Growing plants in straw

Gardening in straw bales

Don’t have good soil, but want to plant some flowers in the backyard? Straw bale gardening might be for you! Williamson County Horticulture Extension Agent Andrea Fonseca tells the View more.

What is straw bale gardening?

As its name implies, it is planting in a straw bale. Instead of digging into the ground or planting in a pot, use an inexpensive, recyclable straw bale.

Why plant in a straw bale?

It’s higher off the ground, helping gardeners who can’t bend comfortably. You don’t have to weed. It gives folks with bad dirt an alternative to replacing and carefully caring for soil, saving you a lot of time and money—great for first time gardeners. Plus, if you plop the bale on a wagon, you can roll it around the yard and have a portable garden!

How do you prepare the bale?

Treat the bale by watering it for two weeks before planting. Tie two to three strings around it to hold the straw in place. Over time, the straw begins to decompose, creating a perfectly warm, moist, nutrient environment for growth. At the end of the season, the bale will completely decompose.

What can you plant in a straw bale?

Almost anything! Choose plants according to sun exposure. For more than six hours of sun, chose tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, and peppers. In shadier spots, try strawberries, beets, peas, or leafy veggies. If you’re transferring saplings, be sure to add a little garden soil to shelter the roots.

Where can you buy straw bales?

Typically, you can call any farm supply store that sells feed for cattle or horses. Just make sure to inquire about straw bales and not hay bales. Be sure to ask the supplier if the bales are organic. Don’t buy one that has been sprayed with an herbicide.


If you’d like to give straw bale gardening a try, you don’t have to wait for spring. Here’s a list of vegetables you can plant in the fall:

Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Beets
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Broccoli
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Brussel Sprouts
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Cabbage
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Cauliflower
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Collards
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Garlic
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Kale
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Kohlrabi
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Lettuce
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Mustard
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Onion
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  English Peas
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Snap Peas
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Radish
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Shallots
Bullet point shaped like a leaf  Spinach

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