1) Purchase rectangular straw bales, STRAW bales NOT hay bales, leave the strings on the bales and place them in a sunny spot cut side up. (Strings should not be on the ground)

Prepping the Straw Bale (For best results)

2) Water each bales until soaked for 3 days.
3) For next 3 days spread ½ cup of Ammonium Nitrate on top side of each bale and water until Ammonium Nitrate is no longer visible. (NOTE: Use a measuring cup that will not be used in the kitchen.)
4) For next 3 days spread use ¼ cup 10-10-10 fertilizer or ¼ cup of Ammonium Nitrate and water until it is no longer visible.

*On the 10th day the bale is ready for planting.*
Tools needed: Small hand garden spade and scissors. (Note spade is needed for planting hole and scissors needed to trim any weeds that grow.)
You will need topsoil, potting soil or compost soil to plant.

5) You can either make a hole with the hand spade roughly 6inches by 6 inches and fill the hole with your plant and potting soil or the potting soil and seed as recommended. You can also spread about 3 inches of the planting soil across the top of the straw bale and seed or plant directly in the soil with recommended spacing. Water as needed and fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks.

(Note: Recommended plants include strawberries, lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, squash, potatoes, peppers or just about anything but deep root crops.)
You can stake the bales in the ground to hold them in place. You can also add sheet plastic to make a mini green house and protect young plants from frost.

At end of the planting season, straw can be recycled into compost for the next planting season.  You can also use this method to replace container gardening and you can plant on patios, decks anywhere you can place the strawbale in the proper amount of sunlight. 

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Comment by Adisa on July 24, 2013 at 6:14pm

@Kimeli Wade this is working very well for me.  I will definitely use this method again.  So far I am growing cucumbers, tomatos, peppers, okra, cantaloupe, squash, tomatillo, green beans, cilantro and kale out of the straw bales. 

Comment by Kimeli Wade on July 17, 2013 at 12:01pm

How is this working for you?

Comment by Adisa on February 14, 2013 at 8:03am

I will post a PDF of these instructions including images soon.  I am going to test this growing method and compare it to soil, aquaponics and hydroponics and container gardening.

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