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.

grow cucumbers
A great crop of cucumbers means a cupboard full of pickles!

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 

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.

Planting

grow cucumbers
Planting is easy – simply cut out a growing hole and plant!

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.  See : How To Create Perfect Soil Mix

Watching Magic…

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. 🙂  Product Links : Boston Pickling Cucumber Seeds / Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer

grow cucumbers
Yes, somewhere in there is a straw bale!

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. To receive our 3 Home & Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up for our free email list. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. This article may contain affiliate links.

18 thoughts on “An Amazing Way To Grow Cucumbers With Little Effort!

  • April 26, 2018 at 2:10 pm
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    Do you condition your bales with anything other than your perfect soil mix?

  • April 16, 2018 at 2:32 am
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    can I plant cantelope in straw bales ?

    • April 17, 2018 at 9:21 am
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      Yes you can.

  • April 15, 2018 at 8:02 am
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    I’m going to try my entire garden with straw bales this year. There are books and sites on the topic. Our garden needs to rest. My husband bought me a tiller a few years ago and tills every year. He won’t do the no till gardening. However, this year it will all be in bales which I’ll place with the strings on the sides and plant in the side that has no strings. At the end of the year, we will turn the stray into the ground.

    • April 15, 2018 at 8:18 am
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      Stacey, that sounds like a great idea! I think I might try to grow some of my vegetables in straw bales. I am anxious to see how it works. Wishing you the best.

  • April 12, 2018 at 10:41 pm
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    This all sounds like a wonderful idea! If I grow my cukes in straw bales would that help to eliminate the squash bugs that get them every year that I plant them?

    Would also like to know if I could plant my summer squash in hay bales, and would I get better results. I have terrible infestations with squash bugs every years, and I can’t keep up with them.

    Thanks so much for your help,
    Sherry

  • April 12, 2018 at 9:08 pm
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    Did you plant seeds or plants?

    • April 15, 2018 at 8:14 am
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      I planted both seeds and seedlings!

  • April 12, 2018 at 6:23 pm
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    Could I use a hay bale? It has no rot or mold on them. Straw is hard to find here. No one planted new wheat last year.

    • April 12, 2018 at 7:05 pm
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      Hi Virginia We wouldn’t recommend using hay bales. Unfortunately there are so many weed seeds that are cut down with the hay and it would be a grassy mess by the end of the growing season. The grass then promotes a breeding ground for unwanted insects and disease.

  • April 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm
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    cut holes down to the ground? or just part way thru?

    • April 12, 2018 at 6:04 pm
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      Hi Kathy – Just part of the way through. Enough to plant it deep enough to give it some support.

  • April 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm
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    I have wanted to give this a go for years but we just can’t get straw bales down here in South Louisiana….too far from wheat growing areas I guess. Straw from the rice fields is chopped and left in the rice fields, for crawfish food I assume. Hay does not work at all….too fine and densely packed…just becomes a soggy, mold fest.

    • April 12, 2018 at 6:04 pm
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      Good point Melinda. Definitely don’t want to use hay – as many grass seeds are raked up in the bales which would cause a mess!

  • April 12, 2018 at 12:16 pm
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    How often do you water & how can you tell if plants need water? Should the bale remain moist or should it be allowed to dry between watering?

    • April 12, 2018 at 6:00 pm
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      Hi Gracie Watering will depend on your climate. We water when we plant and then water frequently the first few weeks if we don’t get any rain. The majority of the outside of the bale should dry out between watering to help prevent mold from developing. We water directly at the plants base for best results. Hope that helps!

  • April 12, 2018 at 11:03 am
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    WOW! OK, I always seem to struggle with my cuc’s so I will give this a try. Do you plant on the end, side or the large flat side?

    • April 12, 2018 at 11:19 am
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      We plant it on the large flat side.

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