coolWe have a neighbor who does this, and they do it out on the boulevard between the sidewalk and the street. On the one hand, yeah - it works great, because they have the best looking roses on the block.
But on the other hand, it's an eyesore. Some of us put a lot of time and effort into growing really nice gardens in the front of our houses, because it makes the neighborhood look so nice. And then you have these doofuses piling bales of straw out by the sidewalk, and they fall apart and mess up the street and the sidewalk and look like hell.
But that's not a knock on straw bale gardening. That's a knock on those dumb neighbors. Even though the 2-foot wide boulevard is not the best place to pile bales of straw, the important thing for the purposes of your question is that it really does seem to work well for their flowers. It's the question of form versus function. Yeah, it may not be all that pretty if you put it out in a nice flower garden, but if you want to get the best and the biggest flowers and vegetables in your backyard, hell yeah. Go for it.
I kind of noticed this way back when i was a kid. If we left a hay bale sitting out behind the barn or something and forgot about it, the next year I'd notice that the plants that were growing out of that hay bale were twice as big and healthy as the plants that were growing in the ground next to it. I mentioned that once to my uncle Wilbur (yeah, I really had an Uncle Wilbur), and he said it wasn't any thang. Said all his life growing up on a farm, everybody knew all about how well that worked.
It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized people were starting to do it on purpose, and turn it into a gardening method. I think the medium is a perfect balance between good drainage and good moisture retention, and liberates a lot of nitrogen as the straw decomposes. Makes a lot of sense if you thin about it; I just never would of thought of it.
Hey, if you want, I'll ask my crazy neighbors for some tips, like if they replace the straw every year or whatever. I suspect they don't, but if you want I'll pump 'em for information and pass it on. Or, you know, what about watering and all that. Cuz i don't know how that all works. But I can ask. People in Kentucky are neighborly. If I just wander over and knock on their door they'll probably offer me a bunch of heroin or crack or whatever, so it'll be worth my while.
thanks, i think i'm going to go for itOk i just spoke to my friend that has gardened like this for several years. She says its very low maintaince if done correctly. Put a barrier beneth the bails so weeds dont grow up through it. There is a two week preeping fase for the straw, and you can find that on line. The straw holds moisture for the plants and the decomposing of the straw is a great mulch. It heats up easy and stimulates growth. She has a watering system in place , and a trailace system.
Not very attractive, and buy straw directly from farmers so you know what your getting, if invaded by weeds or grass its a hard faught battle.