This idea has become a bit expensive out here in recent years, but I have built several straw bale gardens over the years. They are a great way to grow greens and herbs and once they compost they make a great start on a regular garden area.
Straw bale gardens can be a single bale or more elaborate configurations. I chose a maze like configuration so I could lay a soaker hose all along the tops of the bales for easy irrigation.
First I put down a layer of newspapers, feedbags and cardboard – whatever is available right on top of any mowed area. Next I lined up the bales the way I wanted them.
I put a 3 inch layer of mushroom compost and topsoil mixed on top of the bales. ALso put in a good fertilizer like blood meal or fish emulsion.
The poles are for a net fence to keep the peacocks, chickens and deer out of the garden. Those poles are slipped over t posts. I got a truckload of them in one of my treasure hunts! They are the core of rolls of material used to cover pallets of paper or plywood at the mills. An easy 8 ft fence.
I put this garden in in February and let it soak! It will heat up substantially. If you don’t get several feet of rain like we do here you need to soak the bales with a hose and it would probably be best to build the garden in the fall. By the end of March the garden was starting to grow:
In a few more weeks I had a beautiful garden. THe following year I left the herbs grow in this area and planted a new strawbale garden in a different spot. Next spring I hope to do another garden in my back yard.