How to use straw bales for gardening

Updated March 23, 2017

Straw bales are large rectangle shaped "bricks" of straw that you can buy at gardening stores. You can plant vegetables and flowers in straw bales and also use them to cover plants in the winter. Using straw bales for gardening is a great way to avoid planting into the soil that may contain chemicals and pesticides from previous owners. If you want to start a bio garden, straw bales are a great method.

Determine where you want to put the straw bales. The best location is near fences or by pathways where they will get a lot of sunshine.

Lay the straw bales down on their flat side. Water the bales several times a day for two days using a hose. You need to soak the bale with a generous amount of water. The bales will suck the water up so make sure to soak them well.

Choose a cloudy day for planting your plants in the straw bales. If you live in a place where it is sunny a lot, plant in the late afternoon or early evening, around 6 p.m.

Use a trowel to dig a hole in the straw bale. Transplant plants by inserting them into the hole you have made with the trowel.

Pour a 1-inch thick layer of garden soil over the straw bales if you want to sow seeds. Sow the seeds at the depth and distance apart that the manufacturer recommends on the seed packaging.


Use wheat, oat, rye or barley straw for bale gardening. Lay galvanised wire bird netting under the straw bales to stop pests from digging into the bales.

Things You'll Need

  • Straw bales
  • Hose
  • Trowel
  • Garden soil
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About the Author

Janos Gal has been writing since 2008. He wrote for the "Global Journalist" magazine in 2008 and for the "Estrella de Arica" daily in 2009. Gal has traveled extensively in Europe, South America and the United States. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, honors, in journalism from Edinburgh Napier University.