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Strawbale Gardening: I've become a social outcast

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fremar
Comer, GA
(Zone 7b)

June 21, 2009
2:35 PM

Post #6718565

And I blame all of you!
My neighbors won't even answer the door anymore, they just yell through the door that they can't take any vegetables. I once was able to water and harvest veggies in less than an hour and a half, now it takes me 2 to 2 1/2 hours just to harvest.
And it's all because of this blasted strawbale gardening,I started this morning at 7 am and didn't finish til after 10 am. I've NEVER had so many squash,cucumbers and beans. not to mention over a gallon of grape tomatoes off one plant in the last 2 days.
I may have to become a vegetarian just to keep up with what I can't give away.
Thank you all for opening my eyes to a wonderful way of gardening, I may never grow in the dirt again.
fremar
Comer, GA
(Zone 7b)

June 21, 2009
3:03 PM

Post #6718685

this was what I've picked since Friday, my bell peppers are sorta small but the plants are full and I'm in a race against the slugs

Thumbnail by fremar
Click the image for an enlarged view.

KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

June 21, 2009
3:55 PM

Post #6718889

Glad to hear the good report! :-)

I've been "preaching" bale gardening for 5 years, and although it isn't the ONLY way to garden, it sure works for me (and you!). LOL

Now repeat after me... "My name is fremar and I'm a bale gardener!" :-)

Keep up the good work!
fremar
Comer, GA
(Zone 7b)

June 21, 2009
4:26 PM

Post #6718998

"My name is fremar and I'm a bale gardener!"
"My name is fremar and I'm a bale gardener!"

And I never want to quit!!!!!!!
My dad is really going to be surprised when he sees his fathers day present this year LOL, first time he ever got produce for a present.
I'm waiting on a recipe for a zucinni relish from a lady I work with, I think I'll threaten her with more veggies if she doesn't hurry up and get it to me
another view of this weekends crop,I feel like a proud papa I've never had this kind of crop before.

Thumbnail by fremar
Click the image for an enlarged view.

KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

June 21, 2009
7:56 PM

Post #6719667

Google "zucchini relish recipe".

Lots of choices.

Unless you've already decided on your friend's recipe.

My wife was thinking of making the same thing.
quilter_gal
(Elizabeth) DFW Area, TX

June 25, 2009
6:30 PM

Post #6737611

Hello,

It's so encouraging to see such rave reviews for straw bale gardening - I just love seeing the pictures and your gardens and harvests look so beautiful!

Elizabeth


KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

June 26, 2009
5:04 AM

Post #6740158

Elizabeth, appreciate that. Come join us!
fremar
Comer, GA
(Zone 7b)

June 26, 2009
10:09 PM

Post #6742748

Kent , would you be willing to travel and do seminars to teach your process. I've been singing your praises and have contact with alot of organic farmers around Athens who might be willing to attend something like this. Of course I would be happy to help get something started if you're willing and able.
Who knows you might unload some of those T-shirts too,,,LMAO.

In fact we have a very large farmers market in Athens supported my what I would call "naturalist" for lack of a better word.

Freddie
Eufaula
Eatonton, GA
(Zone 8b)

June 27, 2009
12:34 AM

Post #6743295

Whooo Hooooo! Way to go Fremar!! Terrific looking Veggies!
I had the same problem with too many squash and Huge Zuchinis all at once! But with a little perseverence I got them all and cooked them down and froze those suckers!!! Yummm , Winter is going to be great this year!
I didnt have a Slug problem but the Ding dang Japanese Beetles just took over my pole beans... the leaves just look like a bunch of green lace hanging out there! Then the tomato Hornworms got started , I had to really look good everyday to keep ahead of them!
Hey where bouts in Athens is the Farmers Market?? Thats only about 50 mile from me!
frausnow
Winterville, GA
(Zone 7b)

June 27, 2009
12:54 AM

Post #6743408

Fremar,
I went to the Athens Farmer's Market for the first time last Saturday. I was impressed. There was a nice crowd, too. Bought some good ole fashioned sour dough bread, but the veggie's were impressive...what a selection! I use to go to a farmer's market in Allentown when we lived in PA and the Athen's one isn't nearly as big, but it sure does compare quality wise. Everything from coffee to earrings and even some samples of food.

I spoke with Becky Brightwell of UGA’s Institute of Human Development and Disability back on June 25th who was a guest speaker at our Civitan meeting. She had an interesting talk on the Agrability program in Georgia. It is a program to assist handicapped agricultural workers in returning to work as a productive farming business worker or owner. I mentioned the strawbale gardening and she was very interested and even came out to my house that evening to take a look at my bales. She wanted to come back the next day with a camera and some other people, but never did. With my husband being in the hospital for 5 days and now at home recuperating, I just never got around to contacting her. I'll try to remember to do that and will let you know if anything comes of it.

KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

June 27, 2009
1:42 AM

Post #6743645

Freddie: appreciate the compliment and potential invitation.

However, my presentation would be kind of like the guy in the commercial that gets up and says "Wausau" and walks off the stage.

Except, I'd just say "DavesGarden.com - Strawbale Forum"! LOL

They'd probably rather hear from a local speaker, such as yourself, better than me.

Now, if the flight was in a Gulfstream G350, generous speaker fee and back in 1 day, well, I'd just have to come up with something! :-)
fremar
Comer, GA
(Zone 7b)

June 27, 2009
2:43 AM

Post #6743880

Eufala, The Farmers Market is held at Bishop Park which is kind of North West Athens I'm pretty sure map quest can find it for you. They have pretty good parking and from what I understand a very good variety of produce. I know several of the farmers that sell there many are certified organic and as Frausnow said the also have fresh baked bread and fresh ground coffee as well as arts and crafts.
I'm not certain but I believe they're open into September also, Given a little time I can put you in touch with some of the people who organize it or maybe get you their web site.

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 29, 2009
6:14 PM

Post #6754413

Heck Kent I'd fight you for that engagement!!! (With your uniform off of course!)

Doug
fremar
Comer, GA
(Zone 7b)

June 30, 2009
1:36 AM

Post #6756300

Kent, Doug the best I can do is an '83 Toyota pickup a bottle of Jim Beam and fresh homegrown vegeteables. But I can almost garrantee the Toyota will make the round trip. LOL
I've got something cooking that may come to pass, if it does Kent could I pick your brain for ideas if I did maybe a 2 or 3 hour discussion/class about bale gardening.
Maybe I could teach 10 people and they could each teach 10 people, so forth and so on.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

June 30, 2009
1:55 AM

Post #6756401

Doug: LOL!

fremar: pick away, my friend. I'll help any way I can. You'll do a good job. Just tell your story.

A good witness just tells what they've seen and heard.

Just remember the old adage: Use a few well chosen words along with a visual aid.

And finally, the 3 B's of public speaking: Be brief, brother! :-)
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

June 30, 2009
3:36 AM

Post #6756893

I want to see some pictures of your garden please. wow, you sound like you have just struck gold in the vegie dept. I am so impressed. I have been doing great with my strawberries. Yum. Here is one I picked yesterday. I shared it with my DSH it was so big

Thumbnail by Gourdbeader
Click the image for an enlarged view.

fremar
Comer, GA
(Zone 7b)

July 2, 2009
1:36 AM

Post #6765942

Kent has the beautiful garden, I just got lucky and had plenty of rain in the spring. I'm paying for it now though...no rain for at least two weeks

Thumbnail by fremar
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

July 2, 2009
4:22 AM

Post #6766738

Holy Toledo and not just because thats where I live. You have got some major growing going on there. Sorry about the water situation. We actually hit the high 70's today. Felt like more but we are still in the green. Grasses are still green and they usually stay that way here. I have had to water a little heavier in the evening to rewet the ground bed but my bales seem to be doing just fine.
Wow, You have the green thumb going on there.
Thanks for the pic.
Jan

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

July 2, 2009
1:09 PM

Post #6767475

Jan I passed your way going to Whitmore Lake last weekend.

Doug
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

July 2, 2009
2:18 PM

Post #6767790

Not sure where Whitmore is but I think you are thinking I live in Toledo, Ohio. I live in Toledo, Oregon. Hehehe
I think that we are a little further apart then you thought.
Jan

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

July 2, 2009
5:36 PM

Post #6768630

Yeah I do believe you are right!! That would have been a heck of a long drive for a weekend!!!

Doug
frausnow
Winterville, GA
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2009
12:36 AM

Post #6770438

My cherry tomatoes were so prolific I decided I'd had enough of them so I pulled out the plants and replaced them with one each of 3 different other varieties for canning after harvest. One variety was Celebrity, but I can't remember the other two. I left the Roma and Amish tomato plants. Next year I'll remember to only plant one or two cherry tomato plants.

Harvested some cukes this morning and had cuke salad for supper tonight. :-)

Saw a couple of Acorn squash and spaghetti squash... have lots of eggplants and peppers, too.
beadmom
Bend, OR
(Zone 5a)

July 4, 2009
3:30 AM

Post #6775195

Ye have not been cast from Dave's Garden

(That's all that counts)

Ginger
LiliMerci
North of Atlanta, GA
(Zone 8a)

July 18, 2009
4:32 AM

Post #6833440

fremar, I am ROFL at your comments about people not letting you in their house because of your veggies.

I am a first time tomatoes grower. I don't even eat that much tomatoes but I just love growing it. I bought 2 heirloom plants this year and my next door neighbor let me plant in his garden because the deer eat everything in my garden if I don't spray them. I don't know why they don't eat in his garden.

Anyway, I just started reading about this strawbale gardening and I can't seem to find the 1st forum - only the 2nd forum. What is the advantage of using the strawbale for gardening. You guys actually need a "sticky note" thread in this forum for newbies like me.

I am always learning something new on DG.
LiliMerci
North of Atlanta, GA
(Zone 8a)

July 19, 2009
5:27 AM

Post #6836904

oh and on one of those thread where Kent was looking for a logo for t-shirt. How about...
ready for this?... drum roll please...
"Bale Out" :)
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

July 20, 2009
2:09 AM

Post #6839810

LiliMerci: here's the 1st link that STARTED THE FIRE!!! LOL

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/584625/
LiliMerci
North of Atlanta, GA
(Zone 8a)

July 20, 2009
2:37 AM

Post #6839928

thanks! I've forwarded the information for to my neighbor and I told him were were doing this next year.

Solace

Solace
Monte Vista, CO
(Zone 4a)

July 15, 2012
10:15 AM

Post #9205912

fremar wrote:Kent , would you be willing to travel and do seminars to teach your process. I've been singing your praises and have contact with alot of organic farmers around Athens who might be willing to attend something like this. Of course I would be happy to help get something started if you're willing and able.
Who knows you might unload some of those T-shirts too,,,LMAO.

In fact we have a very large farmers market in Athens supported my what I would call "naturalist" for lack of a better word.

Freddie


There's always teleconferencing, Freddie, Skype maybe? If Kent has a camera.
kattykorn
Cleveland, GA
(Zone 7a)

April 22, 2013
9:19 PM

Post #9493971

I am new here and new to straw bale gardening. Saw it mentioned on a Facebook gardening group and went researching. Since I am a senior, with bad back, knees, etc. and am getting too old anyway for a lot of bending and digging, this was a perfect solution. Last fall I bought my "retirement home" here in the NE GA mountains. The lot was mostly wooded and the one area with enough sun to grow veggies was overgrown with wild honeysuckle, wild blackberry and tree saplings. Spent the winter clearing part of that area, cutting stem by stem with a long handled pruner. Wanted to preserve any wildflowers or other things I might want to keep, so didn't clear cut. Good thing, found a lot of plants worth keeping.

Anyway, starting with just 8 bales and starting late. Will no doubt make mistakes but I will learn. The wheat straw bales I bought were awfully heavy, which should have been my first clue. They are really tightly baled! They didn't have natural twine, so I set the bales with the twine on top and bottom. Should have set them on their sides because they are so tight I can't yet push my hand in them! Been 7 days and they don't seem to be heating. But the weather here turned cold again and we have had two heavy, cold rains. Hope I am keeping them wet enough. Also, didn't have super high nitrogen for them so that may also be slowing them down. Plus, they don't get full sun all day now that the trees are starting to leaf out. Only about 6 hours. But I won't have to worry about digging/tilling and then fighting honeysuckle, blackberry, weeds and tree roots. Debating on if I should get more bales or if it is too late.

Solace

Solace
Monte Vista, CO
(Zone 4a)

April 22, 2013
10:03 PM

Post #9493989

I don't think it's too late. Ahhhh, honeysuckle! I wish I had some honeysuckle, it's one of my favorite plants. The barley bales I got last year were very tightly baled, like yours, and I couldn't wedge anything down into them. I did plant corn in one and it went crazy. I had to use a small hand shovel to pry them open enough to transplant, and it bent the little shovel! Mine had just not broken down enough, but this year I turned them all upside down (yes they're still all together with the twine) and will plant in them again. I planted garlic in a row of them and I have eleven coming up. I didn't have enough of the garlic I grew last year to do a whole row ('cause I love to cook...my bad) so I planted some that seemed all dried out from last year. The doggone things came up!! Surprised me. I planted flowers on the end, and spinach from last year's seed, but neither of them are up yet, but it's still quite cold here at night, so time will tell. Just keep watering them, kattykorn, and give them nitrogen and eventually they'll be heated up, cooled down, and ready to party. :) The growing season there is on your side. Mine is only 90 days, so I have to start some things WAY early in the house. Hang in there!
kattykorn
Cleveland, GA
(Zone 7a)

April 22, 2013
11:20 PM

Post #9494013

Thanks Solace. I did kind of think that I could plant some things later on and be OK with it. Especially since I wont have full sun all day. Here, if you plant late in full sun, forget it, everything fries. Just too hot. At least, that was my experience down in Metro Atlanta. That was zone 8 and I am zone 7a here. Also, that area was really drought plagued the last several years. It hasn't been nearly as bad up here. I love honeysuckle, as long as it isn't Japanese honeysuckle, which is a non-native, invasive as hell weed here. We have native honeysuckles that are much better. Someone planted Japanese honeysuckle on the fence out front by the road. It was so heavy it was pulling the fence over and it has spread all over the property. I'm constantly ripping it up. The roots run forever and leave one speck of root and it comes back. I am fortunate with the growing season here. I can grow pretty much year round. Some cold lovers like kale, spinach and so on will winter over if the winter is fairly mild and root crops like carrots etc. I have dug carrots in January here. We plant garlic here in the fall. I moved to GA from MI and thought I had died and gone to gardening heaven!
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

April 23, 2013
7:26 AM

Post #9494267

I am fortunate enough to have some wonderful young men that deliver the bales and put them right where I want them so I have to plan ahead a bit. I have never used anything to break down the bale ever. I live in Oregon and we get plenty of rain so watering them aren't a problem but I don't understand why the need for the nitrogen. I planted my bales with strawberries this year and the deer loved them. Fortunately, they didn't eat them entirely. They munched down to about two inches and even left some flowers. So... I... covered them with a little bit of soil which I don't normally do but I don't normally have deer. We just moved, and I built chicken wire covered wagon sort of cages to go over each bale. Voila, nothing has bothered them ...so far. This is the first year I have planted some flower bulbs just to see what happens. They were already there at the house and starting to sprout so I figured I would give them a try and I also put a little soil over them too. I would take pics but my husband has the camera down in California right now.
These are mine from a couple of years ago with no nitrogen or not additives at all, not ever fertilizer.
The empty bales are some hay bales that someone gave me that decomposed in two months. never ever use anything but straw. This is what they looked like in two months. My straw bales last two years. Yep. two years.

Thumbnail by Gourdbeader   Thumbnail by Gourdbeader   Thumbnail by Gourdbeader      
Click an image for an enlarged view.

kattykorn
Cleveland, GA
(Zone 7a)

April 26, 2013
8:10 PM

Post #9498525

Sure wish I had someone to deliver the straw! I could only fit 8 bales in my old SUV and they made a real mess. It was no easy job for little old lady me to unload them and tote them to the garden spot either! So, they have been curing for 11 days now and I'm a bit at a loss as to where they are. I expected to feel more heat from them once they started cooking, but so far, that isn't the case. I don't have a thermometer, but didn't consider it all that important, figuring I could just stick my hand down in the bale to judge the status. The problem is they are baled so tight I can't get a hand in there! Didn't have ammonium nitrate, used fish emulsion and top dressed with a bit of cow manure compost (which I thought might work down into the bale some). I missed wetting them down a couple times and don't know if they dried out too much in the centers. We also had a cold spell with hard driving, cold rains that may have leached out some of the nitrogen. Still can't tell if I'm making any progress. The bales have grown a lot of "hair" and today I noticed several had a lot of tiny mushrooms growing on top. Dunno if that is good or bad sign? Any hints on how I can tell if they are ready to plant?
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

May 4, 2013
7:22 AM

Post #9507715

"Hair" and 'shrooms are a GOOD sign.

You can transplant.

A wine bottle is a great tool for make the holes.

You can get some potting mix to help chink any spaces that remain after you set your plants.
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

May 5, 2013
4:11 PM

Post #9509537

I use a short pry bar to open the flakes just enough to set the plants then push it together again,
quiltygirl
No Central, AZ
(Zone 7b)

May 7, 2013
8:14 AM

Post #9511710

My first year I used a little Fiskar garden saw to make holes for my tomato plants and used the compost, as Kent reco'd, to fill the gap and the tomatoes still grew wonderfully.

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Other Strawbale Gardening Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Straw bale gardening: no weeding, no hoeing, no tilling KentNC 274 Oct 18, 2009 1:58 AM
Strawbale Gardening (part 7) Jnette 126 Mar 20, 2007 9:51 AM
Straw Bale Gardening LauraK 49 Apr 2, 2008 12:02 AM
Straw Bale Gardening (Part 8) KentNC 114 Apr 2, 2007 5:32 PM
Straw Bale Gardening (Part 9) KentNC 124 Apr 21, 2007 12:39 AM


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