When it comes to trying to find a better way to grow cucumbers – we are always up for the challenge.
After all, cucumbers are one of our family’s favorite vegetables.
Not only are they amazing fresh from the garden, cucumbers, of course, are a necessity when it comes to making pickles.
And without homemade pickles, life would be difficult indeed! See : Our Favorite Pickle Recipes
Check Out Our Podcast On The Secrets To Growing A Great Crop Of Cucumbers!
And so last year, as one of our yearly garden experiments, we set out to see if we could find a simple way to add to our cucumber harvest – without adding additional space to our existing garden.
To do that, we turned to 2 simple straw bales – and the results were simply amazing!
Straw bale gardening has soared in popularity in recent years. Straw bales can be a great answer for those without space or time for a large garden.
And as we found out last year, they can be perfect for growing a bumper crop of cukes.
The Straw Bale Cucumber Experiment – How To Grow Cucumbers With Ease
For starters, the height of the straw bale is ideal. It allows a perfect space for cucumber vines to spread down and around the bale.
In addition, the straw surrounding the planting soil in bales holds and retains moisture perfectly. And if there is one thing that helps to grow cucumbers successfully – its adequate water!
Planting cucumbers in straw bales also keeps weeds and weeding to an absolute minimum.
This is great for the gardener – and the plants. Less weeds means less competition for nutrients.
To plant our straw bale cucumbers, we cut 3 evenly spaced holes in the shape of a triangle on top of the bale. We made each hole approximately 8” deep and 6” in diameter.
We used a reciprocating saw with a 12″construction blade to cut out the holes. It works incredibly fast.
If you don’t have one, a simple knife or blade will complete the job too.
Next we filled the holes with our super soil mix. It is a mixture we make from compost, potting soil and worm castings.
It works wonders for our pots, planters and hanging baskets, so it was a natural for our straw bale planting too.
Then we simply planted, watered, and watched our cucumbers grow!
We watered as needed, and fertilized a few times early on with worm castings at the base of the plants.
And they took off! So fast, that within about 4 weeks, you simply couldn’t see the bale anymore.
We planted Boston Pickling cucumbers in our bales. They are a great choice for pickling and obviously – straw bale planting. 🙂
The cucumber plant’s roots thrived in the soil and compost mix. And by the season’s end – the roots had grown throughout the bale.
We let the foliage and blooms trickle and grow over the bales to the ground below. They even grew up the fence behind the bale as well.
If space is at premium, you could also easily place a trellis behind the bales. But one thing is for sure, the straw bales worked like a charm for us.
Each bale easily produced over a bushel of cukes for the year.
When the plants finally died back, we simply put the remnants of the bale into our compost bin. The slightly decomposed straw and soil mix is perfect for composting.
Here’s to trying new things in the garden! Jim and Mary.
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