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Strawbale Gardening: General Discussions - 2011 - Chapter 34

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KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

January 30, 2011
3:06 PM

Post #8339143

Got my Totally Tomatoes catalog in the mail and I'm officially ready to start thinking about gardening again!!

LOL

http://www.totallytomato.com/

So, let's start a new chapter.
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

January 30, 2011
3:38 PM

Post #8339199

Thanks , Kent . I hope it's a good year for everone .
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 30, 2011
4:07 PM

Post #8339271

I am past ready but the weather isn't. I hope it is a great year for everyone too

Connie
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

January 30, 2011
4:18 PM

Post #8339296

Hi Guys,
Thought of you Kent when I saw in one of the catalogs, the Ghost peppers. Are you going to grow any of them this year?
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

January 30, 2011
5:22 PM

Post #8339421

digger: I certainly hope it's a better year than last!!! Worst year ever in 52 years.

Jeanette: Funny you mention the Ghost Peppers. I have a local source that's going to start some from seed this year. Told him I definitely want some to try out just to see if they are really as hot as their reputation.
Mike2147
Holly Ridge, NC
(Zone 8a)

January 31, 2011
10:20 AM

Post #8340698

As I'll be going across the pond this summer, I started my tomatoes and peppers yesterday in hopes that I'll have everything in place for my wife and daughter before I head out. I'm not doing as many as I did last year and forgot to get the darn Cherokee purple... Going to box in my bales this year too.

Kent, Hopefully I'll see my catalog today...

Mike
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 31, 2011
1:07 PM

Post #8340980

Ghost peppers? Let us know if you can eat one of those, Kent. Our Habaneros are plenty hot LOL!! Maybe we will get our T.T. catalog too. I have been searching for Cherokee Purple also.

Connie
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

January 31, 2011
6:03 PM

Post #8341487

Mike & Connie: the Cherokee Purples I had for the 1st time last year were awesome!!! Can't wait to grow more this year.
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

February 2, 2011
9:12 AM

Post #8345000

Well here it is Feb. 2nd, groundhog day, some of us are getting excited about getting the garden ready. Not here yet, my brain is froze in place, stay inside, maybe go out to get the mail, later, much later. It's -2 degrees out there, wind blowing, a layer of ice under the snow. 15 minutes outside and it feels like your face is stiff. Nope those tomatoes won't sprout today. I ain't even going to shovel the walk, nobody coming anyway. They said Phil didn't see his shadow, It was a little overcast here early but the sun is shining now, so I guess that means spring will come when it's darn good and ready.
I do have an order started though, I might finish filling it out later. That is once I feel like taking my feet off of the heating pad. I did venture out for a short time and I'm trying to warm up.
Maybe make some chili with those ghost peppers would do it, whew, don't know about that.
Hey it'll warm up soon and we will all be out there tending those little green babys, anxiously telling them to grow up and produce.
R
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 2, 2011
9:45 AM

Post #8345053

Gosh you guys, I have had my TT catalog for a long time now. Wonder why yours are just starting to arrive. Maybe they had to go print some more. Or, maybe they needed money from us to print yours. LOL

I'm with you Russ. It is too darned cold to even think about preparing the pots and soil to plant. 2 feet of snow on the ground and 11 degrees here and it is 9:30 in the a.m. I am just glad we are not getting the wind. Your wind chill must be -50 Russ. THAT is cold.

Think we're going to have to sit on that Connie to get her to slow down or she is going to be eating tomatoes before we even get ours planted. LOL

That's ok Connie, have a great day.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 2, 2011
1:23 PM

Post #8345461

Russ: I see that storm system is really doing a number on you folks north of me.

Hope you don't lose electricity.

It's 66 at my place, but not for long. A couple days in the 40's and then back to the 50's again.

Last time I was in conditions like yours was 1981, Omaha NE, about this same time, at SAC HQ for a 10 wk Intel school. I then headed to Pearl Harbor, HI! Man, I was so glad to get away from NE. and into some tropic sunshine/temps.

Jeanette: I want to place an order from TT in the next few days.

This message was edited Feb 2, 2011 5:24 PM
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

February 2, 2011
4:50 PM

Post #8345747

Yeah Kent, it's hard to believe but Omaha has more snow and bad storms than we have for the last 2 years. But then the weather has got really messed up lately.
I think the weather will start to straighten up in the next couple days. Until then I'm just going to sit tight. Kind of just grin an bear it.
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

February 2, 2011
5:32 PM

Post #8345821

We must have gotten your weather, Russ!!! We got 2-3 ft. depending on where you stand...UGH!!! Half of the car is dug out. Got another half to go.

Jeanette, go ahead and sit on me. Hee, hee, hee...a few of the tomato seeds are potted up!!!

Connie
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 2, 2011
6:41 PM

Post #8345926

OH MY, Good grief Connie!!! No way!! When do you plant them out? In which snowbank, hmmm, let me see now.

You are so right Russ. We are suppose to be almost 40 within 4 or 5 days. Not bad after 1 degree!! Problem is that the nights don't get above freezing. Even they are getting into the high 20s tho.

You mean to tell me you have your garden planned already Kent? You know which tomatoes you are going to plant? I have to keep reminding myself that you guys are a lot earlier than we are up here.

LizaMouse
Covington, LA
(Zone 8b)

February 2, 2011
6:52 PM

Post #8345944

Hi y'all. This year I'm finally going to do a haybale garden. Last year my garden drowned because it sits too low in the yard so I figure this method was just made for me. February will be a rainy month here and then by the first of March, I can start planting some things. What I was wondering was if it would be ok to go ahead and put my bales out to get rained on for this month? They will pretty much stay wet and may lightly freeze a time or two. And, if I do put them out now, should I still do the 6 days of ammonium nitrate (or bloodmeal) before I plant in them?

I'm excited! I'm planting a bunch of stuff and everything but the okra is going in the bales. I learned last year that okra doesn't much care if it has soggy feet.
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

February 3, 2011
3:06 AM

Post #8346228

Farm center here in Tex says I can't buy A. nitrate in this state . I'll bring some with me next year to break down compost for the yard .
Kent , looks like it's colder here than where you are . I lost some more tropical plants I'd been babying . Might get a little snow .Water is frozen up next door and across the road at my boy's .Oh well , I can think of a tiny garden when I get back to the mountains in late March .
I'm feeling for you Jnette and Russ , I can get out , at least and it'll be over in a coupla days .
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 3, 2011
8:59 AM

Post #8346669

Yes, Sally, it is finally starting to warm up here so it is on your way. 17 degrees now. At 9 a.m. Suppose to be up to 41 in a couple days.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 3, 2011
2:25 PM

Post #8351183

Jeanette: yep, planning and dreaming. Got 12 yards of 50/50 top soil/compost delivered today. Been mixing that up in my straw beds 1 wheel barrow full at at time. I'm T I R E D!!

Sally: definitely better here than folks under that winter storm. Cool day here, but great when you're shoveling!!
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 3, 2011
2:48 PM

Post #8351758

Kent, how would you like some snow to mix in with that? Ships easy. Free too.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 3, 2011
3:48 PM

Post #8351868

No snow for me!!! :-)
LizaMouse
Covington, LA
(Zone 8b)

February 3, 2011
4:16 PM

Post #8351936

Message received. Thanks.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 8, 2011
7:55 PM

Post #8361839

Got my grow light in today!!

http://www.amazon.com/Hydrofarm-2-Foot-Start-Light-System/dp/B0006856EQ

Tomato seeds should be here next day or so, but won't seed them until 1st week in March or so.

Getting more excited.

Got my Totally Tomatoes catalog by my bed next to my Bible! LOL

Kent
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 8, 2011
8:23 PM

Post #8361863

See these are coming down. Used to be $90!! I paid $5 at a garage sale for one.

Where do you have a set up for this Kent?
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 9, 2011
5:00 AM

Post #8362094

Jeanette: I like the $5 version!!

I'm just going to put the 1 flat of seedlings on a table in our den until they are ready to transplant.

Then, I'll have them all over the floor in 4 inch pots on some plastic until time to harden them off and finally in the beds.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 9, 2011
9:04 AM

Post #8362536

Kent, keep a journal of when you plant, when they sprout, when they need to be repotted, in what you plant them, and when you plant them out. Also, make a note of the weather temps etc. along the way.

Especially since this is your first year of growing seedlings, you will find it especially useful in the future years.

BTW, remember when you have them "all over the floor in 4" pots" that they will still need light.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 9, 2011
7:45 PM

Post #8363685

10-4... good tips...
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 12, 2011
4:04 PM

Post #8368693

Got 6 bags of Fafard 3B seeding/transplanting mix today.

Tomato seeds should be here 1st part of the week.

Plenty of time, but I just like having things ready to go.

Here's some of the tomatoes I'm going to plant this year.

This list has 1 pepper - Ghost Peppers. Looking forward to that one, too.

Thumbnail by KentNC
Click the image for an enlarged view.

aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

February 12, 2011
4:30 PM

Post #8368724

Well, You'll have enough different tomatoes to wash down a bite of that pepper LOL!! We are gathering our list to order also. Hubby has already put down some seed of Roma, Beefsteak, Heinz and some cherry tomatoes. Also planted a few Habanero, jalapeno and banana pepper seeds. The plants will probably be half grown (or better) by the time we can get them into the bales but DARN...we are going through withdrawal LOL!!!

So, who else has that spring fever?

Connie
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 12, 2011
5:13 PM

Post #8368824

Connie: I am SO READY for Spring, warm weather, hot weather, any thing but COLD weather!! lol

Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 12, 2011
5:20 PM

Post #8368847

You are both way ahead of me. I look out there at the white stuff and can't even get in the mood to plant anything. But that is quite a list you have there Kent. How many of each one are you going to plant? In the bales? How many seeds of each are you planting?

In other words, are you going to figure 100% will germinate and grow? Or are you planting for fallout?

Jeanette
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 13, 2011
5:35 AM

Post #8369420

Jeanette: I'm still debating on how many I'm going to initially seed. I'll transplant about 120 +- in my garden, give away some and sell some.

I had 12 yards of 50/50 compost/top soil delivered recently to mix in with my old bales.

No new bales for me this year. 1st time in 7 years.

Kent
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 13, 2011
6:37 AM

Post #8369505

Kent, you are growing some varieties I have grown and liked and some I am growing for the first time this year. The tomato plants I grow in straw always out perform any others I grow. Folks that see my tomatoes growing in straw bales stare in awe as though it is some complicated or magic system when in reality it is the easiest thing I do in my garden.

I potted up 43 tomato plants yesterday. Tomorrow I will start shuttling them in and outdoors. This is about two weeks late due to all the bad weather this year.

I ordered 4 Bhut Jolokia pepper plants from http://www.selectedplants.com/ a company recommended over on the Tomato Forum by I believe Carolyn Maye. I have some Bhut seeds but I read on the Internet it can take up to 4 weeks for germination. I got impatient so I ordered a few plants online due in sometime next week.

Good luck on your straw bale endeavors this year.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 13, 2011
9:51 AM

Post #8369791

If it took 4 weeks for tomatoes to peppers to germinate I would throw them out thinking they were not going to. Never heard of 4 weeks for them.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 13, 2011
2:52 PM

Post #8370220

Jnette, http://www.sandiaseed.com/superhot.html scroll to the bottom of the page. This is the site where I read what I thought I remembered 4 weeks but it is actually 35 days or 5 weeks.

Last year some of the pepper seeds I planted did not germinate right away so I ended up putting the seed starting tray out under a shade tree. I kept them watered along with the trays that had baby pepper plants. Later after I planted the plants into the garden I continued to water the trays that had not germinated being sure not to let them dry out. I don't remember how many days it was before they germinated but by early summer they were finally up.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 13, 2011
3:12 PM

Post #8370275

TXRockGrdn: One of the new tomatoes I'm trying is Old Brooks!! Who can resist trying a name like that.

Glad you mentioned the long germination rate for the Ghost Peppers. I'll have to read some more about that.

Kent
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 13, 2011
8:24 PM

Post #8370709

Just read this one Rocky:

Peppers love heat and seem to germinate best at around 80 degrees. Most pepper seeds will still germinate at cooler temperatures, but they'll take longer. The first year I used a seedling heat mat, I was amazed when habanero seedlings were ready to transplant twelve days after sowing, less time than they'd taken just to germinate in the past.

I would throw them out before 5 weeks. Even 3. Maybe you need to try a little heat. Heat mats work wonders.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 13, 2011
8:54 PM

Post #8370733

Jnette, I always use a heat mat. Doesn't everyone?
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

February 14, 2011
4:55 AM

Post #8371009

"I am SO READY for Spring, warm weather, hot weather, any thing but COLD weather!! lol"

Now, hold on, Kent! Knock the "HOT" out of there, please?? I really would like to have a Spring this year. I don't like jumping from summer to winter, and I don't want to go from winter directly to summer again. Please, pretty please with tomatoes on top?

I'm glad to see that you are planting in old bales. I just asked for advice on that, should have read here first. Still, I'll take all the advice I can get.
Do you just mix dirt into the old ones? Do you break them up a lot, or just kinds poke them around? How much dirt/old straw? Since my bales were hay, I suspect they're more decomposed, but your experience will be very helpful.

margo

aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

February 14, 2011
6:10 AM

Post #8371136

We don't use a heat mat (pouting). I am hoping to take some of last years bales, stick it into plastic crates and grow some taters in them. Think it will work?

Connie
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 14, 2011
6:57 PM

Post #8372628

Connie there are places you can put your planted seeds for heat. Such as on top of the hot water heater, I have my computer in a cupboard type that gets warm. etc. Low watt bulbs in the "trouble light" reflectors give off heat. Just have to be inventive. That is how we all started.

You do not have to be fancy or professional.
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

February 15, 2011
12:59 AM

Post #8372843

I use a rope light under some oil dry. ( like kitty litter) in a box I made. 2" deep x 24" w x48" L. with 2 shop lights hanging right over top of it. the seed flats sit right on the oil dry. stays right close to 80 degrees and 3 to 4 days those tomatoes are breaking ground. Peppers aren't far behind. Not professional but it works for me.







Thumbnail by randbponder
Click the image for an enlarged view.

aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

February 15, 2011
7:02 AM

Post #8373138

you all are so creative :) Russ, do you think my taters will grow okay in plastic milk crates with the old straw from last year?

Connie
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 15, 2011
9:33 AM

Post #8373387

Connie, not Russ, but I did this last year with peppers They did good. Don't know why potatoes wouldn't also.
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

February 15, 2011
10:19 AM

Post #8373431

AWESOME!!! Add another little "to do" to my growing list LOL Thanks:)

Connie
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 15, 2011
2:39 PM

Post #8373802

Russ: excellent job on the home-made heating box. Does the job.

That's something that my Daddy would have done. Use the materials on hand and make it work.

I'm looking across my yard (our old cow pasture) at the barn Daddy built in the 60's from lumber he recycled from another building that was probably 40 years old then.

Daddy used small pine trees for rafters and framing.

The tin top was the only thing "new" he bought.

Even the nails were recycled and bent back straight enough to drive.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 15, 2011
3:12 PM

Post #8373855

LOL, that is when they made good nails Kent.

BTW, how is your daddy?
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

February 15, 2011
3:46 PM

Post #8373913

Connie I tried to grow potatoes in a stack of tires,using old straw and sand, I didn't get them in very early, so it was a very UN successful venture. I think I will try it again but get them in earlier. The rest of the potatoes I planted in dirt did well even though they got tough to dig due to hard ground. My best potatoes were the Yukon Gold the kennibecs were all little.
I did try to grow them in old straw 2 years ago It was also UN successful. I think my problem may have been that I didn't water them enough. I am used to dirt gardening and not having to water.
Being blessed with great soil and then trying to do some straw bale gardening as well as dirt gardening is two very different methods and straw bale does require more watering than I am used to. If I had poorer soil and not as much rain, I may have been accustomed watering more often and would have done a better job. My tomatoes and squash that were in bales done great however.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 15, 2011
4:54 PM

Post #8374053

Jeanette: Daddy has improved as time has gone by. Got a meeting next week with nursing home staff as to where he goes in the near future: home or assisted living.

He thinks he'll be able to drive again, but those days are over.

Thanks for asking.

Kent
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 15, 2011
7:43 PM

Post #8374361

Connie, when my daughter was in grade school (many many years ago since she is over 50 now) she dug a trench, tossed the seed potatoes in along the trench and then strewed straw on top of them, and that was it. Yes, she did water them once in a while Russ. But, when they were ready, she just pulled the straw back and picked up how many potatoes we needed for dinner. They were all nice and clean because they were not grown in soil. and no digging. They probably would have done better if she had thrown them some fertilizer once in a while.

Therefore, it seems to me that your idea would work. Not all of us have Russ's good soil.
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

February 16, 2011
6:04 AM

Post #8374734

That's the good part I am looking for...clean potatoes without having to dig hard ground. We do have a small area of good soil but it is in a low lying area. Not just ours...everyone's yard. We have built it up some but it still holds too much water when it rains. Love the straw bales for keeping the plants above it.

Connie
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

February 16, 2011
6:04 AM

Post #8374735

Jeanette That sounds wonderful and I may just have to give that very system a try this year. I can still get all the old loose straw I want just for hauling it off. unfortunately there are no bales left.I'm not having a big garden this year but always need potatoes and that sounds very interesting and I would like to try it.
I will try to have the trench ready with the straw in place and drop the potatoes in on Good Friday, If I cover them with a little more straw and a lite covering of soil, that should hold sufficient moisture, while I am gone. One thing a nitrogen rich soil will do is give you lots of foliage not many potatoes and they may be rather scabby" rough skinned"
I'll watch that I don't plant too many. One year I planted 35 lbs got a return of over 700 lbs. I do of course know of several people that would help me get rid of any extra. LOL
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

February 16, 2011
6:29 AM

Post #8374811

Russ, are you saying that I will need to add dirt to the straw I put in the crates? We bought a load of compost late last year. Don't want all pretty plants, I want some yummy taters LOL

Connie
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 16, 2011
9:35 AM

Post #8375264

I would add a little Connie. Can't hurt. They have to have a little something. My daughter didn't, but you might get a heavier production than she did too. I agree w/Russ, a little of something might help with that. Just remember everyone's soil is different. My daughter put the seed potatoes directly on the earth, soil. rather than put straw in the trench Russ.

They didn't grow into the ground, but must have gotten something from it.
plus, she didn't use what we have now as seed potatoes. She cut up cooking potatoes. But now they treat those so they won't sprout good don't they Russ?

I have heard people swear by the tire planting too Russ. The heat from the tires, plus they hold the moisture. Maybe it would have helped for you to add a little soil to them too.
Linny1
(Linny) Salem, SC
(Zone 7b)

February 27, 2011
6:12 PM

Post #8396632

Been lurking here a long time, learning. Going to try just 10 bales to start this year, to see how I do. Thanks for all the information, everybody.

Linny
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 27, 2011
8:01 PM

Post #8396881

Linny, good luck, keep us posted, and we like pictures.

Connie, I see in the Gardens Alive catalog they have fertilizer for potatoes. Might see what the NPK mix is and see what you can do. Even a little compost might help.
Even tho she got potatoes with her method there is nothing to say you can't get more.
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

February 28, 2011
7:55 AM

Post #8397575

YAY Linny!!! You will love it and everyone on here is soooo very helpful :)

Thanks, Jeanette!! I think I will add some compost maybe in the bottom then straw as they grow???? Okay...I confess...I have never grown them before. I do want red ones and baking ones. Russ, are those Yukon Gold baking potatoes? I know I have to be careful 'cause I don't want scabby tators lol

Connie
htcoe
Oriental, NC
(Zone 8a)

February 28, 2011
8:15 AM

Post #8397620

Congrats once again, Kent, on your article in Carolina Country.

I didn't have good luck with my bales from two years ago and have decided to try again. I can't seem to get the fertilization down right. Plus I think that I picked the wrong spot for them. They were packed too close together and all the damaging insects had a field day hopping from one plant to another.

Hope springs eternal.

Helen

Thumbnail by htcoe
Click the image for an enlarged view.

randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

February 28, 2011
12:35 PM

Post #8398173

Connie; They bake very well. Their flavor is only slightly different than other baking tatters. Their flesh is a slight yellow, just off a slight from white. The one thing I have found I don't like about them is If you leave them to get as large a tatter as possible they have a tendency to split on the inside and form sort of a skin within that split. Just have to rake that part aside on your plate.lol
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

March 1, 2011
12:19 PM

Post #8400485

Thanks Russ!!!

Connie
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 1, 2011
7:06 PM

Post #8401385

I would not grow them for bakers. Good as mashed, with cream cheese, chives, etc. LOL but not bakers. Grow something else. Tell her what ones to grow to bake Russ. Russets? I like the Reds to bake. They are delicious, but don't know how they keep. Russets keep good if you have a cold place to keep them.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 2, 2011
5:23 PM

Post #8403219

Helen: thanks and welcome aboard! I updated the "recipe" for starting the bales to not even include any sort of nitrogen additives. Just water and time and some good temps will prepare the bales for transplanting.

Kent
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 2, 2011
7:59 PM

Post #8403582

I haven't seen that Kent, but think you might be wrong doing that since we, up here in the north country, have such a short season that when those temps come we can't afford to not have our plants in there and getting established. We don't have time to let the bales cook at that good temperature.

Hope you made some allowances for us.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

March 3, 2011
5:29 AM

Post #8403993

Where can I find the new directions? I'll probably still add bloodmeal, at least that means I'm doing "something" and am not totally lazy...
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 3, 2011
5:46 AM

Post #8404014


Here is a pic of my new bales I started watering in Tuesday. Since I had run out of Ammonium Sulfate I bought a new bag yesterday and will start watering it in today. I will plant tomatoes in the bales March 15. Tomatoes love my straw bales!

Here we go!

Thumbnail by texasrockgarden
Click the image for an enlarged view.

texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 3, 2011
5:48 AM

Post #8404019

A short while later...and we are all done. Nothing could be easier!



This message was edited Mar 3, 2011 7:48 AM

Thumbnail by texasrockgarden
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htcoe
Oriental, NC
(Zone 8a)

March 3, 2011
9:17 AM

Post #8404444

Thanks, Kent. We're off to get bales and a truck load of horse manure. Oh boy, and it's not even my birthday!

Helen

Thumbnail by htcoe
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KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 3, 2011
5:37 PM

Post #8405271

Quoting: Helen: thanks and welcome aboard! I updated the "recipe" for starting the bales to not even include any sort of nitrogen additives. Just water and time and some good temps will prepare the bales for transplanting. - Kent

- - - - -

I haven't seen that Kent, but think you might be wrong doing that since we, up here in the north country, have such a short season that when those temps come we can't afford to not have our plants in there and getting established. We don't have time to let the bales cook at that good temperature.

Hope you made some allowances for us. - Jeanette


The "original recipe" I posted several years ago for starting the bales included adding the ammonium nitrate (or something similar) from a newspaper article about a little old lady in Alabama. I don't believe it was her recipe and I have yet to track down the original source.

Like anything else, different climates will call for modifications and experimenting to dial in what works in each area.

Also, some folks have difficulty in getting straw bales, but grass and hay bales are plentiful. Since grass/hay bales have their own nitrogen source built in, water is really all you need for them.

I found I didn't need the nitrate to prep my bales if I got them out sooner.

Plus, folks were getting too wrapped up about ammonium nitrate. Bad press and ill-informed "experts", especially those working in gardening centers, caused a lot of concern and questions for new bale gardeners. You wouldn't believe the emails I get about ammonium nitrate being hard to find and how it's for making bombs, what are good substitutes, etc.

By the way, I remember an "expert" gardener telling one new bale gardener that you couldn't grow ANYTHING in wheat straw bales but wheat.

So, for the current article in http://www.carolinacountry.com I just eliminated the ammonium nitrate step by telling readers to set their bales out earlier and use just plain old H2O since most of the readership is in NC.




KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 5, 2011
3:06 PM

Post #8408680

Transplanted a few tomatoes today. You can see what's left of the flat that I started with.

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Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 6, 2011
11:12 AM

Post #8410266

Looking good Kent. Where did you get those pots that depth? I have been searching all over the web and have not been able to find any.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 6, 2011
4:14 PM

Post #8410818

Jeanette: 100% of the pots and trays that you see are ones that I have saved over the years when I bought plants from local nurseries.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 6, 2011
7:02 PM

Post #8411067

Too bad. I can't find any that deep.
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 7, 2011
7:40 AM

Post #8411746

Jeanette;
I have used the plastic 16oz drink cups. Just punch a hole in the bottoms. only problem is that they are a little bigger around and you can't get as many in a tray.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 7, 2011
8:48 AM

Post #8411910

Thanks Russ. You know I was looking at Costco at those red ones they have the other day but they only sell them in boxes of 3 or 500 I think it was. I won't live that long to use that many I don't think. LOL but maybe Walmart will have them in smaller amounts.
nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

March 14, 2011
8:01 PM

Post #8427590

Hey folks, sorry to have been offline for so long (8 or 9 months I think) but life has been in a flux. Looks like I will be starting all my gardening from scratch this spring as I have just moved and there is nothing where I now live. Am going to be setting out straw bales this year so that I will be able to garden as I haven't been able to move my raised beds and it will be months before I will be able to get this accomplished. Last year I just did tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in straw bales to compliment the rest of my garden, but this year I am going to grow most of the garden in straw bales until I am able to get all of the rest of my garden moved and reestablished. Wish me luck as I have lots to move (am transplanting my cherry trees, moving cuttings from my raspberry beds and transplanting my blueberry bushes) along with trying to reestablish a garden WHEW... I knew I was getting old, but I think I am beginning to feel my age... Am looking forward to seeing how everyones garden is going to do this year..Hopefully your areas are beginning to warm up.. as far as I can tell, it has been a very cold spring...:(
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 15, 2011
7:06 PM

Post #8429364

Spring? Is it here?
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

March 16, 2011
4:28 AM

Post #8429795

For some of us *G*.
In fact, maybe a little TOO much. I'm not looking forward to the 82 forecast for Friday. Upper 60's to 70,s is fine for me, and I have a lot too do this spring.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 19, 2011
7:13 AM

Post #8436087

And 16 days later...here's what I planted yesterday.

Planted 16 tomatoes in 8 straw bales.

Big Beef X Eva Purple Ball
Black Krim
Black Zebra
Brandy Sweet Plumb
Chappy X/L Red
Cherokee Purple Jumbo
Henderson's “Pink Ponderosa”
JD's Special
Mule Team
Mystery Tomato
One Lucky Cross
Purple Haze
Purple Russian
Rambling Red Stripe
Southern Night
Top Gun

Here's hoping there is no freeze anytime soon. I have 53 tomato plants set out.

Thumbnail by texasrockgarden
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SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 24, 2011
1:28 PM

Post #8447694

Hey y'all - I'm baaaaack! :-)
Have my hay bales being delivered tomorrow, started my peas last week and they're under the grow-light in the cellar. Got my beautiful seeds today (from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (www.rareseeds.com) - they have an incredibly beautiful catalogue and such interesting varieties! I'm excited.
I gave my first class on March 9th (the weekend before my cabaret on March 13th). The class was videod and you can see it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXWz6AmzH_c , if you're interested. (There are also a bunch of videos there of me singing, if you enjoy the standards).
Good to see that everyone's doing well- looking forward to lots of posts and pictures.
Here are the varieties I'm growing this year:
Beurre de Rocquencourt Bush Wax Bean; McCaslin 42 Pole Bean; Old Homestead (Kentucky Wonder) Bean; Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli; Catskill Brussels Sprouts; Beit Alpha Cucumber; Early Prolific Straightneck Squash; Zucchini Squash - Black Beauty; Zucchini Luongo Bianco; Butternut Waltham Squash; Long Island Cheese Pumpkin; Musquee de Provence Pumpkin; Green Zebra Tomato; Violet Jasper/Tzi Bi U Tomato; San Marzano Lungo No 2 Tomato; Striped Roman Tomato; S
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 24, 2011
1:47 PM

Post #8447763

(cont'd from above) Sugar Snap Peas; Little Marvel Peas; and 3 varieties of Sweet Peas and # more of Nasturtiums. Anyway- that's it so far. Wish me luck! I'm giving another class to a local garden group next week. Give Hay Bales a try, really. If you don't believe me, do what I did; grow half and half, straw and hay - treat them the same way (but you won't need as much water or fertilizer for the Hay).

Namaste- Suz
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

March 24, 2011
2:57 PM

Post #8447925

Great video, Suz!!! Great job :) Believe it or not, this year we had an easier time finding hay bales over straw. We have 17 hay and 6 straw. Baby tomatoes and peppers are a growin'...Can't wait ::::))))))) Sending you a d-mail in a minute

Connie
nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

March 25, 2011
8:14 PM

Post #8450598

Well Jnette, I thought spring had sprung last week... but true to form, the weather is suddenly changing yet again. Cold 40 degree rain tomorrow and maybe snow on Sunday... the only good news is the bales are out and starting to decompose, so I guess snow will wet them down as well as rain. Who knew we would still be getting snow this late in March in Virginia. One day it will get warm :)
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 26, 2011
4:41 PM

Post #8451992

OK OK, even though winter is still having a last blast and I have a hard time getting into the gardening mode, it's been in the 30s for a high for around a week now. I did send in an order for a couple fruit trees. and a couple other flowers I really thought I needed.
But against better judgment, my garden will be small this year as I plan to take a trip this summer. I will have my tomatoes some cucumbers and potatoes. A mix of salad greens. Have to keep it simple so I can keep up and still be away from the garden for a few weeks. Might have to have Gary come in and mow once and keep an eye on the garden.
I know he would keep any maters from getting over ripe. lol
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

March 26, 2011
6:52 PM

Post #8452306

Susan S. I'm so glad to know you're still around .Video was great . Russ , your garden is going to be bigger than mine . Digger
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 26, 2011
8:03 PM

Post #8452434

nini I haven't even gotten any bales yet. I haven't even started any tomatoes yet. We still have about a foot of snow in the yard and about 4 feet high where it has come off the roof in places. Somehow that just about turns me off of gardening.

Can't imagine why. If our spring, like June of last year, is another cold wet one I might just give up.
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 27, 2011
11:48 AM

Post #8453540

What a great way to start this gorgeous (albeit COLD) day- my young friend Johnny came over and moved all my (30) bales down and in place in my garden, worked a lot of the old dried matter into my compost pile and bagged up all of my old 'dead' garden hose. Going in to the dining room table now to start all the rest of my seeds in their lovely little peat pellets. (My peas are already up 2-3" under the grow lights! Have to try to keep them under control until my bales are ready!!) I also met a new friend last night who wants to help me, and is going to come and till the front area of my garden so I can grow BEETS this summer! YUMMMMM!

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SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 27, 2011
3:35 PM

Post #8454062

Another shot of my garden-to-be

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SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 27, 2011
3:37 PM

Post #8454070

oops!

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Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 27, 2011
6:49 PM

Post #8454532

Lookin' good Suz. How are you going to prep your bales? With time, or nitrogen?
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 28, 2011
5:56 PM

Post #8457013

Water, time, urea and pee I know, that's redundant; one is more personal and one more AGWAYable. The old formula of soaking for a couple of weeks, and then 1 cup urea per bale every other day for a week, has worked so well for me that I see no need to change it. (There's only so much one woman can PEE!)

Here's a picture of what I have started to date, under the lights. Starting 5 of each variety this year.

Thumbnail by SuzanSkylark
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digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

March 29, 2011
8:54 AM

Post #8458288

BIG giggle , Susan .

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

March 31, 2011
4:51 PM

Post #8463543

Kent somebody else is making money off this and it's NOT us!!!!


Doug


This message was edited Apr 2, 2011 9:22 AM
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

March 31, 2011
5:24 PM

Post #8463627

Susan, glad to see you are set for another great growing season!

Thanks for posting that link, Doug. They are even saying you can grow root crops in them. Looks like a lot of Miracle Grow or some kind of potting mix on top of the bales.

Connie
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

April 1, 2011
4:22 PM

Post #8465585

Doug: yeah, the less I say about this the better.

I'll Dmail you.

Kent
nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

April 1, 2011
8:53 PM

Post #8466173

Looked at the link Doug... personally I think I have learned a great deal more about gardening here (the advice is a lot better) and the price is certainly right! I prefer being able to float questions to the folks who frequent this blog to solve any issues I might have with my straw bale garden. Unfortunately people are always looking to make a buck on everything. Too bad those folks who found that site have not realized they can get the same information and a great deal more for the small fee that Dave charges. All I can say is thank you Kent for starting this blog, I've certainly enjoyed visiting and learning from all my fellow participants.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

April 2, 2011
5:03 AM

Post #8466420

nini: thanks, it's been a joy being a part of DG and sharing all our knowledge.

Kent
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

April 2, 2011
7:25 AM

Post #8466682

nini, I couldn't agree with you more!! This group is awesome and I claim everyone here as family :) Don't know who this guy is or what he is about but I am so sorry if I upset you, Kent. You are our "straw bale man" and always will be. Can't thank you enough for your knowledge!!

Connie
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

April 2, 2011
8:49 AM

Post #8466799

Kent , don't say it's been a joy , say it is a joy . In the meantime , write a book and get some of that cash . You have certainly worked for it . Maybe you and Doug could consult with each other on it .
I've been taught everything I know from your guidance , and still learning .I appreciate all the posters and the different methods they've contributed
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

April 2, 2011
4:12 PM

Post #8467425

If I wrote a book the 1st 50 pages would have to be all the acknowledgements to everyone here, past and present, DG'ers, who have taught me much.

I may have started the ball rolling, but everyone else has helped push.

I'd have to have a special page for the "little old lady from Alabama" whose newspaper article years ago 1st sparked my interest in straw bale gardening!

Then I'd have 1 paragraph that said, "If you want to learn about Straw Bale Gardening, meet me at DavesGarden.com!!!

End of book!! :-)

Kent

digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

April 2, 2011
6:17 PM

Post #8467681

How sweet , I think that's one of the things we all like about you , selfless .
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 2, 2011
6:45 PM

Post #8467724

We've spent a few years together Kent. Seems like a LOT of years. LOL,

This year I am trying alfalfa. Suz convinced me to try it. I am actually buying one of those small expanded metal trailers tomorrow and have alfalfa bales lined up to pick up on the way home.

However, since we have such a short season here, I am going to stick with your original recipe. I planted 30 tomato plants the other day that are not up yet. And several peppers including the Scotch Bonnet and Habaneroes that Connie sent me.

Did you plant some of the Ghost Peppers Kent? What are you going to use them in? Should make some dynamite salsa. LOL
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 2, 2011
10:55 PM

Post #8468125

The tomatoes in my straw bales are getting a cattle panel cage.

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KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

April 3, 2011
10:47 AM

Post #8468900

Jeanette: I planted 10 Ghost Pepper seeds and have 8 plants up so far. Growing them for the fun and to see if they live up to their reputation.

TRG: I love the cattle panels for tomatoes. Works like a charm.

Kent
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 3, 2011
6:09 PM

Post #8469841

LOL, what in the world are you going to do with all of those Kent? How do your seedlings look? Can we see a picture? Don't you enjoy them?

I finally got some bales. Went to Big R and got a trailer, an expanded metal, and went to a farm and bought 10 bales of alfalfa at $3.50 each. It was all barn stored from last year's crop.

Now if my tomatoes start growing the bales should be ready when they are.

No, I didn't get the trailer only to get the bales. We have been wanting one of those trailers for some time. Always seem to have a need for one. The truck just uses too much gas. It, the gas is running $4 per gallon here in this little rural town, but almost that anywhere around here.
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

April 3, 2011
6:29 PM

Post #8469899

I love to smell alfalfa.If I can get out trailer unloaded at the dump , I found plain mulch quality for two fifty . Just hope it isn't full of Johnson grass seed . Congrats , Jnette .
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 3, 2011
7:05 PM

Post #8470011

Thanks Sally, When are you and Russ & Barb going to Colorado? For how long? Will you have someone to take care of your plants while you are gone? Or are you planting a lot this year? You know you do have to plant enough to can for the winter.

digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

April 4, 2011
5:01 AM

Post #8470587

I won't be planting anything but a few tomatoes and the neighbors can keep them picked .They will be in the front yard and easy to get to . I have too much in the freezer to plant a bunch of stuff this year ,and fresh tom are all I care for .
I plan on leaving here July first-ish and being there by the fifth. R & B can come anytime and stay as long as they like, even after we leave , if they want . The land isn't private ,and camping all along the river for miles . Most of it is BLM , open to the public for the most part .We all are just going to be heathens, work , lay around and enjoy the outdoors .Most of the campers have a "welcome to our campfire and bring your own coffee " attitude .Someone will have a community campfire going and all are welcome. Usually some (idiot) will get up before daylite and start the fire up and then it's cozy when others join .
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 4, 2011
12:59 PM

Post #8471547

Sounds like a good time will be had by all. Very relaxing time.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 4, 2011
2:44 PM

Post #8471820

KentNC wrote:Jeanette: I planted 10 Ghost Pepper seeds and have 8 plants up so far. Growing them for the fun and to see if they live up to their reputation.

TRG: I love the cattle panels for tomatoes. Works like a charm.

Kent


I have a few Bhut Jolokia I seeded that just came and I bought 4 plants for insurance. These may be similar to your Ghost peppers but I'm not sure. I like pepper sauce made by pouring boiling straight vinegar over hot peppers and using this with olive oil as a salad dressing. I'm looking forward to some pepper sauce made with the Bhuts.

I've always really liked the cattle panels but as I get older they have become a bit of a chore to lift by myself two feet or so and then attach to T-post. The picture below shows what I came up with for my straw bales. It's a chain link cut open using my chop saw and a pair of needle-nose vise grips and then welded to a T-post. The link will hold the bottom wire of the panel and will serve as a hinge for the panel. Now I can plop the bottom of the panel into the links and simply lift the panel into place and fasten at the top. I've been think about this method for my old cattle panel system since last season. Now that I know how well it works on the new system i need to get busy and get it implemented on the old system.

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texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 4, 2011
2:46 PM

Post #8471828

Here is what the tops look like tied off.

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texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 4, 2011
2:48 PM

Post #8471830

And now we are ready to go...

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Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 4, 2011
3:24 PM

Post #8471895

What are the rods? It looks real good but a lot of work to put together. If it is easier for you that is what counts.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

April 4, 2011
4:39 PM

Post #8472054

TRG: you've seen my pics, but I use 4 x 4 posts on each end of the 16' cattle panels. They just hang on bent nails.

Everyone's got their own system.

I just love the cattle panels so much more over the concrete re-inforcing wire. No rust and much heavier duty.

Kent
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 4, 2011
8:05 PM

Post #8472649

Jnette wrote:What are the rods? It looks real good but a lot of work to put together. If it is easier for you that is what counts.


The rebar connecting the T-post at the top is to stabilize the system. Yes, the work is a one time thing though. The T-post are there to stay, forever, or as long as forever is in my life.


KentNC wrote:TRG: you've seen my pics, but I use 4 x 4 posts on each end of the 16' cattle panels. They just hang on bent nails.

Everyone's got their own system.

I just love the cattle panels so much more over the concrete reinforcing wire. No rust and much heavier duty.

Kent


4 X 4 posts are great but the T-post are what I had from an old fence I took up. I still use the round re- wire cages in less permanent situations for tomatoes and cukes. Also, re-wire make excellent hoops to support frost blankets to cover plants in winter.

I don't understand why more folks are not going with the straw bale gardening method. To me it gardening that gives the most bang for the buck. It's clean, nearly insect and disease free and the yields are fantastic.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 4, 2011
10:21 PM

Post #8472807

Most people laugh when you talk about planting in bales. When I went to get the alfalfa yesterday the farmer said we must be going to use it to feed horses. When I told him what I was going to do with it he just shrugged and said he didn't care what I did with it. year before last we got some nasty grass hay from a farmer close by and he said his hay was too good to be used that way.

It was really gross stuff. When it spoiled it just got slick and slimy. Didn't even decompose good until the next year. I mixed it with soil and used it that way so it did ok but the year was so bad nothing ripened anyway.

I put the cattle panels on my hoophouse and they are good until I decide to take them down. I don't have to do anything with them every year. I plant along the inside walls and just tie the tomatoes to the wires. In a couple of weeks I am going to cover it with visquine and warm everything up. I planted garlic in a raised bed in there last October so hopefully that will do good this year.




SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 5, 2011
10:49 AM

Post #8473733

Oh Jeannette- you'll love gardening in hay! Just be sure to cook them until the seeds are done for.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 5, 2011
2:19 PM

Post #8474209

Thanks for the reminder Suz. Oh, BTW, I looked at your video of your class. It was good. But, let me ask you, do you still put the bales with the strings off the ground? Don't you find that like the straw, the hay acts as a straw and the water runs right thru it?

If the hay only lasts the one season, the strings aren't going to rot by then anyway. I thought the straw took a lot more water that way.

Also, what was the bit about the pallets? I vaguely remember you using them, but I didn't hear what you were saying in your class other than getting air under the produce. Do you put your bales on the pallets?
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 9, 2011
8:35 PM

Post #8484140

Jeanette, I generally put the bales where I'll be planting melons, squash, cucumbers and the like in a 'U' around wooden pallets, to keep the vines and the produce off of the ground, and to promote air flow around the veggies. My garden tends to be very damp, and this keeps them out of the wet, but I think it's beneficial anyway for viny, trailing plants if they don't have a place to climb.

As for the 'strings off the ground' issue, I pretty much followed Kent's directions with my bales and it seemed to make good sense to keep the strings off the ground. This year, I have wired bales, so it probably wouldn't make much difference. This year, I've had a friend till my whole garden space for me, so I'll be able to grow beets (my favorites) and turnips and carrots! I'm thrilled!
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 10, 2011
9:28 AM

Post #8485001

The only thing I questioned about the strings off the ground is that if you turn the bales the other way don't they act like straws and the water run thru them like they are pipes? HOWEVER, there may not be that problem with alfalfa since they are stems instead of straws. LOL, wonder if that is where they got the name STRAW.

Thanks Suz, all makes sense. Have a great day!
serenaski
Traverse City, MI
(Zone 6a)

April 17, 2011
8:33 AM

Post #8501737

Last year I followed Kent's instructions pretty closely and had wonderful luck. With the bale set strings parallel to the ground and the cut ends up folded ends down, they held moisture just fine once they had been conditioned. As a matter of fact we had a beautiful summer last year with a nice amount of rain, so I did not do much watering at all by the end of summer and I had tomatoes and melons splitting from too much moisture. That said, I got 16 pints of salsa, two solid weeks of blt's, and shared with neighbors off of just six tomato plants, the bulk coming off of four of them. The thing to realize is that the bales are made of straw folded in half and cut on one side only, so if they are hollow straws they would just kind of fill up with water because the straw is folded in half at the bottom end.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 17, 2011
2:13 PM

Post #8502305

After reading your post I went out and looked at my bales, and they were a couple of inches each way. Back and forth. These are alfalfa.

However, I don't think you can dispute the use of water that people have said the difference is in how the bales are turned. I have a well so don't pay for my water and do not have a meter on it so I don't know if there is that much difference. I just know that it seems like I was watering more with the stems up.

Others. including Kent, have said there is a difference. Maybe they have seen a difference in their water usage thru their meters. Or bills? Or just in how much more often they have to water.

One more thing, just a suggestion, but if you only got 2 weeks of BLTs then maybe you could grow a variety of tomatoes. Some that take longer, or less time, etc. so they are staggered and you get a longer time with them than so many in what seems to me a short time. For instance if you are growing all determinates then they will all ripen at the same time. Just a thought.

Hope I made sense in that last paragraph.

digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

April 18, 2011
8:43 AM

Post #8503877

Kent , I guess you may be in service with the storms south of you .Hopefully you and yours , friends and family came through all the storms in good health .Please give us a report and God bless .
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 18, 2011
8:28 PM

Post #8505376

Yes- am thinking about you and other friends I have done your way, Kent. Hope all is well . .

I got a little $ from selling some LPS, and I went out today and got myself a pair of shiny polka-dotted garden boots (to help me deal with the ankle deep mud), a wonderful broad brimmed fine weave straw hat and a smallish lawn/garden cart, so I can schlep tools, pick up the endless fallen branches, move compost, etc. I'll post photos of my "babies" in the basement: (Here are the peas-gone-wild)

Thumbnail by SuzanSkylark
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SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 18, 2011
8:28 PM

Post #8505377

Squash, beans, tomatoes-to-be . . .

Thumbnail by SuzanSkylark
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SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 18, 2011
8:31 PM

Post #8505390

and more . . gonna have to transplant them to larger starter pots by the weekend- would love to know more about pinching back these babies . . which/when/if . . any advice?

Thumbnail by SuzanSkylark
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 18, 2011
9:01 PM

Post #8505446

Wow Suz, they look great! When do you put them outside safely, without Mr. Jack Frost painting a little on them? Bet you are anxious. How are your bales looking? Are they decomposed good yet?
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

April 19, 2011
6:37 AM

Post #8506048

digger and Suzan: all is well at my house. Two tornado paths went just north and just south of me. I was on duty that day. 10 hr shift turned into a 15 hr shift.

Kent
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

April 19, 2011
7:49 AM

Post #8506174

Thank all you men and women for being there for the masses
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

April 19, 2011
8:57 AM

Post #8506353

Great that you and your family were spared any damage.
My S I L in Sanford has debris in her yard, metal roofing and such from about a quarter mile away she didn't think her house suffered any real damage. but behind her house is a fair sized bunch of trees that were destroyed. She didn't have power Sunday evening yet, so was staying at a motel that did have electricity as she needed her breathing machine. Her son is able to help her so I don't really need to be overly concerned but she said she sure heard that proverbial freight train and saw some of the trees go down before she hid in a hall closet.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 19, 2011
9:14 AM

Post #8506386

That is really scary. Can't even imagine what you guys go thru. Amazing.
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 19, 2011
11:24 AM

Post #8506625

Thank God, Kent. So glad you and yours (family and garden) are AOK.

Jeanette, the weather's fine, but my bales won't be ready for another 2 weeks. Can't WAIT!!!
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

April 19, 2011
1:23 PM

Post #8506815

I came out real lucky . Only a light rain all night and no wind .
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 19, 2011
1:38 PM

Post #8506840

Gosh, 2 more weeks on those babies and you are going to be eating peas, beans, and squash!!
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

April 19, 2011
3:39 PM

Post #8507054

While in Tex , I planted spinach and got a good bit for one big serving plus for sandwiches . I fixed it wilted with bacon and topped with parmesan cheese .
nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

April 22, 2011
7:19 PM

Post #8514272

Glad to hear Kent and others weathered the tornado safely. Have been offline because all here in Gloucester have been busy doing cleanup from the storm. We one of our two middle schools destroyed by the tornado (kids are now double shifting at the remaining middle school) and nearly 100 homes damaged beyond repair and rendered unlivable and two individuals were killed in their Mobile homes. I found myself counting my blessings as the tornado passed behind my neighbors home and only clipped our property. (and yes, it does sound like a train and yes, we were -with three dogs - hiding under the stairs in a bathroom. Have spent several days picking up all the debris dropped by the tornado on all the pastures and having uprooted trees removed and fences rebuilt. Having never been even close to a tornado, I was stunned to have metal roofing, wood, books and materials from the middle school (located about 3 miles away) deposited in our fields.. The power of nature never ceases to amaze me. The strangest of all was the uprooting of trees behind the house and nothing disturbed in the garden only 50 ft away. I will never understand how this happens. Hopefully the remainder of the spring will be a bit calmer for us all.
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 22, 2011
7:30 PM

Post #8514293

Transplanted the babies today (all but the peas - maybe I'll be brave enough to tackle them tomorrow). Many of the plants were so large that they overshadowed some of the others, and they developed strong roots but no tops. I swear, I think every single seed I sowed gerinated. It was hard to thin the tomato plants, but I did it.

Thumbnail by SuzanSkylark
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 22, 2011
9:18 PM

Post #8514457

nini, that is so scary. I don't know how you all go thru that. I could not do it. One time and I would be out of there like a shot.

So glad you and yours are ok.

Suz, they sure looked like they could not wait another week or 2. Hope they make it ok. Keep the pictures coming. We had ice this morning so it is going to be some time before we plant anything out. I am going to start the nitrogen on my bales this next week so hope they start to decompose.

They already look far beyond what the straw would have been. Thanks for your help in getting these alfalfa bales going.

Jeanette
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

April 23, 2011
4:07 AM

Post #8514707

Nini, I had a mobile home destroyed years ago Thank God I wasn't home that night . It was a small one and only dipped down to pick up two homes and flatten in the woods . This system you had was so much more powerful , I'm thankful for the ones spared and so deeply sorry for the families and friends of those lost .
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

April 23, 2011
4:56 AM

Post #8514798

Nini, I'm sorry you went thru that, but glad your damage was not worse. It is so sad to see the lives that have been destroyed in an instant, and my heart goes out to you and yours.
I went thru 3 hurricanes so can relate. The strange things that happen still make me wonder. We lost the house, but it was to a small tornado, instead of hurricane, apparently. You could look at aerial photos and see where it went. My neighbor's on each side had little damage, but our roof just seemed to vaporize. Still, the strangest was the big trees out front. They were down, but out from a center point. They looked like the lines on a sliced pizza. The trees adjacent (no more than 20' away) lost some leaves, but no other damage. Before anyone feels sorry for me, it was actually a good thing, and blasted me out of FL and into SC, to the kind of place where I always wanted to be...
digger, the next year I was in a FEMA mobile home, and stubbornly stayed in it during Hurricane Wilma. The stronger than predicted wind picked it up and dropped it half on and half off it's mountings. I will never forget trying to keep the refrigerator from falling, and keep the dogs and cats calm. They were fine, it was me who was a wreck *G*.
nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

April 23, 2011
8:21 PM

Post #8516553

Thanks for all your comments. The whole community is working together to help get everyone back on their feet. Not much can be done to replace the homes, (only time will take care of that issue) but everyone is trying to donate items to help keep these families going.. One never thinks about it, but when things like this happen you never realize just how much folks need the basics, paper towels, TP, toothpaste, shampoo and basic clothing for those who lost everything. Sorry to take the topic offline again, but if folks would like to help those in Gloucester or the other communities hardest hit by that line of storms, the Red Cross is excepting donations that are being used to help these folks recover. http://articles.dailypress.com/2011-04-21/news/dp-nws-storm-howtohelp-0422-20110421_1_county-officials-response-team-volunteers

Am looking forward to seeing how everyones garden is going to do this year. Needless to say, although I have some bales out and working, they need a bit more time before I begin planting this year. Hopefully I will get some of the items in by the first week of May.
DoxeeMom
Amherst, VA

April 23, 2011
9:17 PM

Post #8516623

Hi everyone! I'm new to SBG and having no luck finding ammonium nitrate. I did find blood meal at Lowes today. How much should I apply to each bale? Can't wait to start planting, I have 12 bales all set!
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

April 23, 2011
10:03 PM

Post #8516675

DoxeeMom,

The amounts are listed way back in previous threads on this subject so to save you time here is my list gleaned from all the info given since the beginning. I give my complete synopsis on straw bale gardening to any interested friends. I do not use ammonium nitrate, only blood meal or urea. If you set the bales out in the fall you can by-pass a lot of this prepping but since you are starting now here is my "prepping" order:

Day 1: Add 1 cup of Blood Meal or ½ cup Urea plus 5 gallons of water. Water slowly so the Blood Meal
doesn’t all run off.

Days 2 and 3: Add up to 5 gallons of Water each day as needed.

Day 4: Add 1 cup of Blood Meal or ½ cup Urea, plus water as needed.

Day 5: Add just Water as needed

Day 6: Use thermometer to check temperatures; record them. Temps can go to 140+º but usually low 100’s.
Add 1/2 cup Blood Meal or ½ cup Urea and Water as needed.

Day 7: Check temps. Add Water as needed.

Day 8: Check temps. Add 1/2 cup Blood Meal or ½ cup Urea plus Water as needed.

Day 9: Check Temps Add Water as needed.

Day 10: Check Temps Add 1 Cup Organic granular fertilizer like Espoma for Vegetables and Flowers (I also add rock phosphate, bone meal, and gypsum) and Water them in.

Then check the temps for the next couple of days before planting. You don't want to burn the roots of your seedlings. I find that when it gets hot and sunny the bales may reheat up so always wait a few days before planting.

Good luck. If you would like my complete synopsis on this method just d-mail me. I just kept following all the threads and put together a synopsis of what Kent and others described as their way of doing this. Then I adapted it to my gardening style. This will be my fifth year and I think I've got it pretty well together now.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

April 24, 2011
5:56 AM

Post #8516974

ALL: A blessed Easter to everyone!

nini: glad you made it safely through those tornadoes, too.

gardadore: as good a "recipe" as any other

DoxeeMom: welcome Aboard!!

Kent
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 24, 2011
1:08 PM

Post #8517722

LOL. Well I sent you a D-mail Kent about my urea 46-0-0. You are busy today with other things and I can understand that.

But, now you see, I am chicken. I am afraid I will blow the place up so I guess I will use bloodmeal instead. Oh well.

Have a good Easter everyone.

gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

April 24, 2011
7:12 PM

Post #8518486

Jnette,

I am confused! Are you afraid of blowing up the place with the urea? Or were you considering using the ammonium nitrate? I used urea for the first time last summer because it was so much cheaper than the bloodmeal. The Agway dealer suggested using less than the bloodmeal because it was so strong so I used 1/2 a cup rather than a full cup. It worked well. Since all my bales this year except one were placed out in the fall I will use the bloodmeal to prep just that one. I still prefer the bloodmeal overall but I had too many bales to use it exclusively last year. If you put out your bales for next year this fall you will avoid the whole issue of what to use. I even put out 4 alfalfa bales and they lasted just fine through this snowy winter with no more break down than the straw bales.
Good luck!
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 24, 2011
9:28 PM

Post #8518729

The urea is 46-0-0 and it would be enclosed in the hoophouse that gets pretty hot when the sun hits it. Then to add the water also, not sure. I have never blown up stumps before and this sounds like a good recipe for that. What do you think?
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

April 24, 2011
9:40 PM

Post #8518744

You'd have to ask a scientist but I don't think that would happen. Possible odor? Maybe put the urea on in the late afternoon, water it in and then it wouldn't be as strong the next day? Pick a cloudy day? How hot are the temps in the hoophouse? If you do it before the weather gets too warm I can't see a problem with it. We are supposed to have some temps in the 70's this week. Will it get that warm in your area? Just remember not to use more that 1/2 cup instead of the 1 cup of blood meal. Good luck - hold on to your hat!
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

April 25, 2011
10:38 AM

Post #8519247

Jeanette; for a short time I worked for a company that used ammonium nitrate for blasting rock for burrying power lines, they mixed diesel fuel with it but still had to use blasting caps to set it off. you wouldn't even get near that close with urea. But I do agree with staying on the side of caution. lol I'd hate to see you blow those little tomatoes right out through the roof.
russ
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 25, 2011
11:42 AM

Post #8519402

There's nothing to worry about with urea- it's basically just dehydrated pee! (or, as I've said before) save your urine and use it on your bales!) Blood meal is good, but SOO expensive and you need to use so much more of it . . . what's the point? I, personally, wouldn't use ammonium nitrate - there's no need.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 25, 2011
12:02 PM

Post #8519437

Well, yesterday I had 1 1/2 boxes of bloodmeal so I put a cup on each bale. Now, maybe I will use 1/2 cup urea the rest of the week. Didn't you say 3 times Suz?

Thanks everyone. I will try not to blow the place up. LOL

Oh, in answer to the temp. question: It was 89 in there yesterday.
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 26, 2011
1:01 PM

Post #8521981

I use at least 1 cup of urea per bale and do it 4 times, or until the temp get up there (every other day, though) And be sure to water it INTO the bales, and not OUT of them.
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

April 26, 2011
1:22 PM

Post #8522019

Suzan,

You said you need to use so much more bloodmeal - just curious how much you mean since I find 1 cup 3 times plus the general fertilizer the 4th time usually does the trick! My Agway man suggested I use less urea so that's why I said half a cup which seemed to work last year. But I can see how 1 cup would get things nice and hot faster!
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

April 26, 2011
1:55 PM

Post #8522070

Jeanette: I just sent response on Dmail, but basically agree that you're not going to have any trouble with the urea.

If it's like the ammonium nitrate, it should readily dissolves when you water it in the bales.

Kent
DoxeeMom
Amherst, VA

April 26, 2011
3:54 PM

Post #8522331

I am almost ready to plant but have by bales with strings running around the sides. Should I tip them the other way before I plant?
Also is the size of the plant important? I saw some beautiful tomatoes in 1 gallon pots. Is that too big?
We're getting a wonderful soaking rain today! Thanks everyone, Happy Gardening!
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

April 26, 2011
4:50 PM

Post #8522484

DoxeeMom: orient the bales either way, but I found that if the strings are ON the ground water doesn't run through the bales as fast.

For the 1st two years of bale gardening, I went with strings OFF the ground, but switched over, and stayed that way.

A large tomato plant will do just fine. Remember that tomatoes will grow roots out of any portion of the stalk that is in the ground/bale, so don't worry about planting it too deep.

Kent
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 26, 2011
6:06 PM

Post #8522713

Hi there Doxee Mom,

There all ways of thinking about how to turn the bales, but I like the strings on the ground. I think they take less water that way. Some seem to think the strings rot that way, but so what, they last a season and that is what you are concerned about. Plus, the synthetic do not rot that fast. I end up having to pull them out the next season.

Gallon plants are ok if you can get a hole big enough in the bales to get the roots in. I find I don't want to fight with them, 'cause I don't seem to get them decomposed enough at that point. I don't get my bales started early enough to get there. LOL So, it is entirely up to you, maybe try some, and it also depends on the length of your season I think. My season is short. If I could get them in the bales I probably would get the larger plants.

This gardening with bales is all trial and error I think. Everyone's issues are different so no one thing is right for everyone.

The main thing is just to have fun and enjoy your garden.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 26, 2011
6:09 PM

Post #8522723

LOL, I see Kent and I crossposted.

Kent gets his bales started earlier than I do, besides his season being longer. He thinks you might get them in too deep a hole and I worry about getting a hole big enough.

That is what I meant about everyone's issues being different.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

April 27, 2011
4:46 AM

Post #8523510

I look for tall (not realy leggy) tomato plants with small "bottoms". That way I can get them in the bales without totally trashing either plant or bale. I do strip all the leaves that I can (leaving just the top set sometimes), so they go as deep as possible. I try to cup the rootball in my hand and stick my whole arm down inside (kinda slimy) then backfill with a potting mix/compost/watersorb conglomeration.
Works so far :)
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

April 27, 2011
5:02 AM

Post #8523553

Cat , that's the way Daddy taught me to plant them and always had good strong roots . He didn't have bales , just dirt , but always had good crops . I never had good toms in Ga . until Kent came along with the bales . I have had different bug problems but always good crops , strong plants .
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

April 27, 2011
5:12 AM

Post #8523577

Bales have saved me here, as well, and we're pretty close. I had someone I bought plants from tell me it would never work, that he'd tried and it was a dismal failure. I just smiled and told him it had worked for me for 4 years:)
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

May 2, 2011
5:39 PM

Post #8535508

Phew! I finally got to planting my bales today - got ALL of the peas (some had over 3' of growth!!) in : Little Marvels, Sugar Snap and several varieties of Sweet Peas (Flowering). I'm POOPED!! Tomorrow I'll see how far I get on the squash(es), beans and pumpkins. I'm going to let the tomato plants get just a little bigger/sturdier before I plant them outside. Bales were LOVELY!! Nicely composted and easy to plant.
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

May 2, 2011
7:02 PM

Post #8535717

Whoo Hoo. Suzan!! We are planning to plant Wed. We are so excited to do this again. Got some straw bales and hay bales this year. Lots of mushrooms showing on those bales :)

Neighbor has 5 bales out and someone up on the corner from us set some out. Neighbors keep driving by and asking questions. Letting us know about the others that set some out. You can tell this is a sleepy little town with nothing going on LOL.

Connie
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 3, 2011
8:48 AM

Post #8536825

LOL, I can hear the excitement in you Connie. How are your bales composted? I have to get down and see how mine are doing.

In the meantime, I am house hunting but am not going to let the season go without any tomatoes just in case we are still here this summer. So, between that, sorting thru and clearing out junk, I have to work my gardening in thu the cracks.
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

May 3, 2011
11:42 AM

Post #8537139

Where are you moving to ? According to the map , you are in a nice area with the water and all .
When you get all your stuff sorted out , come on down and help me go through my junk . I need a hugh sale to get rid of a bunch of stuff .
Happy hunting , hope you find just the perfect place and maybe a little warmer . Sally
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 3, 2011
5:11 PM

Post #8537790

Gosh Sally, you have no idea difficult it is. I think I will be here forever. It is not an easy thing to do. I have only moved a couple of times in my life. My adult life that is. So, I don't even know what to do next. I am trying to get enough stuff out of here that the realtor can show it and it will look like they could live here.

I will not be leaving this area if you count Spokane as part of it. I won't move to Spokane, but the outlying areas have some fairly good places. Maybe too picky, but there is no point in moving if I can't find what I want.

I am not even going to bother with a sale. They are too much work and just doing it this way is work. Anything that is worth anything and I want it to go, I will take to one of the charity places.



catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

May 4, 2011
5:27 AM

Post #8538810

Jnette, maybe talk to your friends? I was amazed at the response I got when I was complaining about how much I had to do, and didn't feel like doing. A friend offered to go thru and sort, and see what was there. Granted, I have lots of "stuff" that "I" consider treasures, and most people would decidedly NOT!
She had a ball (as she said) "Pawing thru everything", sorted it out into keep, maybe keep and dispose of. She knew pretty much what should be what. Then I went thru and boxed what I wanted. She set stuff aside for sale, and we will split profits. She then took what she wanted, and a church group came and took the rest. It was much easier for me to have it laid out. What was a huge, horrible undertaking to me was a treasure hunt to her.
I later did the same for another friend (with the first friend in on it) and it really was fun. When it wasn't my stuff, I saw it with different eyes, and no sentiment. She was amazed (as I had been) as to how much there was that seemed unreplaceable, but really wasn't when seen in the light of day :)
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

May 4, 2011
6:11 AM

Post #8538882

Yeah , and can take one room at the time , don't run back and forth , all over everything . Much easier .
HELP Cat, lol
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 4, 2011
8:50 AM

Post #8539121

Seems that in doing one thing I find something else that has to be done first.
Is that normal? Or old age? I have gotten all the info for storage places but have not committed to one yet. I am not there yet.
I
Do you all know if the VA wants magazines such as Handyman or Countryside to the hospital? I have several years of Countryside and one or 2 of the other. I take books there, and someone told me they like puzzles, so will take those too, But don't know about magazines. I know people that would like them, but do like to support the VA too.

Sorry, don't mean to hyjack this thread. Will get off the subject.
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

May 4, 2011
9:39 AM

Post #8539195

I don't think Kent would think we were off T . This thread is general discussion . Yes that's normal . That's why you do one room at the time . Then when you get to the next room , you add to the stacks you've done already . My big thing is paper .
Don't know why the V A wouldn't want the mags . or you can send them to the troops , be well appreciated .Then the men can plan what they will do when they get home .I'm sure they will be making lots of plans . Hugs
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 4, 2011
2:05 PM

Post #8539725

Good idea. I suppose there would be quite a few different addresses for them on line. google.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

May 4, 2011
2:41 PM

Post #8539807

Seems that in doing one thing I find something else that has to be done first.

I've finally quit worrying about it. As long as I accomplish _something_ I figure it's a Good Day. I have bookshelves to build, and today I moved some of the bits and pieces where they need to be for me to actually begin.

Of course, then I started looking at the books...

But, it's a start *G*
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 4, 2011
5:48 PM

Post #8540227

You too? LOL, I do the same thing. I have to read the books before I pack them. I am never going to get out of here.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

May 5, 2011
5:10 AM

Post #8540911

I was lucky. Both times I moved, I had lots and lots of time. Actually took a year once, and 6 months the next time. The biggest issue was how to move the critters (a rescue full of cats and several dogs) from Florida ot South Carolina. It ended up as a very interesting barter agreement which left me with three pet steers...

Count your blessings *G*
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 5, 2011
8:09 AM

Post #8541273

LOL, I remember the steers but don't remember how you got them. That is some trade tho. Just a little difference between cats and steers.



Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 5, 2011
8:20 AM

Post #8541307

Ok you all, I need help. One of the bales in my hoophouse is full of ants. I suppose because it is so warm in there. Now what? I want to get rid of them before I have to plant. Any suggestions? I need something that is not going to affect the tomatoes.

If I were to take that bale out they would just go into another so that would not solve it.

Help!!
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

May 5, 2011
9:00 AM

Post #8541403

Ants hate mint. If you can get some peppermint extract and mix a few drops with water, spray it on (into) the bale that might make them run. I have used diatomaceous earth as well but am sparing in the regular garden because when the earthworms go over it, it it cuts them. Cups of Boric acid as in Borax placed near the bale might lure them. Then they take it back to the nest and it kills them. Have your iomatoes already been planted in the bales? Noner of the above will harm tomatoes or any plants. The ants wouold take so little Borac to he nest it should be minimal on impact. If the bales are still empty I would root around and disturb them as much as possible forcing them to vacate. We kill live ones in the kitchen using the sprays designed to wash vegetables such as Veggie Wash, My husband discovered it kills on contact out of desperation when we had an infestation in the kitchen all over the counter. He grabbed the closest thing that sprayed and it worked. Now we use it regularly in the spring when the ants come in. I would only use that on the ground as they ants leave not on the bales themselves! There are poisons you can buy to put around but not in the bales. . I had ants invade one of my grow bags last spring. That was at least easy because I just dumped the coir into a 5 gallon bucket, waited a couple of days and the ants left, Can't very well dump a bale, can you?!! Good luck
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 5, 2011
10:20 AM

Post #8541551

I sprinkled a little borax and powdered sugar in the trail of some of those little tiny ants that came in on the cupboard one day. The ants were gone by that evening and haven't come back. Several years ago.
nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

May 5, 2011
7:40 PM

Post #8542765

Jnette am also in the process of moving... staying in the same county, just new place. Have not moved in over 30 years and it is a process that is ever changing. Have technically moved, but am still sorting and trying to clear out the old house so that it can go on the market. Am just attacking it one box at a time. Have put out bales at the new house (see how carefully I got back on topic!) and have actually planted most of them. Much smaller amount (as you said... so many things to do and so little time) but hopefully they will be successful.

Thumbnail by nini1953
Click the image for an enlarged view.

nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

May 5, 2011
7:49 PM

Post #8542792

Another view of the second row. Not as tidy as last year but I used last years bales from my hay man that he gave me for free.

Thumbnail by nini1953
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 6, 2011
7:56 AM

Post #8543589

nini when do you plan on putting your house on the market? My sister who is in real estate is trying to tell me to get it on by the first of June. Now, I am realistic, that is just not going to happen.

But, if we don't we are missing the best market. People like to get settled before the kids get into school. I guess.


edited to add: You did get right back on topic, didn't you.

This message was edited May 6, 2011 7:57 AM
nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

May 6, 2011
7:12 PM

Post #8544783

Well... I don't think I would make your sister happy either. The agent wanted it on the market by the end of April to catch the spring interest... Guess I missed that one... If I make June 1 I will be surprised. (I am also being realistic) But I must say, sooner rather than later is better... I will keep my fingers crossed that we both are close to that date. But back to the thread... Because of the move, I do not have any of my raised beds to plant in. (still trying to get those moved) and for the first time I have tried seeding green beans (bush and climbing) melons and okra on top of some of the bales in some topsoil. They haven't started to come up, but I am hoping this will work as I totally missed planting my spring garden due to the move and really don't want to miss the largest part of the summer garden. Wish me luck... Will post pictures when they begin to come up.
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

May 6, 2011
8:27 PM

Post #8544926

Got most of my plants in my bales - all but the tomatoes. I'm going to let them get a little bigger/sturdier and wait 'til the nights are a little warmer. Not sure how many of my pea plants are going to survive- they grew so much and untangling them to plant them didn't make them happy . . . but at least it's well underway. Feels good.

Wishing all of my 'mother Earth' friends an abundant and happy Mother's Day!

Suz
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

May 7, 2011
4:29 AM

Post #8545189

nini, I've done green beans and melons very successfully in bales, so you should be fine. They seemed quite happy. I've got cantaloupes this year, so we'll see. I'm not quite sure where they are, though. I bought both cantaloupes and cukes already started, and when I went to plant them both kinds were simply marked "C". They look pretty much alike, still...

*G*
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 7, 2011
8:33 AM

Post #8545590

Well, I couldn't find anything but peppermint and rather than hate it, the ants seem to really like it. Darn!! So, I ended up sprinkling Ortho ant killer along the side of the bales. I didn't get it near where the tomatoes will be. I am sure the ants will carry some of it in that area, but minuscule so shouldn't be too bad. Hope it works.



nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

May 7, 2011
7:44 PM

Post #8546792

Thanks for the advice on the beans, but like you I am also having a moment of confusion with my bales. I know in which ones I planted the beans, but unfortunately I cannot remember which ones are the bush beans and which ones are the climbers. I guess I will figure it out when they really get growing. Happy mother's day everyone, I plan to spend mine working on plants in my garden...
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

May 8, 2011
1:04 PM

Post #8547893

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms!!

Thumbnail by KentNC
Click the image for an enlarged view.

digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

May 8, 2011
2:05 PM

Post #8547980

That was sweet . Thank you .
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

May 8, 2011
5:22 PM

Post #8548323

Ah...Thank you, Kent!!! Happy Mother's Day to all of the Moms here :)

Jeanette, you bet I am excited lol. Got the bales all planted. We let the bales break down on their own. Are yours ready? Now I can't wait to eat some yummy tomatoes and do a little canning. I am hoping by the end of the season I don't want to look at another tomato til next year lol

Connie
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 8, 2011
9:52 PM

Post #8548962

I am trying to get the ants out of 2 of my bales Connie. Then I might be ready to plant. I am in between being excited and duh. House hunting so don't know if I will be here to enjoy any tomatoes I plant. And yet, I have to plant some in case we are still here.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

May 9, 2011
4:49 AM

Post #8549161

Jnette, can you still move them, or are they too far gone? If you could put one in a wagon, you could take it with you...
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 9, 2011
7:08 AM

Post #8549417

Might be a long pull. I am looking about a hundred miles from here. No, I am still trying to get them to decompose enough to plant in them.
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

May 9, 2011
7:46 AM

Post #8549500

Jnette , If you're looking at 100 miles , what zone will that be ? In what direction ?
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 9, 2011
7:18 PM

Post #8551152

We are considered the same zone, but they get warmer about 3 weeks sooner in the spring, and they have a longer growing season in the fall. Would be going South.

We are called (as they are) zone 5, however I buy for zone 4. We are a strange state. The coast, West of the Cascade mountains is zone 8. I am sure it is because of the closeness to the water. Also, the middle of the state is much colder in the winter than we are, and hotter in the summer. Bet they are zone 5.
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

May 10, 2011
5:58 PM

Post #8553383

Yep, understand buying plants for zone 4 instead of 5.
Bu some maps we are on the upper edge of 5 but zone 5 perennials are only for down to -20 It has been as low as -42 right here. zone 4 perennials will say -30. We frequently loose a few to a freeze when there is no snow cover. Now today I just wilted. not many days ago we were 24 degrees, I think that was the first part of last week. Today my thermometer out in direct sun said 101 the one in the shade said 98.
I mowed part of my lawn this morning. and planted 2 more rows of potatoes this afternoon. I didn't need them but they were given to me. I am sure the Gospel mission will appreciate them. We were trying to avoid turning the A/C on just yet but after that bit of work, open windows and fans just wasn't enough. Sooooo the air is on!
I bought a Reliance Peach tree yesterday, needless to say I didn't plant it yet.
I will see what it is like just about dark or wait till early morning. I think tomorrow is supposed to be 75 and by the end of the week down to 62.
I don't recall the heat bothering me this much, even just 10 years ago but certainly not in the 50s as I remember loading an awful lot of hay and straw bales directly behind the baler and Dad only knew one speed, That was as fast as the baler could take it without killing the motor.
Then in 60 I was in Key West FL and still didn't mind the heat and humidity.
Jeepers I think I just figured it out- - - - - - my hair was blond then and now what hair I have has turned gray. Maybe I better start coloring my hair.

Jeanette I hope you don't get home sick for your secluded Paradise, but yeah sometimes a move is for the better. Wish you luck!
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 11, 2011
6:37 PM

Post #8556546

Thanks Russ, but still looking. Found a house I really wanted and wouldn't you know they had just accepted an offer on it the day before. Oh well. Yeah, I know, deals fall through, but so far it hasn't. So, will continue looking.

Are you and digger all prepared for your cool trip this summer? Bet you guys are really looking forward to it. Should have a great time.

When do you plan on leaving? And for how long? Did you plant anything other than the potatoes? Tomatoes, or anything? Sweet potatoes?

nini1953
Gloucester County, VA
(Zone 7b)

May 11, 2011
8:10 PM

Post #8556737

OK, frustration has set in... Planted my bales with green beans, okra, and melons... The plants were just beginning to break the surface and what should happen, my 70 lb pit bull cross dog (sweet thing that she is) decided that the rotted bales (that had been rotted with blood meal) looked like a great place to rummage with her large nose! :( total destruction of the okra, melons and 50% of the beans... have spent the day replanting and trying to explain to Vegas the error of her way... Wish me luck, not sure the lesson took...

Thumbnail by nini1953
Click the image for an enlarged view.

randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

May 11, 2011
8:31 PM

Post #8556770

Yeah, Potatoes, sweet corn, tomatoes. I have a few peppers to plant and I have a large Sweet potato that has a bunch of sprouts, I will root them and plant those too. But that will be it this year. I have a bunch of canna roots to set out yet.
I have a little work to do on the camper yet and we are still taking a second look as to use the van or the S10. That $4buck gas scares me. but that will be the only major cost.
The kids think we are nuts for doing this. But If we just stayed home, We would not have that experience and we would always wonder what we missed.
Besides we will meet Digger. and a bunch of her other friends.
Several years ago we took a longer route out to see the kids when they were in Ohio and met several other friends from the water gardens forum on DG and made some swaps. ( water plants ) That was also fun. Our daughter thought we had gotten lost, because we had gone about 40 miles south of the normal route. But then I'm not quite ready to let them run my life. Oh O did I say that?
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

May 11, 2011
8:36 PM

Post #8556782

nini; She looks puzzled. Like what did I do. You left them out there didn't you??
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

May 12, 2011
4:24 AM

Post #8557104

But Mama!! It smelled SOOOO good I had to see what was in there! There's lots of other green things around, and these didn't smell like anything anyone would want to eat.

I sorry...

Vegas
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

May 12, 2011
5:52 AM

Post #8557240

I have no idea how long Russ will stay ,but I plan on being there about a month . When we come back , will stop in Tex for awhile to plan and maybe build my boy a shed house for his new water system .Just because we leave at the end of July , they can stay as long as they want.I need to start getting the little things together and D H needs to get off his duff and get the motorized equiptment checked out .I want to take two dredges with pontoons for both .
Be nice if some D G ers could stop by and visit too .
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

May 12, 2011
6:00 AM

Post #8557264

I just checked the average temp for Buena Vista and the ave high for July is 81.9 and the low is 47.7 so it will be blankets ,coats , and t-shirts .Need a coupla longsleeve shirts 'cause the sun can get hot .
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 12, 2011
8:18 AM

Post #8557593

Doesn't sound like you are planning on even tomatoes this year Sally. Unless you take one in a pot with you. LOL, wouldn't that be wonderful. Fresh, ripe tomatoes when camping!! You might start a fad.
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

May 12, 2011
10:08 AM

Post #8557812

The only thing I've planted are black diamond watermellons and they should be ok and ready when I get back or the neighbors can have them .
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

May 12, 2011
10:18 AM

Post #8557838

Gonna miss you posting this summer, Sally! Russ, I hope you and Barb don't stay away too long but do enjoy your trip! Jeanette, don't you bail out on me too lol!! God bless ya. We have moved around so much when hubby was working that people thought we were in the military. I would tell them "No...we move more than the military" LOL!! I sure don't want to do it again.

Connie
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 12, 2011
1:25 PM

Post #8558298

No Connie, I am here for the duration it appears. Going to check the bales and see if they look like they could take some plants. ttyl,
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

May 12, 2011
3:35 PM

Post #8558609

YAY!!! So glad to hear it but so sorry for you on moving. Just as soon as you get those babies going you will find the perfect place :)

Connie
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

May 12, 2011
4:31 PM

Post #8558700

This week end we will be attending a garden get-together and plant swap with a few other Mid-Westerners. I really need the time here but we will be staying at my nephew's, and we have invited them to join in the get-together and festivities. And there are always plenty of plants for swapping and even if you don't bring any to swap, you can still wind up with a bunch to keep you planting for a while. I'm hoping my Nephew and Niece pick up a few that we can help them plant. But this year I will be very careful to leave more than I take as I can just imagine everything being crowded out by weeds after no weeding during July. I hope Preen does as good as everyone says, as that is the only care the potatoes and tomatoes will have this summer while we are gone.

I am so looking forward to this vacation, Meeting Jon and Sally and the rest of the friends and learn a little about prospecting. I like being by the river with fishing pole in hand but no fishing poles this time at this river lol

Not sure how long we will be staying. Barb is fighting an eye problem and has monthly visits with the Dr. We will have to schedule around the trip.
Russ
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

May 12, 2011
5:25 PM

Post #8558794

Dog gone it, Russ! I told you to stop pokin' Barb in the eye. Guess I am gonna have to have a prayer meetin' with you...lol!! Well, I hope her eye improves in time for your trip. Please take pics and share them with us. The good ones and the oops moments :)

Shoot, tell your nephew to tend to your tomatoes and potatoes while you are gone. Just tell him it will be good practice for him :)

Connie
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 12, 2011
7:37 PM

Post #8559128

Russ, Do NOT leave the fishing pole at home. You will be so sorry. There is always time to cast a few, and you will be sorry if you don't have it. Even if you don't use it, take it. They don't take up that much room.
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

May 12, 2011
8:42 PM

Post #8559307

I may try have our daughter Connie try her hand at keeping some of the weeds at bay. We were planning on taking her along but that plan doesn't look too good. But that time is a ways off yet, so I'm still open.
Gary owes me big time, on favors so I'm kind of leaning that way. I can only hope.
Nephew lives about 3 hours from here, so that would be real dedication.
I'll just have to deal with what ever happens.
digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

May 13, 2011
6:13 AM

Post #8559810

Might go in together and buy a non-resident license and fish , we'll have to check it out . Trout bite good on crickets here.

Thumbnail by digger9083
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 13, 2011
1:45 PM

Post #8560726

Gorgeous fish Sally. Don't know how you could go to a river with no fishing pole. Wouldn't happen with me.

That's too bad that Connie can't go with you guys. It would be good for her. I know Gary owes you, but can he be counted on to even just water? Weeding would be nice, but an extra. Not as important as water.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

May 14, 2011
3:59 PM

Post #8562884

Speaking of fishing, let's cast our discussions over to a new chapter in case we still have some using dial up.

Link to Ch 35: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1181488/

Kent
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

May 15, 2011
4:10 AM

Post #8563640

Thank you:)

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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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