Gardening enthusiasts across the country are turning to straw bale gardening as an inexpensive and effective way to plant raised beds. When your mom’s mobility is changing, she doesn’t have to give up her favorite hobby. Straw bales allow her to garden without needing to build anything.
How Does Straw Bale Gardening Work?
Plants need nutrients to thrive. That’s why many people compost household scraps and add that to their garden soil. A straw bale garden raises the surface of the garden off the ground and grows its own compost. As the straw material decomposes, more nutrients are released for the growing plants.
The reason straw bales work so well is because the straw is hollow and holds moisture. While many raised bed gardens can dry out if they’re not properly watered each day, a straw bale garden holds moisture. You can forget to water it every now and then, and it really won’t matter.
Placing Your Straw Bales
You want to place bales close to the house next to areas your mom is capable of walking. Bordering a patio, sidewalk, or driveway is best as the ground is most likely to be even. Do this before you start soaking them. Make sure the open end of the bale faces up and that the twine edges are parallel to the ground. This gives you the most room to plant.
Prepping the Bales
With straw bale gardening, you grow a garden in a straw bale. It’s that simple. The bale does need to be prepped in advance. To do that, you place some fruit and vegetable fertilizer over the top of the bale and soak the bale with a hose. The water will move the fertilizer into the bale.
Make sure you add additional fertilizer and soak the bale each day. Rainy days will take care of this for you. After two weeks, the water, warmer temperatures, and fertilizer start to break down the straw. This is the perfect time to plant.
What Grows Well in Straw Bales
Straw bale gardens can grow almost anything. People have had incredible success with eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes. Greens (spinach, kale, and lettuce) are other crops that thrive in straw bales. You can even grow root crops like potatoes, carrots, and beets. Avoid very tall plants like corn.
Fresh Vegetables Are an Important Part of Your Mom’s Diet
Studies find that a diet high in vegetables is ideal for lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of certain cancers. With fresh vegetables readily available, your mom is able to eat well and freeze any extras.
If she struggles with meal preparation, talk to a home care agency. There are home care aides who can come to her home, help her harvest her crops, and cook them for her each day. Find out more by making a call.