Today I’m looking at a new to me but old methodology of growing tomatoes. Growing in straw bales. I’ve not tried it nor seen it done but was fascinated to hear about the technique so wanted to share it.
There are differing recommendations on the detail so I’m posting links to people who have actually used the method.
General principles :
- Newly harvested straw provides a fresh, uncontaminated growing medium for use in a greenhouse environment
- Straw (oat/wheat/barley) bale needs to be small in size and organic( residue weed killer is a no- no!)
- Make a hole/several (depending on bale size ) in each bale, pop some farmyard manure into each hole and let the nitrogen from the manure start breaking down the straw.
- Like a compost heap you can cover with carpet or cardboard to keep the heat in and help it along
- Spray/Soak the bale with water to keep moist and fermenting
- When the bale is ready (advice on how long this takes varies) create a bigger hole for the tomato plant (add compost/not) but essentially plant the tomato in the straw bale
- The plant will get plenty of nitrogen from the breaking down straw but will need other nutrients, so feed with liquid feed and a high potash feed/liquid comfrey for flower and fruiting
- At the end of the season you will have the bonus of ready made soil conditioner in the form of the spent straw
Photo by Matthiasschack