Straw Bale Garden 1

This year was a particularly good year for growing additional food. Where I live on the edge of Bodmin Moor, the soil is quite poor and thin. Although I have spent years trying to build it up it still isn’t sufficient for large crops. I had read about straw bale gardening on the Internet and this seemed like an ideal opportunity to give it a go. It is expensive, by the time the 21 straw bales had got to my garden they were about 5 pounds each. I decided though that this was a worthwhile investment as it would also generate several articles and who knows perhaps even a book on straw bale gardening.

my garden in april
You can see part of my garden here. Its a bit empty in April!
my garden later in the year
Later in the year its full of all sorts of useful things

I selected an area of the garden that was lawn. Lawn is such a wasted opportunity in a garden and the complete lack of imagination of owning and mowing the lawns represents a kind of fiction of human control over nature. Lawns are a kind of fascism and a barren statement of anti-nature ideological control. I’m ranting here because my neighbour seems to think that it’s okay to spend seven hours a day two days in a row over the Easter weekend mowing his tiny lawn when I want to hear the birds sing and enjoyed the peace and quiet of my garden.

the lawn in my garden
I selected an area of lawn to lay out the straw bales

So I had ordered 21 bales purely because it seemed to be a nice number, 3×7 both of them lucky numbers for me. I laid them out with a plastic sheet underneath, made from recycled bags, then a sheet of cardboard from old boxes. We are very lucky to have an unconverted barn here and we’d just shove all sorts of stuff in there to save for later use.

laying out the straw bales
I put down a layer of plastic, then cardboard under the bale to retain as much moisture as possible

I arranged the bales in an extended S shape within the space. Some of this area had shade during the day as the sun moved round. The area next to the greenhouse was mostly in the sun all day, which would be fine for heat loving plants like tomatoes, aubergines and peppers. I watered in the bales and took a photograph.

strawbale garden layout
the straw bales layed out in an extended S shape