Straw Bale Gardening with Easy Worm Mix?

April 10, 2015

I recently learned about a VERY cool gardening method called “Straw Bale Gardening” (yeah, I`ve clearly been living under a rock! This method has become very popular!). Joel Karsten (featured in the video above) seems to be one of the leaders in the field, and his Straw Bale Gardening website is excellent!

The reason I am SO excited about this approach is that it offers a “perfect” opportunity to combine vermicomposting with gardening! As I’ve discovered countless times, Red Worms absolutely love wet bales of straw and hay – especially once they have started to decompose.

I have written previously about Gardening With Composting Worms – and am a huge proponent of “vermigardening” – but I haven’t been this excited about a new method in a long time!

Needless to say, I’ll be testing out straw/hay bale gardening this season (have already been scouting out local sources of bales).

Easy Worm Mix offers the ultimate way to inoculate your bales with Red Worms, BUT let me offer you some words of caution if you are thinking about giving this a try.

  • DON’T use any sort of inorganic fertilizer on your bales (as described in video) if you plan to inoculate them with worms. Salts (including fertilizer salts) are very harmful for worms. Using some liquified manure, blood meal, or some other natural “fertilizer” will be the way to go.
  • Make sure you let the bales “cook” and age in general, before attempting to add the worms! Temperatures inside the bales can get very hot early on, and if you are adding a rich nitrogen source, there could potentially be a fair amount of ammonia released (which is also very toxic for worms). Ideally, wait until core is down to 30 C or below – and make sure you’ve given the bale a good soak as well (just in case there are salts in the manure etc).

    I will definitely be writing more about my adventures in straw/hay bale gardening once I get things rolling, so do stay tuned!


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