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Chapter 1 The Straw Bale Gardens Story
A decade ago, no one had heard of Straw Bale Gardening. Today, more than half a million people all around the globe are growing vegetables in straw, often in climates and areas where a vegetable garden was never an option. And with so many Straw Bale Gardeners adapting the process to their own situations, you could say that there are half a million lessons to be learned about this new garden technology. Straw Bale Solutions is a testament to that.
Chapter 2 The Straw Bale Gardens Method
In mastering the fundamentals of the Straw Bale Gardens method, it is important to understand that nothing actually grows in straw.
Mind blowing, right?
At first glance, it may appear that Straw Bale Gardeners are planting vegetables in straw, but they are not—they are planting in recently decomposed straw.
Chapter 3 Solutions from Real Straw Bale Gardeners
Across the world, enterprising Straw Bale Gardeners are finding clever ways to adapt their own gardens to their individual situations. Sometimes the solutions are highly practical, other times they are subtle refinements that give a personal touch to a garden. The addition of colorful red tomato cages in this Straw Bale Garden in Oregon visually transform the garden in a unique and beautiful way. See pages 82 to 85.
Chapter 4 Solutions for Schools, Businesses, and Communities
If you have ever been a member of a community garden, you know that the members all show up for the first day of work in the garden and again when harvesting begins, but on weeding day, it can be hard to get them to answer their phones. Whenever groups of people collaborate on any project, it seems a small number of people end up carrying more weight than others in the group.
Chapter 5 Solutions to Help Feed the World
The stories I’ve heard and observed from folks outside the United States who have adopted the Straw Bale Gardens method are often the most amazing to me. When I decided to write this book, I wanted to include stories of gardeners who overcame specific and significant challenges by turning to this method. In some cases, this meant overcoming language barriers and adapting the method slightly to fit the situation that exists in these countries. But there isn’t any translation required when first-time Straw Bale Gardeners, no matter where they hail from, observe the fantastic results. A huge tomato or pepper plant, or a pail per day of cucumbers, elicits a universal response. The word spreads quickly no matter what language is used to pass along the knowledge. It is amazing to see how many Straw Bale Gardening groups are springing up on Facebook, many of them moderated in foreign languages.
Chapter 6 Future Solutions
Since 2009, the year when I drafted and began distributing my first self-published booklet with the details about the method, I estimate that the number of people growing their own vegetable gardens in bales grows by a factor of five times each year, at least. Have a conversation with anyone who has grown their garden in bales already, and it will explain this phenomenon. Every Straw Bale Gardener ends up being approached by skeptics, neighbors, and friends who ask questions about this unusual garden and then get sucked into how simple and successful it is.
MAKING YOUR OWN BALES
Whether you live in Brooklyn, Dublin, Abu Dhabi, or the deserts of Arizona, there are some places where straw bales can be hard to find. No worries. If you have access to organic matter—practically any organic matter—you can form and compress it into planting bales. In my visits to Cambodia and the Philippines, I have seen the locals adopt ingenious techniques for making bales from rice straw. In Costa Rica, they use spent sugar-cane stalks. Basically, if it will rot, you can plant in it. The key is compression. The tightness of the bale causes heat buildup and accelerates the decomposition.
Or you can add compost. The great thing about making your own bales with some compost is that the bales are already partly conditioned. If you press the mixture of compost and fresh organic material into a bale form that holds its shape and supports the plants, the results will be extraordinary. In many instances, the results are even superior to starting with fresh straw bales and fertilizer.
There are many ways to compress a bale. At right you can see a picture of a device I came up with to do it. You can build something like this, or, if you have big feet, you can probably get by with stomping the organic material into a tight mass. Be creative. Make some bales and plant them.
Publisher : Cool Springs Press; Illustrated edition (March 20, 2018)
Language : English
Paperback : 176 pages
ISBN-10 : 0760357390
ISBN-13 : 978-0760357392
Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
Dimensions : 7.4 x 0.65 x 9.7 inches
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