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Monday, October 12, 2015

Straw Bale Garden Harvest

Harvesting Vegetables from My Straw Bale Garden

One Day's Harvest From My Straw Bale Garden
 One Day's Harvest From My Straw Bale Garden 

I have started to write this "Straw Bale Garden Harvest" post a couple times now, but the garden just keeps on going.  We had a beefsteak tomato tonight with dinner and still get great cherry tomatoes every day.  Even thought the garden is still producing, I will go ahead and summarize the harvest.

If you want to learn all about straw bale gardens, you can learn everything from planning through harvest:


Watermelon from Straw Bale Garden
Watermelon from Straw Bale Garden

Last week, I had one of the best watermelons I have ever had.  Yes, I grew it in a straw bale!  Of all the things I planted in straw bales, I was most skeptical of the chances of growing good watermelons.  I usually have a hard time growing good watermelons in a regular garden, and thought it would be even harder planting a watermelon in a straw bale.  I don't know if it was the weather, or the soaker hose that I used to
provide regular watering, but the watermelon did well and we got 3 big ones.


Cantaloupe from Straw Bale Garden
Cantaloupe from Straw Bale Garden

The cantaloupes produced small fruit, and I am waiting a bit longer to try one.  Since they are small, I hope they will grow a bit more.

String Beans

String Beans from Straw Bale Garden
String Beans from Straw Bale Garden

We had string beans pretty much all summer long.  Having the beans raised up on top of straw bales made them easy to harvest.


We planted some beefsteak tomatoes that were started from seed, but they just didn't do very well.  From a single growing season, I can't tell if they just didn't do well in the straw bales, or if the weather in general just didn't work very well.  We got a few tomatoes, but far less than we hoped.

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes from Straw Bale Garden
Cherry Tomatoes from Straw Bale Garden

I would say the cherry tomatoes were our best crop.  They started producing and just wouldn't stop.  I even had plenty of extra cherry tomatoes to share at work.


The broccoli grew very well and produced a lot of broccoli, but I didn't eat much of it.  We had tons of white cabbage butterflies and so we had lots of worms in the broccoli.  I could have sprayed it, but I didn't want to mess around with chemicals.  The butterflies got it this year.


Same story with the cauliflower- it grew well, but there were a lot of worms.  The problem with pests had nothing to do with the straw bales, we just have a lot of butterflies around.  Next year, I might try putting tents over the cauliflower and broccoli to keep the butterflies off, or maybe use some Sevin garden dust to keep the pests down.

Lettuce and Spinach

The lettuce and spinach grew very well in the straw bales, we planted both of these as seeds right in the bales and covered the seeds with a bit of soil.  I almost forgot about these crops- we finished harvesting these in early spring.  We had fresh salad a number of times.

Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers from Straw Bale Garden
Jalapeno Peppers from Straw Bale Garden

We got lots of jalapeno peppers and they were really, really spicy!

Bell Peppers

We harvested 8 or 10 peppers, which was OK for the small number of pepper plants we put out.  The peppers were on the small side, but this may have been due to the variety of pepper.


I would say onions were the only crop that failed.  The onions didn't grow very will in straw bales.  I planted about 30 onions from onion sets and we didn't get any at all.  I think I did not water them enough.  As I have mentioned, it takes regular watering to have success with a straw bale garden since the straw bales don't seem to hold water as well as the ground.


The potato plants grew very well in straw bales, and I look forward to a very easy harvest in a few weeks.  I'll simply pull the straw bale apart and scoop up the potatoes- this should be much easier than digging into the ground looking for the potatoes.  I like to harvest potatoes just before Thanksgiving and will probably use them in Thanksgiving dinner.


I almost forgot about the cucumbers since we pulled the plants last week.  They produced tons on cucumbers all summer long.

My Straw Bale Garden at Harvest
My Straw Bale Garden at Harvest
Thanks for following the straw bale garden this year!  Look for more gardening adventures next spring...

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