Member Since: 03/20/2009

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Re: Try Soil Bag Planting for No-Dig Beds

You're all missing the boat! Try straw bale gardening - its amazing. I've grown 5 bushels of beautiful organic tomatoes in 11 straw bales, plus cucumbers, potatoes, flowers, herbs. I learned about it from a news article and decided to try it in an un-mowed field. My bro in law uses it to grow peppers, tomatoes, cukes, beans and fences the bales with low white fencing in his suburban backyard so they look like little individual raised beds

Here's a link for preparing the bales which takes about 2 weeks to start them composting internally and then cooling off. Then you make a hole in the bale with a wooden handle, push in several handfuls of potting soil to hold baby roots while they get started and after that, you fertilize and water. I had NO insects, no viruses, no black spot.
I never had to spray for any kind of insect or plant disease because the bales keep the plants elevated off the ground.
Some Ariope spiders took up residence and kept any intruders at bay.

At season end, you can just scatter your bales to compost naturally and clean up is nothing. If the bales are really baled tight and in good shape I have used them 2 yrs. My dad has a 1/2 acre garden and I don't have the time he puts in with hoeing and mulching. With bales you don't do anything except water and fertilize. The one thing I would add to the articles on straw bale gardening is that even tho I have a ready free water source, to save watering time I create a 'saucer' under the bales by using landscape pins to pin up a piece of black plastic bag under each bale. I use organic fertilizers and compost on my bales altho the author does not garden organically.

if the links don't work try searching on straw bale gardening