I recently overheard Albert Bates of The Farm make mention of using strawbale walls in greenhouses. Typically strawbale construction treats the straw walls with a lime and clay plaster to create a breathable, weather and bug resistant barrier. If not the bales rot. However when the bales begin to breakdown the process gives off heat. Mr. Bates leaves the strawbale greenhouse walls untreated so that they will decompose over the winter and give off heat to keep the plants warm. The following spring the partially decomposed walls are used to mulch the garden. I scaled down the idea a bit and built myself a strawbale cold frame. Here’s how to do it.
Step One: Stop and pick up old windows being discarded in someone’s trash. (Maybe this is a good time to replace the drafty windows in your very own home)
Step Two: Create a frame using the bales and partially fill it with soil and/or compost.
Step Three: Place your recycled windows over the frame and add plants.
Step Four: Use cat to test for structural integrity and quality of workmanship.
Be sure to prop open your windows during those last warm days of autumn. You don’t want to cook your plants. What an easy way to extend your growing season.