Strings up or down

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8a)

All the time I have been strawbale gardening I have always been told to put the strings on the ground. I just got a book and it says that the strings should not touch the ground and should be around the outside of the bale standing upright with the open straw ends up. I have been doing this for about 8 years, whats the right way? I am always open to learning new ways.
Mine always worked but I did have problems digging into the bales to plant. The first pic is how they are saying I should plant them and the other two are my bales.

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Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

If your book is the one I've got, the author is considered THE expert on strawbale gardening. And his reasons make sense - strings around the outside help it hold its shape while composting. And cut ends up make it compost more efficiently.
This will be my first year trying it because I have some old straw bales I need to get rid of anyway. I was looking at the book and and I think some of my bales are too rotten already.
I know someone who has been using this method for years and has had good results with warm season stuff - but I can't remember how she sat her bales. I do remember it was one long long single skinny row.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8a)

My bales usually last two years and then I compost them. This is my 8th or 9th year doing this and first year with them up like this. Its worth a try.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm going with strings down. Always have and always had good results. why mess with something when there's nothing wrong with it???
Here are my first batch of bales for the season. Going to get more for another area. I have 7 here. Phoebe's standing gruard.

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Wake Forest, NC

@ pollengarden - i wouldnt consider the author of the book THE expert. He's just gotten the most publicity. Many of us in the SBG forum have been around awhile, too. As for EXPERTS, I had one expert say you couldn't grow anything in bales. Another Canadian "expert" that was quoted in my first newspaper article about my strawbale garden said you would get nothing but "a big wet mess". He dissed the whole idea as absurd.

Wake Forest, NC

The beauty of gardening is you can experiment and see what happens. I've SBG'ed with strings ON and OFF the ground and prefer, hands-down, the strings ON the ground.

2 reasons:

1. Water doesnt run thru the bales as fast. With strings OFF the ground the bales are akin to drinking straws standing straight up.

2. The bales give me a larger surface area for running veggies such as cukes. And also supports my squash and zucchini better.

But again, it's a personal preference. So don't let experts prevent you from trying it another way.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm with you Kent. Mine are on the ground. Well sorta. I was thinking of keeping them off the lawn just why, I'm not sure. I may resort to putting them back on the lawn too. Not sure why I thought of doing it this way. Must be an old age thing. heheh

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I also agree with you, Kent, about keeping strings down for better watering and space. I learned all my strawbale info on this forum plus my experience and I think Kent and the straw balers here are very much "expert"!
I love this method and the composted bales have helped me produce much improved garden soil as well as grow great tomatoes!

Bedford, VA(Zone 7a)

I like strings down as well, have been doing it this way for about 6 years and get 2 years out of most of the bales, then they become perfect mulch!

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