like ground beds, the bales still need to be prepped with fertilizer and topped with soil
- Bales can be expensive, depending on the area
- Bales can tip over and fall apart too soon (we just shore them up with a few bamboo (or stick) braces in the ground
- Some people break out from skin contact with bales, especially if you have any wheat allergies and use wheat bales
- Bales can dry out more quickly than garden beds, so avoid issues with soaker hoses or drip irrigation.
- Hay bales (vs wheat, oat or rice bales) have additional cons of weight and weed
- Bales (and crops of bales) can be treated with pesticides
How to Set up a Straw Bale Garden
If any of these pros are stronger than any of the cons for you, you can read more about how to set up and prep a straw bale garden, see photos and also a video on how to set up your own.