Score One for Straw Bale

One of the quirks of Strawbale gardening is that, even though you don’t have to contend with perennial weeds that are real PIA to pull, conditioning bales of straw (made from cut grass) will generate weeds in your planting medium. You can smother it before it starts, but you will have to do some pulling as I did yesterday.

I’m trying to mulch as I pull so that it’s a one time deal, but since I’ve been sick most of the spring, bending at the waist to pull even a few blades of grass was mindbending I’m not in a good way. That’s how I discovered one of the other more beneficial quirks of this gardening method.

The basic steps of a straw bale garden our place, condition, and plant the bales. Some types of plants need soil on top of the bale before planting; others can go right into the conditioned straw. This year I had the kids do most of the placing – bales can be at least 35 or 40 pounds stone dry, but weeding is less glamorous. I made it even less so yesterday by having Thing1 bring a chair up to the garden after the weeding first bale literally benched me.

After stooping over gardens for the last two decades, sitting in a chair, weeding and mulching the second onion bed that was just the right size and height was not only not strenuous, it was downright enjoyable. Sitting, you get to talk with the cats and dog about what you’re doing (the cats still think you’re nuts), you get to take a look at what’s almost ready to be picked, and you even get to do a little meditating. Sure you get to meditate doing it the old-fashioned way, but being able to sit and do it it’s a big checkmark in the win column for Strawbale gardening this year.

P. S. I still highly recommend a nap when you’re done.

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