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Straw Bale Gardening

August 8, 2017
by Anna Veltri , Emmetsburg News

Dan and Lisa Mills of Lawler street successfully attempted a new gardening experiment this summer: straw bale gardening. While this gardening practice sounds unusual, it has become a worldwide phenomenon that has impacted gardens everywhere.

Straw bale gardening is exactly what it sounds like- a gardener plants their garden in a bale of straw. The straw has many benefits to the garden and gardener: a straw bale garden is essentially weed free, the garden is organic, one can plant earlier in the season before the last frost, and the straw bales are slightly raised making it easier for those that may have problems with mobility. The Mills came across this idea on the Internet after Dan hurt his back. It was difficult for him to work at ground level.

Dan mentioned that he plans to use straw bales again next spring, but with the knowledge that he has now he would plant in late February/ early March. One the straw bales have been conditioned, they are able to keep plants warm all night long without the risk of frostbite. If they had planted earlier, the Mills believe they would be on their second or third crop of the season.

Article Photos

SPAGHETTI?SQUASH- Dan and Lisa Mills proudly hold their first Spaghetti Squash of the season. The couple utilizes Straw Bales as their garden beds.?The straw essentially eliminates the need for weeding. The bales also allow the couple to plant their garden earlier in the season. --Anna Veltri,?Photo

The Mills were successful in growing tomatoes, carrots, onions, lettuce, spinach, sweet potato, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, carrots, cilantro, thyme, basil, sage, mint, watermelon, pumpkin, cucumbers, and peas. All of these plants have produced more in the straw bales than they have in regular dirt gardening. Next year they plan to shape their garden as an "E" for Emmetsburg.

For more information on straw bale gardening, please visit or purchase Straw Bale Gardens Complete by Joel Karsten.



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