Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our New Straw Bale Garden–Part I

straw bale gardenOur New Straw Bale Garden–Part I:

Straw bales–ready to prepare. Pot in the center will be a solar powered fountain.
We’re going to experiment with a straw bale vegetable garden in our backyard, inspired by Michael Tortorello’s article in the New York Times.
The plan is to grow in the bales and harvest the resulting compost for use in permanent raised beds (that have yet to be built). We’ll keep growing in bales until we have enough compost for the beds.
The problems presented by our property–lead and zinc contamination and a backyard that is up 30 steps–make straw bale gardening a promising solution.
  • Bales and fertilizer are easier to carry up the stairs than bulk soil.
  • It will be cheaper than buying soil.
  • No lead and zinc.
I was also inspired by this attractive straw bale garden in Arizona.
It will be a garden that changes over time. I like the idea of watching the bales turn into compost and their gradual replacement with more permanent structures. I’m hoping that the view from the two Adirondack chairs that face the bales will be like a botanical Robert Smithson piece–a front seat on nature’s balance of entropy and creation.
The next step is to add fertilizer and water. We’ll document what happens so stay tuned.