growing strawberries in bales of hay

Portland, OR

I saw Jan Mcneilan on the local gardening show (Garden Time, I think) talking about how she grew strawberries in a bale of hay. She said it worked wonderfully, but didn't talk about how to plant them in the bale. do you add soil???? Anyone know this method? Thanks

Willamette Valley, OR(Zone 8a)

I suggest you post this on the Vegetable Gardening forum. There is a fellow on there who calls himself Strawbaleman and he is an expert at straw bale gardening! Here is a link to it:

Portland, OR

Thanks Pardalinum, I just checked out the link - there's tons of info there for me. You're a great help!

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

I've got an overabundance of strawberry plants that are getting a little "grabby" for territory. They're staging an assault on the path and have a beachhead, so it's time to move them. Let me know if you'd like some? They're all June-bearing and happily putting out runners for babies right now. I'm pretty sure I have Shuksan and Tristar. I'm not sure what the ones that migrated from the neighbor's are, though.

Portland, OR

Susybell,that is so nice of you to offer! sorry I didn't get back sooner - I've been out of town visiting my parents..... but yes, I would love some..... if the offer is still good. thanks a ton.


Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

You're in luck, I haven't been in a hurry and I really don't like ripping healthy plants up, so I still have lots. I'm out of town for the holiday and will be back midweek. I'll send you a dmail when I get back if that works for you?

Longview, WA(Zone 8b)

Hi susybell and lovedirtynails,
I too live in the Portland area. Are you starting strawberries in the fall? Will they survive the winter in straw bales?
God Bless you, Lonejack

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi lonejack,

I've had my strawberries for a number of years and they have multiplied-and spread quite well-all over one of my garden beds, but I've never done anything with bales. This thread originated in the PNW forum, which is how I saw it. I don't really have a lot of room for strawbale gardening here.

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Straw bale man is Kent Rogers. We all know him here as the kuru of Straw bale gardening.

Here are my strawberries in my Straw Bales

Thumbnail by Gourdbeader Thumbnail by Gourdbeader Thumbnail by Gourdbeader
Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

Gourdbeader, are you planting the strawberry plants directly into the bales or are you adding compost or some kind of soil? Do you feed them anything during the summer. I am considering taking some runners and planting them in the used bales later this summer. I plant everything else like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in a mixture of compost and potting soil which I put in the bales after scooping out a small hole. I also feed those plants with a fish emulsion every couple of weeks. Would that be good for the strawberry plants as well?

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

I plant them directly into the bales and then add a little potting mixture around each one. Thats It. Nothing else but water. I leave them all winter and then they come back the next year. I usually have to transplant on the third year when my bales start to decompose. I usually do this late fall or just after the last frost in spring.
this is my 6th year with the same plants. I have bought a few more to replace some that gave up the ghost but most of these all came from my original plants 6 years ago. I have never added anything to the soil or bales in the way of fertilizers or such and I get the biggest berries in the area. Cool huh?

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I am intrigued that your strawberries do so well without any fertilizer since straw bales do not have much in the way of nutrients. Had you prepped your bales by adding nitrogen to get them to soften? Since I no longer put my new bales out in the spring but rather in the fall and let them sit all winter I find I must add something to the potting soil I put in them for the tomatoes, eggplants, etc. I can understand that your bales would have more nutrients the second or third year as they break down but the first year is my issue. Now that the strawberries are just about over and producing runners I think I will try this in one of my second year bales or get a new one and let it sit for a couple of months until late summer, then plant some of the runners. Thanks for the info.

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

I don't add anything at all. I wanted to add some fertilizer this year to see if it was any better but couldn't find anyone that could give me a definite answer as to what to use how much to use and when to apply it. I know that if you apply it at the wrong time you get beautiful leafs but nothing great in the way of berries.

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