Straw Bale Gardening - Should I Plant Seeds or Seedlings?

We have collaborated with Joel Karsten, best selling author of Straw Bale Gardens, to bring you timely tips for your garden. To see the whole post and the rest of the published series go to
Once the straw bales have been conditioned properly for 10-12 days they are ready to plant. It is possible to direct seed many crops right into the straw bales.
To plant seeds, it is crucial to first make a seed bed on top of the bales. DO NOT use a shovel of soil from the garden nearby, as that top soil will probably contain diseases, insects and certainly weed seeds that we are attempting to avoid by planting into the brand new soil we have created as the straw bales decompose
Skipping the seedling stage is desirable for some plants, particularly those crops with a long growing season, in order to assure that the crop matures early enough to avoid an early frost. Tomatoes are a great example as many varieties have a long “days to maturity” requirement,
Straw Bale Gardens perform very well. This is a picture of Joel's garden last year. Notice how he plants strawberries in the side of the bale.

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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  • Carole Carole on Apr 16, 2016
    I planted my garden in straw bales last year and it was the most amazing garden I ever had! I will never plant in dirt again. Thank you for writing your book Mr. Kirsten. It was so informative and easy to understand.

  • Dan330 Dan330 on Apr 16, 2016
    That's great Carole! We are doing a 2016 Grow your own Challenge centered on straw bale gardening. Watch for our series.