Another form of soil less cultivation or hydroponics is the lesser known straw bale culture. Through this technique, you can very effectively grow healthy tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, turnips, carrots, cilantro, basil and parsley.
According to this technique, plants are grown in straw bales and have less water than when grown in soil. Besides, your garden bed will turn into a compost bed with a lot of essential nutrients for your herbs and vegetables. This environment containing compost provides warmth to the roots of your growing plants and for your greenhouse. When your compost bed has been prepared and processed; it will start emitting carbon dioxide to boost your plant’s growth rate.
How to go about straw bale gardening:
Use wheat straw bales by first removing any weeds and then build your straw bale garden with the following directions:
Construct your garden:
Tie the straws vertically. Fence your garden area with plastic fencing but not of wood or any biodegradable substance, so that it can hold the bales in place. Pack the bales well inside the enclosure.
At the bottom of your growing area, place a sheet of plastic so that the straw retains moisture. Pack in the tied straw bales tightly and cover the entire area of your garden with it. Now, irrigate the entire garden with water and place a second sheet of plastic on top. For each bale, you will need at least one gallon of water each day. Now, place yet another sheet of plastic on top of the bales after watering. Keep this plastic on until the processing period is finished.
Preparing bale-the processing phase:
Usually, the straw bale requires about four weeks of processing before it can grow plants. After this period, the bale decomposes and forms compost. At this stage, add fertilizers and top with compost or manure to a height of four inches, without using any soil.
Now, add the fertilizer by spreading the dry fertilizer over the top of the bales and watering it. With fertilizer added, the action of the bacteria will help decompose the straw and raise the internal heat of the bed. Now, cover this layer with plastic and keep it like this for a week. The following week, the bales will be cool enough to plant your seeds.
If you have your own straw bale garden, you can grow all you want and as much of it, and right through the year! And economically too!!