Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Benefits of a straw bale raised bed or a Hot bed.

Back in February I shared the construction of our straw bale raised bed


also known as a hot bed.  I half filled it with chicken debris, some of which was fresh, from our chicken house and pen.  Such useful little gals. The debris will begin to compost along with the wet straw bales and produce heat, heating the soil inside.


Then I topped it with about 6 inches of potting soil.  I planted some Trombetta seeds from Renee’s Garden

The absolutely best summer squash you have ever eaten, it stays firm when cooked and has the most fabulous flavor.  Give it a trellis and ROOM, it loves to climb!

But is also likes a long HOT summer, and ours is not so I improvise with the hot bed. 

I also planted a yummy Brandywine tomato.  I planted one in the hot bed and one in my garden in the back yard. 

We have had some crazy weather the past month or so.  Warm and toasty, even at night then the temperature drops dramatically and we get snow!  All who garden know that tomatoes don’t like snow.
Here is my fat and happy Brandywine inside the hot bed.


Yes, that is weeds growing out of the straw bale, I did not get the weed free straw but it is not hard to pull out.

And here is the poor struggling tomato plant outside in the back garden.


I am not sure the photos capture how dramatic the difference is but you can certainly tell in person. 

This tells me I need to put in more straw bale beds.  Last I purchased straw it had jumped to $9 a bale, yikes, just 2 years ago it was $5.  So it is an investment, but they last a few years and if I can get more produce in less time, then it is worth it. 
And how about that squash…


Trombetta is a happy camper too.  In fact, I need to thin out a couple.  I think I have 6 plants that came up. 

I will see if I can transplant some to the back and see how they do.

Though the straw bale bed is not the purdiest thing it is rather disguised with all the flowers blooming their hearts out.


Happy planting everyone!
Backwoods Cottage.com

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  1. I never heard of this before ... fabulous idea. Love your florals, Pamela!
    Have a beautiful day ~
    TTFN ~

  2. Thanks for linking up! This sounds so interesting!

  3. That is very clever--I've never tried that before in the garden. Really great that you have chickens to help as well!

  4. Strawbales make a great compost area too. I was able to acquire 12 bales for free a few years ago after Halloween from a local market that had used them for their fall display. They were happy for me to take them off their hands. Your veggies do look healthy and happy!

  5. How unique! Many happy harvests!

  6. Wish I had known about the Italian Summer Squash before I had filled up my garden space. If I remember (My forgetfulness is becoming epic.) I will plant some next summer. They look wonderful.
    You do have squirrely weather up there so the hay bales with the cover is a great idea.
    You garden is lovely with the flowers all round. Beautiful!
    Enjoy those veggies.

  7. Hi Pam! Love that little hot bed made out of straw! Thanks for sharing your wonderful garden at Farmgirl Friday!

  8. Wow--you have a seriously beautiful garden! Thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday!

  9. This. Is. Awesome. I'm going to try out a straw bale raised bed this year and this is an absolutely brilliant way to use them! Huzzah, thanks for the inspiration! learnherbalmedicine.blogspot.com

  10. I think that you write very attractive article.

    Hochbeet Befüllen

  11. You've saved the day! I was looking for a way to build a hot bed from straw bales and here it is! I'm not much on carpentry, but I can manage moving a few straw bales around.


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