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Grow Veggies Anywhere – Straw Bale Gardening

Submitted by Tery Susman, UC Master Gardener of Mariposa County

MARIPOSA–With Spring right around the corner, it’s easy to imagine a lovely home vegetable garden. You can almost taste a perfectly ripe tomato or a sweet pepper still warm from the sun…but alas…you realize that you don’t have the space for a vegetable garden, or your property is mostly granite, and nothing will grow…away goes that lovely garden image.

Wait! You don’t have to give up on that dream so quickly. There is a way to have a flourishing vegetable garden without much space and without good soil! Planting your garden in STRAW BALES is the answer! That’s right, easy to obtain bales of straw, water, and a little bit of fertilizer are all you need to get started.


You can place the straw bales anywhere that they will receive six to eight hours of sunlight each day. The driveway, the deck, on top of pallets to raise them up, the placement options are endless!


Aside from space and soil, there are many advantages to Straw Bale Gardening. No weeding, low cost, no heavy work or tilling, no crop rotation needed, plant on top and the sides of the bales and when the season is over, the straw becomes clean compost to use on your property.


If you think Straw Bale Gardening might be for you, the UC Master Gardeners of Mariposa are holding a workshop on April 6, 2024, from 10:00am – 12:00 noon at McCay Hall, 2820 Highway 140, in Catheys Valley. Come and learn how to condition the bales before planting, how to plant seeds and seedlings, the best options for irrigation and suggestions for companion plants. You will leave with the knowledge you need to successfully start your own Straw Bale Garden.

Space is limited, so sign up today. Register by visiting the website, calling 209-966-2417 or using the QR code.

There is a $5.00 registration fee and the book, Straw Bale Gardens by Joel Karsten will be available to purchase for $25.00 (cash or check). Hope to see you there!

UC Master Gardeners of Mariposa County are located in Mariposa at 5009 Fairgrounds Rd. Visit our website and Facebook page (UC Master Gardeners of Mariposa County) for more gardening information and events.

UC Master Gardeners staff a Helpline serving Mariposa County, including Greely Hill, Coulterville, and Lake Don Pedro 209-966-7078 or email mgmariposa@ucdavis.edu.

Listen to us on the radio at KRYZ 98.5 Mariposa on Wednesdays at 2:00 and Saturdays at 5:00.

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