- Acquire straw bales from the local feed store, or farmer.
- Condition the bales with water and fertilizer for several weeks.
- Plant your seeds or transplants.
- Water and fertilize throughout the summer as needed.
Straw and grass is sometimes sprayed with a class of persistent herbicides that will damage or kill many garden crops. Be sure to ask your supplier what herbicides were used.
For detailed instructions on building a straw bale garden, check out these bulletins and videos:
- Straw Bale Gardening - Washington State University Extension
- How To: Straw Bale Garden - Chicago Field Museum
UPDATE: I tried using alfalfa bales this summer instead of straw bales and they worked great! Because the alfalfa is high in protein (ie. nitrogen), no fertilizer is needed. Just condition with water for a few weeks and then transplant! Another advantage is that alfalfa is not sprayed with the same class of persistent herbicides that are used on some grasses. You may be able to get some old bales that have been rained on for free.