Orchard grass

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Kent....Major question.
I just had someone give me 8 huge bales of orchard grass. Can I plant in them like I planted in the strawbales?
Please say yes. They were free and bigger then the strawbales but I am concerned that they probably won't last as long as the strawbales but will breakdown faster and will have more nutrients then the straw.
Okay Kent, take it away. Give me some good news.
Jan

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Here is a picture of it. It is grass vs straw and will hold a lot more moisture but will that be a bad thing. Questions, questions, questions.
Answers please, hehe
jan

This message was edited Jul 23, 2009 5:04 PM

Thumbnail by Gourdbeader
Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Jan, you mean for next year right? So, would you let them weather over the winter or cover them? I know you didn't ask me, but I like to give my opinion anyway. : )

I think it would work good, but I'll bet they would decompose differently because of the difference in texture of the grass and straw. It might turn to slime??
Inside while they are decomposing. Will be interesting to see what Kent says.

If you want me to delete this let me know.

Jeanette

Ames, NE(Zone 5b)

Jan I bumped a thread that might be helpful..Old hay vs new straw...

Tubby

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Tubby, I don't think orchard grass is the same as hay. When I was looking for hay in the classifieds, they advertised specifically "Orchard Grass". Or, orchard grass w/alfalfa. etc. But they didn't call it hay.

Jeanette

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Jnnette,
I just read something on another thread regarding someone that was looking for information on starting a new stawbale garden. Kent wrote that any baled straw, hay or grass will work as long as it hasn't been treated with something that would be detremental to vegies etc. Although he added pine straw won't work. So......I guess I am in business. She said I could have more bales as it wasn't good for her horses as it had gotten damp and would not be able to use as feed for them.
Yea Haw!!!! Free bales. What more could I ask for? Free plants......hum....

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Can't beat free. When are you going to use them? This fall or hold them over for next year like you were talking about? Will be anxious to see how they do. I got hay with 40% alfalfa this year but didn't get them until pretty late 'cause I had surgery on my foot.

So, I didn't prep them as long as I should have. Altho, I got tomato plants from my sister who starts them in her greenhouse. I have tomatoes almost ripe. Very early for her. The ones I started of mine were much smaller plants and they are just starting to kick in. I am sure, due to the decomposition of the hay. FINALLY!!

Jeanette

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Well, I need to transplant my strawberries before next year so I will probably start using them this year. I will need to age them and water them before I do that but there is still plenty of growing time left in the summer to get them transplanted and comfortable before the seasons change. I had green on my strawberries all year long. Of course the strawberries stopped producing about the end of Septerber or middle of October.These bales are bigger then the ones I got two years ago and I can't believe how $%#@#@$% heavy they are. I tried to push one that the young boy carried about 50+ feet, and could hardly do that. working on a broken ankle and bad wrists, it is not a wise thing for me to be pushing or pulling anything but you know how stubburn us ole gardeners can be. They say there is no such thing as an old gardener just tired ones. Heheh Strength and vitality is wasted on the youth. Now when we need the strength and energy the most we have the least. I think that the man upstairs kinda goofed up with that plan.
Sorry God, I know you never make mistakes but couldn't you see your way through it and give us a little boost during the planting months. heheh

Wake Forest, NC

Jan: evening! When I'm on my afternoon/evening shift, it's late b4 I can check the threads.

It appears that any of type bale OTHER THAN PINE STRAW is a good candidate.

And, it appears from anecdotal evidence that any type of grass/hay bale works better than the straw-based bales.

But for me, the grass/hay bales are A LOT more expensive, so I've stuck with the straw, which still yields good results, so don't anyone fret if you're using straw.

And, it appears that enclosing your bales produces better results than having the bales out in the open as I have done for the last 5 years. (We have Doug to thank for this experiment.)

In addition, the troughs that Doug built are perfect for getting the max benefit from your straw or hay in that the structure helps hold the old straw/hay together as you use it the 2nd and additional years as it all decomposes.


Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Wow, that is good news. Enclosing them? Do you mean something like building a frame around them? That could be quite an expensive venture if you have very many rows of bales. I can see where it would make for storage of old bales once they break down and just keep adding more but that would mean lifting the into the trough. Hummmmm I think I may just have to deal with them as they are. I have thought about putting some stakes around to help hold them together but I think that they did pretty good for the two years I used them without any thing around them.
Thanks Kent for the good news. What you are saying is the Orchard grass bales are better then using the strawbales, right? Cool.
Jan

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Jan, now you have given me some ideas for next year. I was thinking I would use 5 gallon buckets and just use them for the old hay. Now I just thought of something. I had my deck replaced this year, so I have all the old boards. Cut the worst up for firewood, but kept the rest in tact. Maybe I will use them to build enclosure for the old hay next year.

Maybe I will just try 4 bales. Build the enclosure, then in the spring start putting the old hay in early. I could get my tomatoes in and started in May if I enclosed my hoophouse.

Not only would they do good in the old hay but it would cut down a lot of cost of buying new bales.

Jeanette

Wake Forest, NC

Jan: I've never had to put stakes around my bales. Maybe the very ends could use some support, but the sides won't.

Go back and look at Doug's threads. He's got a great design for the frames.

There are definitely some initial costs, but pay off in the long run, just like setting up irrigation systems, trellis, etc.

Everyone's got their own way and we all pick and choose from each other what works for us.

I love DG!!!

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

I feel really stupid but who is Doug and where do I find this thread regarding frames. Duh, I must be suffering a senior to be moment. hehe Please help me.
Jan

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

tubby, you seem to know how to find things, I have been looking all thru different chapters for Doug's enclosing his bales. Can you find it for Jan? Thanks,

Jeanette

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Thanks Jeanette

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I think if I do it the way I posted about 3 or 4 up it will probably be close to how Doug did his. Just by taking 2 of my deck boards, 2/6s, one on top of the other in along row the full length of all of my bales which would be about 20 feet long. I am using about 9 bales on each side of the hoophouse.

I will just use maybe 2 foot wedges to pound into the ground and hold the boards in place. LOL, nothing fancy for me.

Jeanette

Wake Forest, NC

Here's the link to Doug's thread on his bale garden:

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/840638/

FYI: just click on anyone's screen name and you get a pop-up which will give you the option of seeing any thread that was started by that person

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Thanks Kent, so many times they aren't started by that person. They just come in the middle of it and talk about other issues.

Jeanette

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

There you go Jan, I read thru the whole thread again tonight. Thought it was great. Doug went up to the end of October, which is pretty good. I forgot to look to see what zone KY is. But, if I could do that good I might even do better if I put the cover on my hoophouse.

Read it and keep it for next year.

Jeanette

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Wow, great info. I may have to bite the bullet and invest in some treated lumber. I will have to check the cost. Thanks for finding that thread for me Kent. I really appreciate all the great advice and help.
Jan

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Doug is zone 6a, which really doesn't mean a whole lot that we are talking about, but it was interesting that he had plants producing that late I guess is what I meant.

must have been the manure? Wonder how much he fertilized besides that.

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Do you know, I haven't fertilized at all this year so far and Everything is growing like crazy. I'm almost afraid to fertilize now cause I would be over run with produce. Heheh. I'm not complaining mine you. When you can get strawberries like this with out fetilizer can you imagine what they would look like with the added nutrients.

Thumbnail by Gourdbeader
Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

That is a great looking strawberry. I have been picking tomatoes here and there. Not a lot of them on yet, but getting there.

One thing I have noticed about the hay bales is that once they start decom-posing they go fast. It will be interesting to see if I have anything left for a second year.

However, I still have 2 bales I didn't use this year. But, without knowing if I can use the others for a second year I don't know how many to look for in the spring.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

To all: I used a little bit of a slow release organic at the beginning of the season and never fertilized again. I wiil try to update that test plot thread today or tomorrow. I've been so busy on new landscape plantings, my woodland garden and a combo greenhouse/potting shed that I just haven't kept up with my progress in the vegetable garden!

Doug

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Thanks Doug, your information has been very helpful.
Jan

Longview, WA(Zone 8b)

Hey Gourd,
You could invest in some treated posts and corrigated metal if
you can find some used.
Lonejack.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I saw an ad in the little local paper for grass w/alfalfa for $2.50. Maybe I should get some and stock up for next year.

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

You know, I think I will just do these the same way I did the strawbales. They lasted two years and if these last that long, great. I don't think its necessary to stake the bales or build frames around them. I may do that next year but it is so late in the season to start making all these changes. I made the mistake of planting a huge amount of tomatoe plants along with carrots and my dahlias and squash all in the same bed. What was I thinking. Well last year nothing much grew. This year every single seed bulb and transplant has multiplied ten fold. I am over run with tomatoe plants oh yea and bell peppers. I can't even find them amongst the tomatoe plants. What was I thinking. I guess I was thinking that nothing is going to grow again. Well, does this look like nothing?
The bed in the ground has all of the plants that I mentioned above in it. What am I going to do. Should I pull out some of the tomatoes? I think I just over did it completely. Do I sound over whelmed? I am.

Thumbnail by Gourdbeader
Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Jan, don't you have food banks in Oregon? They would love to have some of that!!! There are so many places that could use your produce. You just did a good job.

Or, are you saying you just have a lot of plants but no produce? What exactly is the problem? A lot of work.

Jeanette

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

I guess the problem is, was, a stressful day. Hehe. I have way too many tomato plants that have taken over the whole garden. Me being me, I hate to get rid of anything and what I really need to do is eliminate a few of the tomato plants to allow room for the rest of the bounty. The bell peppers are getting any sun, and I can hardly find the carrots.
I know what I need to do and I guess it was just stressing me out. I need to conquer and eliminate. hehe
Forgive my moment of temporary insanity.
I haven't gotten any tomatoes yet so that was not the problem. There are lots of blossoms and little babies but none that are ripe for the picking yet.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Jan, here is something to give you a boost to do what you have to do.

We had our first BLTs for dinner last night. Used Brandywine tomatoes and they just melt in your mouth. They were soooooooo good. I cannot even believe that my first ripe tomato was a Brandywine in our short season. And it was so cold up until about 3 weeks ago. This baby was almost 6 inches across and so badly shaped, but so good.

Jeanette

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Jan, I thought you had written a message, but my computer was messed up for a bit. storms. Guess not. By the time I got back on here it was gone. You will have to rewrite it if you did.

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Please see update regarding this. I should have posted it here but I forgot that I had done this one. I would do a hyperlink but I don't know how. If someone can do that please see my update link regarding Orchard grass v/s Wheat straw bales

Wake Forest, NC

Here's Jan's link to the thread about Orchard Grass:

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/fp.php?pid=7025635

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