Diploma Portfolio : 04 Straw Bale Planters


This design consisted of straw bale planters positioned outside the same parade of shops as the column. In them grew vegetables and fruit that were free to be picked by local people.

Design Aims: 

  • To create temporary edible planters that are people friendly and bee friendly (people care, earth care and fair share).
  • They need to be safe, welcoming and accessible to local people (people care).
  • They need to be low maintenance and at this stage temporary (earth care and people care).

Framework: SORDID (Spontaneous, Organic, Resource Driven, Inspired Design) (Devised by Douglas Beal) and CEAP (Collect, Evaluate, Apply permaculture principles, Plan)
Tools: Base maps, Overlays, Sector analysis, Microclimates, SWOC (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Constraints), Stacking.
Principles: Holmgren
Key successes: Positive contributions and ownership from the local community, 
Supply of salad crops, vegetables and fruit. Huge engagement with local people because of the curiosity it generated.
Key challenges and how they were overcome: A concern that the bales would be vandalised – inadvertently overcome by the addition of manure (seemingly vandals don’t like to get their clothes dirty!) The straw bales were too fresh and new and didn’t rot down as quickly as expected – overcome by pulling a lot of the straw out of the top and putting soil in instead. Because of the heat generated, some of the plants growth was inhibited, this wasn’t really overcome, but was a learning point, and some plants in later stage of growth were put in instead. Any spare plants were distributed around the community.
Evaluation of content: The bales were semi successful. Some plants grew well and were shared with the community. They were safe and welcoming but were high maintenance though. (More evaluation in the document)
Reflection on the process: comparing 2 frameworks was much more work but really enlightening (longer comparison in document). Observation of the microclimates was really useful, dictated where and how the plants were placed. 

Sign in Planter

Straw Bale Planters


Supplied as a PDF