Sunday, March 6, 2011

Straw Bales

    Today was the day for obtaining straw bales for our garden. I guess I should back up a bit and explain what sent us on our quest to acquire these straw bales. A couple weekends ago while at the garden and patio show we came across a display about self sustainably. While looking at their worm composting bins, and chicken coops, just as we were moving on to the next display, something caught my eye. A straw bale with a smattering of rich colored dirt and the sprouts of new plants coming up.  I read the display card to discover that this was an inexpensive solution to a raised garden bed. I immediately recalled my mother telling me about such a technique a few years earlier, but since I was just starting out with gardening back then (our garden that year was over taken by weeds before the first beans or peas came up, and was abandoned before spring was even over) I had taken little notice of this advise and filed it away for later contemplation. Well, since I have begun work on some raised beds this year, but will not have achieved the height I'm looking for until next season (I am adding wooden boards as money permits) and our new raised beds are so large that it will take forever to fill them with planting soil and compost, not to mention that we haven't even produced the amount of compost that would be needed, I thought it may be a good idea to use some straw bales in the largest bed and as they compost down we can use those as filler for my raised beds next year.
    Cut to today's escapades. I have been hoping, since last weekend when I found an add on craigslist for straw bales offered at $2 a bale, to pick up 10 bales of straw this weekend. However, in order to accomplish this we required the use of someone's truck. Normally we have a trailer that's been made from a cut off truck bed (I know, how white trash) but since the bf's trailering vehicle is in absentia at the moment we were in need of a substitute hauler. After trying to borrow one of many trucks from his parents which led to my bf being asked if he was on drugs! and getting the runaround before finally finding out that the reason they would not let us borrow one is because there is currently no insurance on any of them, and trying multiple times to get his brother on the phone to ask to borrow his, we finally got the okay from his brother this morning at 11 am. We had arranged to pick up the bales at 1.30, and the bf was insisting we go bowling with his friends this morning before getting the truck.
    Suffice it to say after winning a game of bowling, which by the way I don't think I have ever done, we were off to get the truck and pick up our bales. After a lot of rules and regulations from his brother regarding the truck we were on our way, and only 10 or 15 minutes late to pick up the bales. $20 later and we were headed back across town. Our half hour journey took approximately one and a half hours. For fear of loosing the bales on the highway, and because we had no tie-downs, we deemed it necessary to take side roads ALL THE WAY. I don't know if anyone reading this has ever been in an old diesel dodge pickup, but I have not. I nearly hit my head on the ceiling when we went over a pothole early in our journey, and by the end I was so carsick I had to stop and buy ginger ale to settle my stomach after dropping the truck back off.
    Well, it was all worth the effort. We now have a nice little raised garden of ten straw bales, ready to prepare for this years planting season. I'm so excited, I can't wait for spring to get here. Next week I hope to get the Pallet Shed's living roof finished and the scooter port up and roofed as well. Lets hope there's less aggravation trying to get that accomplished. Weather permitting.


  1. That is so exciting, and it looks great! I never knew about straw bales being used for raised beds, but it makes total sense, and the compost is wonderful!

    I need to come over and see and help you with it! And also because I haven't been over in a while. My bad. =)

    I'm so excited for you, Kat, I swear. I'm all giddy and it's not even my straw bales! lol

  2. yeah, it's a great idea and as they compost down they provide nutrients to the plants. i think to maximize space i'm going to do some hanging tomatoes and peppers and such.

    and it's ok that you haven't been over. i haven't been over there either. i haven't even seen your new baby yet! we're just crap at getting together ;o)