Survival Gardening with Straw Bales?

One of the neat things about gardening is there are so many ways to do it. When it comes to survival gardening, what if you could grow in bales of straw?

If you haven’t heard of straw bale gardening, the concept is quite simple. You plant seeds or root transplants in bales of straw, not hay. Here are a few key features which make it ideal for survival gardening.

  • It can be done anywhere.
  • Little maintenance is required.
  • No need for bending and digging, making it ideal if you have physical limitations.
  • It’s ideal if you have poor soil or limited space.
  • Straw becomes compost as it breaks down.
  • Straw contains fewer seeds than hay, meaning fewer weeds to pull.
  • Bales can last up to two seasons.
If you like, pile two or three bales on top of each other to get the right height. Once you’ve got your bales where you want them, water them down thoroughly. Wait a week while the cooking/composting process begins.

Put soil on top, open up holes for planting, and fill in with more soil before you plant. Your straw bales become a hybrid of container gardening and square foot gardening.

You’ll want to be sure to water often during the summer. Fertilize, too. However, the more you fertilize, the sooner the bales break down. If they’re too broken down to reuse, put them in with your other compost. You are composting, aren’t you?

Why not start a straw bale survival garden this fall?

Some straw bale gardening resources.

View an article entitled Introduction to Straw Bale Gardening. Joel Karsten is a straw bale gardening advocate who teaches classes about it in Minnesota and offers a book called Guide To Straw Bale Gardening.

View a TV news report on swapping soil for straw.

Also, here’s one gardener’s video chronicle of straw bale gardening.



Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

2 thoughts on “Survival Gardening with Straw Bales?”

    1. It’s good to know about different gardening methods and try them out whenever possible. You never know when one might be more suitable than another in a given situation.

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