Straw bale garden
Never one to shy away from experimentation, John Schefdore tried something totally new with his backyard garden this year.
Inspired by a book passed on by his son, John tried a straw bale garden this year. With limited space in his backyard in the city of Merrill, the straw bale concept seemed like a good fit.
“I went out and bought 20 bales, and it worked,” he said.
Per the instructions, John set the bales in rows, cut side up, then applied lawn fertilizer and potting soil to the bales before planting his plants and seeds.
“It accelerates composting,” he said. “It’s basically a compost heap you’re planting in.”
You still have to water the plants regularly, but the straw holds moisture.
The straw bale garden turns out to be lower maintenance than planting directly in the ground, John discovered. First of all, the garden is weed-free because you don’t have to contend with the weeds that naturally grow in the soil. Also, with the garden raised off the ground, caring for the plants is easier on the back. Another plus to getting the plants elevated is that they are less accessible to animals – both the bunnies (who like to eat them) and the big, friendly family dogs (who obliviously trample them).
“You have a raised garden without having to buy all the lumber,” John said.
John was happy with the outcome of his straw bale garden; even the carrots worked out and he got a second crop of radishes.
The bales can be used a second year, but John already has a whole new plan for his garden next year. He’s been perfecting his rain barrel watering system and experimenting with rain gutter gardening.
“I’ve been gardening off and on for five or six years, and every year it’s something new,” he said.