Build Your Vegetable Gardens in the Winter


straw bale compost bin

All the extra time at home this year during the pandemic gave you a taste of the wonders of vegetables grown in your own soil and raised without chemicals. You’ve experienced the gustatory delights of vegetable varieties saved across generations because of how good they taste.

Now you want to expand your gardens. This amazing food is a blessing you don’t plan to give up even when life returns to normal. But fall is wrapping up and we’re heading into winter. Surely there’s no way to build a garden in the cold.

Get ready to experience the lazy gardener’s method of breaking new gardening ground. No tillers, no plows, not even cover crops. You will need to find and haul some straw bales but that’s a one time job and over quickly.

Depending on how much garden cleanup (vegetable or flowers) you have left to do this fall, you might want to start two or three straw bale compost piles instead of just one. When we first began vegetable gardening, we marched a line of these down each side of our small existing planting area. Within one year we’d doubled our planting area. 

Build Your Straw Bale Compost Pile

Starting at the edge of your existing garden (or any new area you wish to garden in), lay out a square of straw bales. Place them two bales per side and build them two bales high. In the center of the pile, insert a long piece of slotted PVC pipe on end – stuck into the ground to hold it upright. This will allow air to come into the center of your pile causing it to compost more rapidly.

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