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Elevated Gardening

Is the thought of preparing and planting an in-ground or raised bed garden becoming a little overwhelming this year? Is bending down to the ground getting a bit tough on the lower back these days? If yes, then elevating a small garden space may be the answer. The age-old practice of straw bale gardening brings the garden up off the ground, can reduce the overall space required for gardening, and provides many other advantages such as a solution to poor soil conditions.

Straw bale gardening can be maximized with minimal effort in the few easy steps below.

Getting Started

  • Purchase of weed free straw bales
  • Deciding on a placement location
  • Conditioning of the straw bales (minimum 2 week process)

Start with quality straw bales that are free of weed seed and insects.

Start with quality straw bales that are free of weed seed and insects.
LayLa Burgess, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Allow for adequate conditioning time of the straw bales (s) and proper drainage.

Allow for adequate conditioning time of the straw bales (s) and proper drainage.
LayLa Burgess, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Planting the Bale(s)

  • Method 1- Flatbed planting across the top of the bale
  • Method 2- Planting in holes (pockets or divots) within the bale
  • Selecting the of type and number of plantings

 

Flatbed planting of bushbeans.

Flatbed planting of bushbeans.
LayLa Burgess, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Mid-Season growth of bush beans.

Mid-Season growth of bush beans.
LayLa Burgess, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Bush bean planted in straw bales provide an abundant harvest.

Bush bean planted in straw bales provide an abundant harvest.
LayLa Burgess, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Straw Bale Maintenance

  • Irrigation
  • Fertilization
  • Weed Control
  • Insect Control
  • Disease Control
  • Recycling the straw bale(s)
Straw bale gardening is easily combined with raised bed or traditional in-ground gardening.

Straw bale gardening is easily combined with raised bed or traditional in-ground gardening.
LayLa Burgess, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Interested in this alternative approach to gardening? Want to know more about how it is done?

For a detailed look at the step-by-step process involved in the above alternative for gardening, see HGIC 1264, Straw Bale Gardening.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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