Wintersowing in Bales

SARANAC, NY(Zone 4a)

I have been wintersowing in pans for some years now with decent results. For the most part it has been flowers that I sowed. This year when I put out my 50 hay bales to "cure" over the winter - I decided to try to wintersow in 10 of them, I placed those 10 on their sides (strings off the ground) prickly side up and top dressed them with black dirt. (about 2" +/-) I left this for a month so mother nature could settle the topdressing into the bale a bit. Yesterday, after it was in the 20's for a couple of days, I decided to go for it - I sowed a row of beet seed for greens, (I hope) a half row of radishes and a half row of leaf lettuce - I also sowed a row of lupines.....Hopefully mother nature will tell the seeds when to sprout and I will get a jump on the "early" part of the garden.....I shall keep you posted, but it will be late April or early May before I know whether this worked or not.

Kent: I am so sorry about your Dad; Hopefully he is on the mend. perry

Wake Forest, NC

Good post, Perry. Looking fwd to see how they do.

Thanks for the thought on Daddy. He's doing better now that he's settled into the nursing home close by his home. Friends can now pop over to see him, etc. Takes a lot of pressure off me, for sure.

Kent

Roswell, NM(Zone 6a)

Hey Perry, I was wondering how your beets and radishes came along?

Traverse City, MI(Zone 6a)

Perry,
I hope you come back to let us know how your winter sowing worked out in the bales. After our late spring freezes and slow bale curing this year, I was seriously considering buying my bales for next year, in late autumn this year. Your's is the first thread I have run across where someone mentions setting their bales to 'cure' over winter. I would love to hear more about your methods.
Serena

Northeast, MO(Zone 5b)

Serena, we did that here and so far so good. We placed them where we wanted them to be and covered them with plastic. Took the plastic off around March and they "cooked" for us naturally. The only reason why we did is we have a hard time finding good bales here and found some last fall. We did not pre-plant the bales though.

Connie

Traverse City, MI(Zone 6a)

Thanks Connie, I think I am going to try that this year. Not for lack of bales or even to sow seeds in the winter, but just for the fact that our snow thaw and last frost are very unpredictable. If the bales are cooked early enough, I can use wall-o-waters for warmth and frost protection; they work really well and I tried one old one for a tomato plant this year and it is doing great. They seem to do more than just protect things from frost, and I was pleased that it set up properly on a bale. I just need the bales ready to plant in early May.
Serena

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I put out all my bales in October last fall where I planned to have them for this spring. Today I finished planting all my tomatoes and it was so much easier than adding all the nitrogen fertilizer and checking the temps. They were soft and easy to dig out or separate for planting. I added 5 Alfalfa bales as a substitute for the straw and they were even more broken down and easier to plant in. I will never start bales again in the spring. Tomorrow the eggplants and peppers go into the two remaining bales.

The winter sowing idea is intriguing. I hope someone gets back to us with a report on whether it works in the Northeast!

No Central, AZ(Zone 7b)

Bales in Autumn sound intriguing but I would think with our generally milder winters that they would be more decomposed comes Spring. But, getting them now and planting a fall/winter crop sounds interesting. Last summer was my first strawbale crop and tomatoes and zucchini did very well. DH kept talking of moving so I used very large nursery pots this year with a much skimpier yield except peppers. Anyone try beets and such in bales?

Northeast, MO(Zone 5b)

You could probably do cooler crops in your zone. I am so jealous lol!!! Don't know how many have tried experimenting but as far as I know, root crops don't do well in the bales. Our zucchini died out when we got the hot weather but he put a couple of seeds down and they are growing good. Maybe zucchini in the fall???? We shall see.....LOL!!

Connie

Traverse City, MI(Zone 6a)

Quiltygirl, I tried planting beet seeds in some of last years bales (they were still in place but very well broken down only about 8" high). This is the first time I tried to plant beets, so I do not know when they should be ready but right now the ones that got going are very small. Then again the potatoes that I planted in the ground turned out miniature too, so it may be just me not doing it right.

No Central, AZ(Zone 7b)

Your seed should be able to tell how long it takes till harvest by the seed packet info . You can see about how big they are getting by their 'shoulders' that show above the ground/bales.

Longview, WA(Zone 8b)

PERRYLAWRENCE,
I read your post from last November. How did your wintersowing project turn out? I live here in Western Washington now and am interested in trying to wintersow some bales. I noticed you used hay bales, have you had any experience with straw bales. I agree with Kent that hay is too expensive. All I have used is straw.

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Has anyone seen this before.
I am looking for an old sliding door or maybe just an old wood framed window so I can give this a try.

Thumbnail by Gourdbeader
No Central, AZ(Zone 7b)

Pretty cool idea for winter or early spring while the bales age onto being ready to use

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

gourdbeader, I haven't tried the storm windows, but it looks like it would work well. I stacked up bales around a cattle panel that we bent (about 6 feet high and 8x4 wide/deep) and I forgot to leave a piece of plastic open to vent it, one day, and it reached 110 degrees when it was around 65 outside, so the hay keeps it warm.

I would worry about heavy rain, or snow, on the flat surface in your picture. I wonder if you could lean them up into an A-frame?

Here's a picture of the hay/hoop hothouse- I'm growing some avocado and lemon trees I started from seed, in there, too...

Thumbnail by Solace
No Central, AZ(Zone 7b)

Isn't it too cold in CO for citrus and avocado? I left citrus, palms anf subtrpicals behind in SoCal when we moved to No AZ last week

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

Yes, outside in the winter, it's too cold. They'll be in the greenhouse, hothouse, or inside in winter. Right now they're pretty happy in the hothouse, pictured, above. There are five avocado trees and I think 6 small lemon trees I started from seed.

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

Hope it's not too late to plant my garlic on the bales around the greenhouse to overwinter. Gonna give it a try, anyway.

Thumbnail by Solace
Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

Hi guiltygirl. Where abouts in AZ are you. We left Tombstone in 2005 and the only thing I miss are my friends and the growing climate. Hate the scorpions, snakes, spiders, Javalinas and the no see ums. We have a great lady there named ?roadrunner. She has been with Daves Garden for a long time. You should get to know her. She is awesome and I miss her too.,

No Central, AZ(Zone 7b)

We are just north of Prescott, in Chino Valley. I miss the growing climate of SoCal in the winter, but some summers where we were made the plants dry and fry as you watched them. Guess it is all a trade off, snow or fry. Did not notice any no see ums here this summer, one javelina was sighted down the road, neighbor said she has not seen any since a large family went through her property when they just moved here 12 years ago. Have heard more stories of them in the city limits of Prescott, than out here - oddly enough. Had snakes and spiders in CA, no big deal.

Sounds like you are in a more temperate climate, on the green side of the Cascades and not far from MY OCEAN, which I miss the most. I have friends who spend a week with family each year for Thanksgiving in Lincoln City.

I do know Jo and have met her at a couple Round Ups in So Cal. She is a great lady and was trying to get us to move to her neck of the woods in So AZ, when we were looking. In fact, we could have been her neighbor as her daughter was selling. She would have been fun to be near, but did not want to be that close to military base OR the border.

Toledo, OR(Zone 8a)

My husband had a lot of family in Lincoln City and that is where we met even thought we are both from SoCal.
My MIL and two of my BIL live in Tombstone but I love it here although I am already sick of the rain. Yea, guess we are never totally happy with the elements. I would like it to be late summer early fall or late spring all the time. Thats when its the best.
My lawn looks like a field of grass as it is all about a foot tall. Its going to take about 3-4 days to dry out enough to cut it.
Prescott is a nice area.

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