How Does Straw Bale Gardening Work?

Are you curious about how this “Straw Bale Gardening” method actually works?

Keep reading for a quick explanation. You’ll understand the basics in just a few paragraphs.

Everybody knows that traditional gardening happens in the soil, at ground level.

Raised-bed gardening is done the same way, except the dirt is contained by wooden walls, which puts the growing-surface of the dirt up higher and easier to reach.

Straw Bale Gardening is different from both of these methods. (It has LOTS of advantages, that you can read more about in our “Straw Beats Dirt” blog articles.)

When you have a Straw Bale Garden, your plants are growing in organic material that is transforming into brand-new, fresh dirt – while your plants are growing.

Two things make this possible: 

1. pressure 

2. a catalyst to speed up the decomposition process.

Organic material will always decompose into dirt, but the process normally happens very slowly. Straw and other compostable materials will gradually decay into growing material, but it usually takes months or more.

With the Straw Bale Gardening method, your bale is tightly compressed, and then treated with a specific blend of fertilizer ingredients and water for 12 days. 

This process is called “conditioning” your bales. It super-charges the speed of the naturally-occurring  decomposition of the straw, hay or organic material.

When your bale material decomposes, it becomes fresh dirt.

That means your seeds or starter plants find themselves happily growing in soil that is literally brand-new, with just the right blend of nutrients, just the right moisture-profile, and no weed seeds to fight!

The basics are really that simple, but the details of the science are very interesting.

If you’re curious about the reasons why so many people around the world LOVE the Straw Bale Gardening method, take a quick look at our “Straw Beats Dirt” list right here.

Ready to give it a try? We’d love to help you!

This website has lots of How-To Videos, Articles & a Forum where our enthusiastic community of gardeners share questions, advice & their successes with each other.

Whether you’re a brand-new gardener, or a veteran grower, we think you’ll be amazed & delighted when you give the Straw Bale Gardening method a try!

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