Q & A

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E. Vinje

Hi Robert –

Good question. The best technique for conditioning straw bales for gardening is to use an organic fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen. Sprinkle it over the bales — or apply through your drip system by making a liquid solution –and water to draw it into the bale. Some experts recommend using traditional chemical fertilizers for curing, but we organic gardeners wouldn’t want to do that. However, we could get the same effect by using organic fertilizers high in nitrogen, say blood meal or cottonseed meal; or an organic fertilizer mix with good nitrogen content. Not much fertilizer is needed, but thorough watering is important. Don’t over water to the point where your nitrogen source is washed away. Here’s our article on the subject:


For drip irrigation you may want to consider our Alaska Fish Fertilizer (5-1-1). It’s a good organic, yet inexpensive, liquid fertilizer that should NOT clog your emitters.

Hope it helps!