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Will leave a month early this year , Oct 1st . I have a lot more to take this year . Three bamboo chairs , an antique hall tree , a few tropical plants . We always pull a cargo trailer full of tools to work with when we're down there ,and it's going to be hotter , so will only stop for a few hours at night to grab. a little sleep . Maybe I can condense it down a bit next year , but I always say that .
We'll stop off at Gym Girls house to pick up a few garden plants . The packing hasn't even started yet . That is always a week of torture.
I have one child and he comes down from Austin on some weekends to fish and cut grass . I was born in N Texas but lived in Corpus Christi for awhile .As old as I'm getting , I'm moving most of my family heirlooms , and personal artwork down there to make it easier for him to gain my personal things when I'm gone . Just enjoying being close to him half the year and taking (care of business )
It's a four hour drive for him to come down so only gets there a coupla weekends a year . He already had a weekend place there and I bought two lots across the street from him and when I sold my house in Ark that I had previous to marrying 20 years ago , I just put the money into a nice mobile home on the two lots , built a chain link fence all around and a big porch on the front .My kid can rent , or sell it when I cross over the rainbow bridge and he'll know the story about my personal items so that he can divide between the grand kids , keep , sell , or throw away.
We do a lot of repair work on his place too , while we're there as there is always something to fix .
Hate the weather in the summer . Hot , dry , but with a lot of humidity from the gulf .Love it in the winter .
Place in Ga . is our main place . Only 3 1/2 acres , and all woods . Homestead exemp . We used to spend a lot of time at my place in Ark . It was on a good fishing lake but next door to my ex . and needed a lot of upkeep . Would have been better to get rid of it and start fresh somewhere else . I didn't have any family left at all in that area .My only child was 8 hours away . All my D H family is here , mine in Tex . Thus six mos here , six mos there .
The only thing I don't like about the place in Tx , is , right after I moved a mobile home in and spent $30,000 on it , The place behind me sold while we was here in Ga , and the man is a pig . Health dept , homeowners asso , fire dept , wont make him clean it up . He piles it all up , then burns his trashy furniture and crap on the street .He's buying it on contract and the owner doesn't care as long as he gets the money every month. It's one of those rent to own contracts . Don't get me off on that subject . Sorry. I will put up a solid tall , wood fence this trip .This is what it looked like last winter and We have to fix the fence he dropped a tree on .
That is really disgusting Sally. It is amazing what people can do and get away with. We had one in Seattle 3 doors down from us, the guy worked on vehicles and had a lot of good places for rats to nest. And of course fed his dogs outside so there you go.
The city said they couldn't do anything about it. I said to clean it up and put a lean on his place for the cost. They said no money. Once in a while they would go buy and put a pink warning ticket on a vehicle sitting on the road. That did a lot of good.
So sad. Maybe light a match to it sometime when he isn't there.
The squash bugs won the battle but I won the war... Super Chickens to the rescue! No more squash bugs... Wish I had let them out into the garden a lot earlier... Tomatoes are now being tied along the top of the fence since they are now at least 3ft taller than the fence...
You can relate to the problem Jnette .
I've thought about a fire but they always leave a little dog in the house when they leave.OOOOps , I didn't say that . No , really , that would put me in the same class as him .
digger.. The Health Dept can do something.. if they want to... or maybe if you go to a commissioners meeting and raise a lil sand to give them a lil push?? Sometimes ya gotta just make enough noise... That sort of thing is dangerous to your health and animals and ground water..Any ordinance you can use?? There has to be with a home owners assoc... hhmm.. animal control for animal neglect?? Sometimes when they come out and see that sort of thing they will get things started..
They have looked at it . Nothing . I've raised h- - - with them all . called the fire dept when they were burning foam chairs , they didn't even come out , it was Sat, don't work except on emergency calls cuz it is all volunteer . Black smoke blotted out the neighbors across the street and sent me to the emergency room three days later with pneumonia. Even sent the owner these same pictures and offered to buy the property with the little trailer . He wanted exactly twice the price of lots the same size with septic and meter installed , meter for water is $3000.00 .They are hooked in to Daddy's septic and run water from a garden hose to the little trailer . There are ordinances against it and in the by-laws but HOA says they don't have the money to pursue .
You're right , I'll go to meetings and raise my voice , I'm not near bout through . He doesn't pay homeowners fees . . I could go on and on .
To top it off , we left to come back here and the same night , my other neighbor saw a lite and came outside with a flashlight and the pig was in my chain link fence yard , looking under my trailer with his own flashlight . My neighbor yelled at him and he disappered around my trailer . She called the sheriff and they came out, knocked on his door , but he wouldn't answer . They didn't pursue it any further even after me calling them . They have drunks and more important calls to check out .
It's a mess, but I'll be back down there in Oct .
The ony other thing I can think of is to address it through whatever is your local Environmental control org. Here's it's DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Concerns, or something). Maybe this will help; http://www.epa.gov/epahome/whereyoulive.htm
Like everyone else, they're low on money, but maybe you can get someone's attention.
What's the point of an HOA that does nothing? What are your dues funding??
I'd be POed too...
Jnette , we have a private water company for the subdivision . Like in the city , you have to have a water meter for your property. It cost 3000.00 to buy a water meter and have it attached to the main water line .
Cat ,fees go to maintenance of streets ,swimming pool , rebuild fishing pier , boat ramps , pay a grass cutter for the street right of way etc .So many people don't pay anything and the dues can only be collected when and if the property ever sells . In the by-laws , the assoc . has a lean on the property and a deed can't be passed without payment .I'll go back to the health / EPA again . I'm not sure he ever came out the first time . I never saw him and the (pig) has built a fence behind his trailer to hide it from the street . It's open to my back yard tho .
There is a six ft right of way for the water co to access our meters to read, and they say as long as they can get to the meters , they don't care . You can see in the pictures , (pig ) has crap all over that too .I'll continue to make complaints . Put the next ones in writing , with pics .
When are you leaving Sally? I.e. how much time do you have left now to fight this guy? I wouldn't tell them, they will figure they can out last you and when you are gone they won't have to deal with it for a while.
The reason I was asking about the meter is that a year or so ago our state was talking about putting meters on the private wells. Can you imagine? They don't help with the cost of drilling the well, paying for all the equipment plus well itself etc, on and on. And they don't provide public water in case we wanted to go that route.
I'm like the birds , I go south for the winter . Will leave Georgia early Oct . The pig lives behind me in Tex . Wonder how much he's piled up , I'll know when we get there .
I can't believe they would put a meter on a private well . Sounds like a class action lawsuit .
My little one-foot okra plants are putting on fruit, LOL. Kent, I don't think I'm a good example of a bale gardener, just yet, anyway. I think it takes longer to cook the bales here in this area, I've finally decided. Plus the weather didn't permit an early planting this year. The bales ought to be good and ready, next year, though, with the snow we can get here. I planted zinnias in one and the little plants are real troopers in full bloom, despite its scraggly leaves and struggle. I see pics of all the other folk's gardens, so that tells me it IS possible and gives me hope for next year. Maybe I can find another type of bale, instead of Coors barley, in case there are some herbicide issues with them. Oat straw would be good, I'd think. Next time, I'll ask the farmer about herbicides and other things he used to grow the crop.
wow... just came in from tying up 14-16 ft tomato plants! They are on a 6 ft fence in straw bales and are going crazy!! I'm tying them along the top...Now if the rain would stop busting them I'll have hundreds of tomatoes! The chickens do love the busted ones though.. :-) Wish I had done the Straw Bale gardening a long time ago.. Thanks Kent!! This is awesome!!!
Solace, the alfalfa works pretty good. But, it is pretty expensive in most places. Last year I was really lucky, I found an ad in the local paper that a fellow was trying to clean out his mom's barn so he was selling them for $1.50 a bale!! The tomatoes were so good last year. I haven't had any ripe ones other than cherry toms, Sun Sugars,(and they are super good) so am hoping this year they will be as good. Oh, I was able to use the same bales this year that I had last year. So that was good. Will use them for mulch this year when the tomatoes are done with them.
But, it is becoming such a job to find bales each year, I think I am going to go to earth-buckets next year. We'll see. I bought 10 bags of worm castings yesterday from the feed store lady that I might mix something with and try them. I haven't even looked at the stuff yet. Was thinking of using them for top dressing in my perennial beds. We'll see.
I'm pumped!! I went on a drive-about here in South Western Washington and found straw bales from the farmer for
$3.50 and Pea straw for $4.50.
I am going to use the Pea straw because peas are nitrogen fixing the same as alfalfa. The farmer grows green pea seeds for a cannery. Once the peas are harvested they rake up the straw and bale it. They use the pea straw for dairy cattle feed.
The bales are really tight, because the pea straw is heavy and loose bales break. So they should last longer.
It will be interesting to see what will grow.
I'll keep you posted.
Well now Paul, that will be interesting. Bet they have a lot of nitrogen. How many are you going to get? How far west do they go? Wondering because I know that Southeastern Washington is Palouse country where they grow a lot of lentils. Those would be a lot of legumes and nitrogen too.
Wow, are you going to leave them out in the weather this winter? They would really get started decomposing I would think. You all don't get a whole lot of snow do you?
I know what you mean about the Palouse. I was raised on a farm between Potlatch, Idaho and Garfield, Washington. My Great Great Grandfather led a cover wagon train from Independence, Missouri. to Cedar Creek, Latah County, Idaho, in 1875.
I was surprised to see the left over pea straw.
I am pumped to try the bales. I think we are going to start with 10 and work from there.
My sister has just moved about three blocks away so we are going to grow strawbale gardens in both places. Sister's place faces due South so we will have great sun all day. What sun we do get here in Western Washington.
Thank you, Jnette. Alfalfa is the way I'll go next year, I think. It's getting pretty scarce these days, and expensive as you said. In some places it's about $10 a bale. If my budget allows it this fall, I might try to round some old alfalfa (if there exists such an animal) bales and use them as an insulating wall for my chickadees this winter. They should break down a little even if stacked, by the snow we will hopefully get. I sure feel an urgency to get others who don't garden to start. The food supply is getting weird and expensive (not to mention poisonous) in stores. Many companies (even store brands), instead of drastically raising prices, are now shrinking their packaging. A can of coffee is not my grandmother's can, that's for sure. I hope others are noticing this change...even toilet paper cardboard rolls in the center of the paper are getting larger so they won't have to use as much paper, or the rolls are getting shorter. Marketers are being very sneaky, these days, especially with food. When they do start going up in price (when they can't shrink the packaging anymore) it will be a major shock, I think. The more we can all grow in our own gardens, and preferably organic, the better off our families will be. This "hobby" could mean the difference between eating and going hungry someday. As part of Solace Radio's ministry, I'd really like to be able to teach others how to make the simple cattle panel hoop houses for salad vegetables if nothing else. There are a LOT of poor people in this county. I'm hoping to provide all the materials for it, too, eventually, not just teach them, but that I'll have to just keep praying about. If people all over the U.S. and the world would just start with something small like that, it would be a tremendous change. Thanks again, for the info Jnette. I plan to have both, or maybe three raised beds (I already have one made and planted-the corn is a whopping 2" tall now:), containers, and bales in the greenhouse. I got the plastic today, although the store didn't get the 6mil I ordered, so had to settle for two smaller (will have to splice them) 4 mil rolls. Also, am doing a double span, with the cattle panels, so trying to gather up enough u-bolts to connect the panels for a higher tunnel. Patience, Dianne, patience... seems like everything takes more time than it should. And frost is a'coming here, soon. Second week in September is what the norm is. Still have to build nest boxes for the hens, too. So much to do.
1. "Oops, I thought this was a foot-washing device"
2. Bantam corn
3. Garlic, La Ratte taters, and Sangres harvested this week. The La Ratte grew in barlety straw.
4. Zinnias are going to town, and carrots are finally doing something in that tub.
Good idea for the chickadees Solace. Those little guys just keep coming to the feeders don't they? Then it might get your bales started decomposing too. twofers.
You are definitely not the only one noticing the sizes of coffee, TP, etc. Really ticks you off on the coffee. We watch the ads constantly for the larger cans to be on sale. We are lucky to find it for $6.99 any more. Bet it is much higher where you are. I think we should boycott brands and stores that pull that crap. Guess pretty soon we wouldn't have anything to buy. But your are right when you say to grow our own. With the price of heating the greenhouses tho, it would probably cost more but be healthier.
The cattle panels are wonderful. They are so strong. However, one year I messed up by not keeping the snow and ice buildup off of it and it caved it in. DH had to take it apart in the spring, lay each one flat and walk on it to straighten them out and then rebuild it. But you could never tell it had happened. Don't remember what mil I used but we are going on the 3rd year for it. We just roll it up from each side. This year I am thinking of taking the bales out for mulch like I said and then using the hh for a garage for my small car. Also thinking I might put one of those canvas garages over the top. Don't know. Just a few things I am kicking around.
Thanks Jeanette. I'm going to build an arbor in the middle in case of heavy snow. I'll do a single span instead of double this year (I was going to put them end to end with u-bolts, but cold is coming quickly here- 36 degrees or so last night. I put lightweight little blankets around my Indian popcorn plants in the bale, I don't think it minded. Covered everything but the carrots last night, in case it might get colder than projected (which it did) and frost. I don't trust those weather sites. I have a thermometer right outside the door so I can watch it from time to time in the evening. A bear came into the area a couple of weeks ago and killed the dog of a friend of mine down the road, so have been keeping my ears peeled for unusual noises around the little chickadees. To top that off, I was told there's a burglary ring working the area. I feel sorry for them if they try to come in here. My dogs will tear 'em up. Doors are kept locked, though, just in case. I walked out in the driveway the other night and a car was just setting there. They took off. I pray that this and surrounding neighbors will be spared harm.
It is getting cold at night here too, but cross my fingers, not that cold yet. It is nice tho 'cause it is making the tomatoes ripen. Picked about dozen yesterday. Going to have a tasting test here pretty soon so I know which to plant next year.
The walls are started, drums are in, now (today, actually), and waiting for them to heat up tomorrow. Can't wait to get the cattle panels on top of the walls. I posted more info in the Greenhouse thread, here: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1279134/
I'm going to attempt to move a couple of the straw bales with corn and okra into the greenhouse. The corn's too pretty to just watch frost get it, so I'm going to try.
Solace, trying to visualize what you are doing. Are you using the bales so high up and then putting the cattle panels on top of those??? Aren't you worried the bales will decompose out from under the panels? Or am I all wrong?
Ok, I went to all the things you listed and see what you are doing. Good grief girl, you have picked out a lot of work for yourself. Wasn't there an easier way? I hope it works for you. Actually, I am sure it will. But wow so much work!
Please don't work yourself to death. Keep us posted how it is going. Jeanette
So how did everyone's gardens do this year? Connie, haven't heard anything from you for a long time. How did you do? Kent, are you in the middle of canning? Bet you guys are like me and cleaning up everything for the winter. A last watering of outdoor plants and then have to take the hoses in so they don't freeze. Just one of the many chores. Must get busy.
There will be hay bales on the inside of the block 'walls' and outside for stability. The cattle panels will rest on the 2x12's on top of the cement blocks. Plastic will be on the outside of the block wall areas and on top of the cattle panel. It's the third day the drums have all been placed and they're almost warm. By the end of next week they should be putting out a little heat, if the plastic is on by then. My squash and tomatoes had some black leaves today, though I covered them, the frost still got 'em. I picked them off, though, so the plants should be okay. That happened in April with my potato plants, they got good and frosted, but I just picked off the black leaves and the potatoes started growing again. It got down to 29 degrees here in the valley last night. I will put up some more support sticks in the squash/tomato bed (it's not in bales, just in the ground) to support plastic tonight. The sheets were touching the plants, and everywhere it touched got frost. And by the way, I'm no young whippersnapper, either, my kids are in their 20s and 30s. I do have to do things a little at a time, due to back problems and an arm I injured several years ago in a horse accident. I still dream though, and like an ant, eventually we get there if we have patience and stay the course. It takes a while to gather the materials, too, since I'm not rich, but it is what it is, as they say. I will post some more pics as the project progresses. I almost lost my moon and stars watermelons last night, they were horribly droopy when I opened the plastic on the hothouse. I brought them in and put them under a light and they're starting to perk up. Go figure...
If your kids are in their 20's -30's then your young enough to be my child . My grand kids are in their 20's and 30's . Enjoy what you can do now , cuz every day takes you a bit closer to " Can't do that anymore " I would love to hike part of the appalachian trail . Can't do that any more .
No , don't mean to discourage . Every thing she is doing , looks and sounds so good , just want her to get it done so she will have years to enjoy .
I've only been in a position the last 20 years to do the things I always wanted , and now most all that's behind me .
Pictures , pictures , pictures . And if we get back to your area again , Solace , I want to sit outside with a cup of coffee , visit an hour, and take in Gods creation of a favorite part of Colorado .
I love this country !
Thanks, Jeanette. Sally, that would be wonderful, to sit and visit with you in the cool summer shade here, sipping on coffee. Maybe by then I can get these Saskatchewan watermelons to grow, and we can eat some different kind of watermelon! I like the yellow and red, too. I love all kinds of watermelon. :) My dad's side of the family is from Georgia. His dad left and went out to West Texas, but there are still lots of cousins I've never met down there. The only time I got to go to Georgia was when a flight to North Carolina had a stop there in Atlanta. There sure are a lot of swimming pools there, I noted from the air. I think the Georgia influence is why I like a lot of foods I do.
My daddy used to buy me Black Diamond watermelon for 25 cents each . He always had a coupla cooling with toe sacks (burlap ) wetted down , under the honeysuckle vine . He would cut them and stick in fridge and I could eat all I wanted . To this day , it's my favorite treat (or, french vanilla ice cream and fresh frozen peaches .) BTW , I'm having the peaches and cream tonight . So glad D H doesn't eat sweets much . All mine .Don't know when we'll get back that way , will def . have that coffee .
Once, again, thank you, Kent. Those straw bales are amazing. Here's progress on the greenhouse - and it will be 'strewn' with bales, for sure, LOL: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1279134/
I hope to have more pics by days end, and will post them in the thread, above. Didn't want to cross-post...
Wow Solace it is really coming along great. So good. Hope you get some winter produce. Wouldn't that be cool? Can't imagine how much work it is, but yes, Sally, you and I did that much work, only in other areas maybe.
Really interested in the greenhouse Solace. That reminds me, I have an article, just loaned it to my sister, it was in my Countryside Magazine last year and it is about a woman and her husband, I am sure, that built a tropical greenhouse at 91 hundred feet in the mountains of Colorado I think it was. Do you know her? I will ask my sister for the magazine back when she is done with it and send it to you if you would like to see it and haven't. It was so interesting. She even used it to heat their house. You must have seen it. Jeanette
I would be interested in knowing who that couple is. I don't recall reading the article, but it sounds very interesting. Tropicals at 9100 feet! Amazing! I would love to read the article, Jeanette.
So far, the best inexpensive and simple greenhouse and home heating system I have found is this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a62mZMIMpc0&feature=related which is a solar heat exchange system with a tiny fan in one of the pipes. It simply takes the cold air from your floor, sends it through a series of aluminum square tubing (like downspouts), heating the air and then sending it through another pipe back into your home or greenhouse. On cold cloudy days and at night one would still have to use another heat source, but it would save a lot of money if there was lots of sunshine like here in the Southwest. I hope to get one of these built, someday, but just haven't had time.
Our hens just started laying this week, so that is exciting. Our neighbors came over and toured the greenhouse and their little granddaughter found three eggs so I gave them to them. The little girl put one in her pocket and it was all she could talk about until they left. I think she was thinking a baby chick would come out of that egg. I have a feeling that egg won't be eaten for breakfast, lol. I got a new batch of fertilizer from the coop and hopefully will be moving the compost pile inside the greenhouse. That should help a little with heating and CO2..at least I hope it will. The Moon and Stars Watermelons are going crazy under the light in the house, so not sure if I will take them out to the GH or not. It's supposed to be another very cold night tonight. I will eventually have to put some lights out there, I'm sure. Will have to build an arbor in the middle of the GH to support the hoop, for snow load, and for supporting any lights, shelves, etc. It's never-ending, I guess, but if I can get fresh tomatoes in the dead of winter, I'll be a happy camper. :) Most of the corn on the market, now, is GMO, and it's been years since I've had corn on the cob...so missing it...so I'm sure hoping the corn does well in the GH too.
Arranged to buy some organic wheat straw bales for the greenhouse at $3.50 a bale from an area farmer, which will be delivered on Monday, hopefully. Those should help keep the inside perimeter of the greenhouse warmer and provide elevated 'beds' (and sitting areas, lol). We will be moving the little hoop which will act as an entryway into the bigger hoophouse, and I will (try to) grow brussel sprouts, broccolli, cabbage, etc. in the little one with cooler temps in it. The bigger one is shaping up, and I've moved all the outside plants (after they got hit by frost, unfortunately) inside it into pots. The biggest avocado tree (7 feet) I think got hit with a little frost on the top leaves, as they are looking kinda sick - at least I hope it's that and not the new surroundings. I repotted it with compost/soil mix, so I'm hoping for the best. I also repotted the 'Cold Hardy' avocado into a 7-gallon tub and it doesn't seem to mind the new home. The three I grew from seed are looking fine, so not sure what's going on with the Haas; hope I don't lose it.
I removed all the frost damaged leaves on all the tomatoes and moved them into pots in the greenhouse and they're growing away. The Bantam corn is over a foot tall, now, Okra is about 5 inches tall, but the Moon & Stars are not liking that bed. Hope they'll snap out of it soon. The Moon & Stars melons in the house under a light are growing like crazy, so maybe the ones in the greenhouse need more light. Will have to get some soon, as daylight is waning, plus there's a pine tree that casts late afternoon shadow on the g.h. The 55 gallon drums are not hot (except for the tops) during the day, but they seem to be keeping the temps steadier at night, which is good. We had 23 degree temp the other night, and inside the g.h. it was 40, and when the sun got higher it warmed up to around 95 and I had to open the flap and vent it. When it gets below 20 that will really be the test. I have a little milk house heater with a thermostat out there, but when it gets to -30 or -40 I will probably have to be using a bigger heater. The sides of the g.h. aren't sealed yet, so I figure when the plastic is sealed, it will be much warmer at night in there. The straw bales and compost pile in there should also help, not only with temperatures, but should also add some CO2.
I mixed up some soil and planted brocolli in starter pots this evening. They're in a little makeshift mini greenhouse in the studio. I took two old bookcases, set them to face each other in front of a big window, put 2x4 board rails across them from bookcase to bookcase, covered the 2x4s with wafer board, attached a light to another 2x4 and that one spans from bookcase to bookcase on a higher shelf than the plant rails/shelf. Works great. I covered the whole thing with old sheets and put lattice panels on the front and back to keep out inquisitive mammals :)
Kent, are you folks doing okay? Haven't seen any posts, lately, and I miss hearing about your progress and pictures of your beautiful garden. I'm going to try a different kind of bale next year, and some in the greenhouse. You were a big part of the inspiration behind the garden and the greenhouse, so thank you so much! Hope you guys are well and happy.
Solace, everything sounds wonderful, but I, and I am sure everyone else, would love to see some pictures of what you are talking about. Would just love to see some.
Yes Kent, did you sell any more plants, produce, or anything?
Russ, how is Jenny doing? Is she laying a lot of eggs for your? For the rest of you, Russ, in Iowa gave me a Rhode Island Red hen, but he is just taking care of her. I think he is going to invite her to Sunday dinner one of these days, and not going to tell me. :0(
Connie, haven't heard a word about your garden and the neighbors this year. Where have you been?
I'll try to put a video together showing more of the plants inside the greenhouse, but here are some pics of the inside. Currently growing inside:
Corn, Okra, Tomatoes of various kinds, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Kentucky Wonder beans, melons, strawberries, sage, watermelon, pineapple, lemon trees, avocado trees, Zinnias, Cosmos, Sunflowers, Cilantro
I'm going to try to get some potatoes and garlic planted in there, too. The little hoop/entryway, yet to be done, will house the brocolli, cabbage, and other cold crops I have planted inside in the bookcase mini-greenhouse. If they come up, they'll be transplanted to the little hoop after a bit of time under the light.
1. Looking to the southwest corner, raised bed in the foreground
2. Looking to the northwest corner, barrels filled with water for heat to the right
3. Squash on the southeast end transplanted after it had been frost damaged (it's bouncing back from the frost and from transplanting, putting on fruit
4. Tomatoes in the southeast corner, also got frostbit, but growing fruit now, Kentucky wonder beans in the planter needed more water. My bad...
5. Indoor greenhouse made of two bookcases on each end, rails and board span shelves of each with light above and lattice (that's supposed) to keep out plant-slapping varmints like Braveheart.
By the way, I just got everything transferred from the little hoop (except the lettuce) and the house, so it needs some major neatening up in there, as well as more transplanting and another bed dug. The plastic around the wall bottoms is just being held down with boards and things around the perimeter, but even so, it's staying warm enough for the plants even with 23 degrees the other night. There's a little milk house heater set on cement blocks to knock the chill off at night. We had a thunderstorm with rain and 50 mph gusts of wind yesterday and the hoop withstood it. Blew a bunch of leaves off the trees and many landed on the hoop. Oh, and the hens are laying eggs!! They've given us over a dozen this week! :)
LOL, that is fun Solace. Really neat. What is your altitude? You have really worked in there. And putting it together too!! You are doing a good job. Better watch out, Digger, (Sally) will be there to have the coffee with you any day now. But, you guys will have to move inside the hoophouse. That would be wonderful.
We have a worldwide radio ministry based here, with two stations (Solace Radio and Solace Radio 101), and the network will be celebrating a 7-year anniversary next month. My how time flies... My family moved to this valley when I was 16. I moved away and lived in New Mexico and Texas for 20 years, and had a chance to come back and work in newspaper, so I came home. After leaving the paper, I worked in radio again for someone else, then started my own internet radio station that grew into the network and two stations that have reached 120 countries with over 1,000,000 listening hours that listeners tuned in. Solace Gardens is part of the ministry, with a local outreach. Still trying to decide whether to try to provide food to those in need, or to build hoop houses for them and teach them how to grow their own. Maybe both. At least that's my plan, unless the Lord has other ideas.
Solace , you have a full life , and sounds sooooo rewarding .
I may never get that way again but certain if I do will go away with a valued friend .
Jnette mentioned Russ and Barb . We were so fortunate to spend a few days with them , camped out on the Arkansas river. I may never see them again , but have wonderful memories of wonderful friends . And some pictures .
I have a friend that lives up near Salida on the Arkansas River. It's very nice up there, and that's a beautiful river I think. I live a couple of miles (as a crow flies) from the Rio Grande. Haven't been able to go fishing this year, though...drats! Been too busy and lots of back pain this summer/fall - the aspirin companies must love me. You are welcome anytime Sally and Jeanette. I never seem to get out of this valley to go anywhere, so I know how it can be, finding time to travel. I have radio-, animals-, and garden-tending that pretty much ties me down...
Solace. YOU ARE STUCK. LOL, That is the same way we are. Animals and gardening do tie you down. So, you either go all out and have a lot of both, or none of the above. We don't have the radio.
Well, a lot to do today. The weatherman is calling for snow this weekend or early next week. The ground is not cold enough for it to stick, but getting there. Must get things taken care of before. ttyl
I peeked out the door at the thermometer a few minutes ago. 12 degrees. Sure hoping the plants in the greenhouse are okay. There are now strawbales next to the outside 'walls' of the greenhouse, which has cut down on wind leaks through the plastic sides. Still needs a little bit of air leak proofing, though. Don't have a door up, yet, so will wait until it warms up a little, and the sun climbs higher, to go open the side to check it out. It has sustained 50 mph winds so far, but that's nothing to what the east coast of the U.S. is receiving over the next few days. I pray for those folks' safety. I hope all is well with you all, wherever you are in Straw-bale-dom.
It was 12 this morning, but the wind was a few days ago. Wind this morning is about 3 mph. I have a little milk house heater and an oscillating fan that both run (heater on high, fan on low) at night. I just went in and it's around 70 degrees in there now from the sun. I had turned the heater down two hours ago. The only thing unhappy in there is the large avocado tree, but it was transplanted into a bigger pot when I moved it in there. My son thinks it's a touch of frost from being so close to the plastic in the little hoop it was moved from. It also could be too much sun in the greenhouse, as it had the shade of the stack of two straw bales in the little hoop on its trunk. Persnickity plant. I hope I can get a remote thermometer someday for the GH. The corn, squash, tomatoes, beans, and other things are doing well. I did get a jug of yeast/sugar/water going to add a little Co2 in there. It's a'brewin'.
Solace, what is the yeast/sugar/water concoction for? Do you water the plants with it or what? How much of each? Interesting. I have never heard of that.
Those are very good temps.
Does that little heater do much to your light bill? The remote thermometers don't really cost that much and you can get them with more than one remote so you could put one in the hh and one in the gh. That would be very interesting. And some of them you can set so they will let you know what the coldest and hottest it gets in them at night, but you have to clear them each morning or evening I think. They are really very nice. But there are always priorities.
Jen, I put about one and a half cups of sugar in a big soda bottle, along with several tablespoons of active yeast and filled it 3/4 of the rest of the way with slightly warm water, put the top on, put it in the greenhouse and let it ferment for a day. I took the top off and put the bottle in front of the fan so it could disperse Co2 that that mixture creates. It's supposed to help plants grow faster, and one thing I've noticed on the third day with the bottle in there with the cap slightly open most of the day, is the flowers have just burst into bloom, and some things seem like they're already growing faster. Hard to believe, though, that Co2 would cause that so soon. I don't think the plants were getting enough Co2 with the greenhouse all closed up due to cold weather. I open the side and pin the plastic up with clothes pins from about 10:30 in the morning until about 2:30 in the afternoon, with the fan running. The heater only runs late afternoon and at night. The temperature last night was around 15.
1. Cosmos transplanted after frost into ground of greenhouse
2. Sage and Cilantro
3. Cosmos and corn in raised bed (cosmos is in the holes of the cement blocks)
4. Squash formerly known as outside-and-frozen-squash, transplanted into pots
5. Wide shot of the southwest corner of greenhouse- foreground is the bottle of yeast mixture, zinnias in the block, avocado from seed in the black pot with Bantam corn behind it. Background (yes, I did manage to get the picnic table in there, lol) on the table are yellow pear tomatoes, a 'hottest pepper in the world' plant gift from my son and on the right more avocado trees and tomatoes. More avocados on the blocks in the foreground and lettuce in the big container.
The elevation is 7,665 here in the valley. The mountains east of here have a little bit of snow, but the rest of them have received dustings, but nothing that stayed, and nothing, yet, here in the valley. It's pretty dry here right now. I go in and do spot watering during the week, then drench everything once a week. I have some Smoke Signals (Indian corn) popcorn seedlings I need to find a place for in the GH, and a bunch of garlic yet to plant. With that garlic disease a potential problem in some areas, I may just plant my own garlic (from this year's harvest) inside the greenhouse, and the other garlic in an isolated place outside on the property perimeter. SeedSavers.org had a notice about the disease, but not sure if it's isolated or will be a big problem. I have no idea where I'll plant potatoes, but am saving a big container for the sweet potatoes (about 8 slips, looks like). Thank you, Jeanette. I love seeing everyone's pictures, too. I added some old calcium citrate tablets that were expired in the vitamin collection, epsom salts, and compost to the raised bed before planting anything, plus into the container mixtures. There's some Happy Frog soil conditioner from last year's potato bed that I also added in to give the sandy soil some 'body'. So far the Lord has blessed this project, so all the credit goes to Him.
Thank you, Jeanette. Here's a pic of the outside of the south side of the GH, lined with the strawbales I used this summer, moved to the current location, along with short logs around them (thanks to Eric for the muscle work needed here). Pic taken at 11:30 am. The forecast is looking grim, this weekend.
1. Straw bales recycled (will plant garlic in topsoil that I'll pile on top of the bales), will have to find a place inside the GH or house for things that will go in those pots.
2. Grim forecast for Sun. night...argh...
The forecast says there'll be a foot of snow just west of here at Wolf Creek Pass area in the San Juan Mountains (I am near the San Juan range foothills), so we could get either a dusting or 6 to 8 inches. I don't have the arbor support in the GH yet, so will maybe put a tarp over the top of the hoop, sweep off the snow, if possible, or aim the heater up so it will melt as it falls. Not looking forward to this weekend. Trying to get some more hay around the chicken coop so my babies don't get cold when the temp reaches 2 degrees. I'll also load the floors of the greenhouse and coop with wood shavings I got yesterday. Winter's coming quickly. South Texas sounds really good right now, Sally!
Wow would think you would have snow by now Solace. We might get some Monday and Tuesday and we are really low. I really dread it. More since I am in the middle of possible surgery, and many testing etc. and we have to drive a hundred miles for all. They do not seem to try to make it easy either. We will make it tho. Despite them. :0) jeanette
Haven't seen that tunnel . Don't remember the sheer cliff on the right .Wonder where they put the traffic while they were building it . Must have cut a new road and routed traffic onto it when it was finished .
Happy New Year Kent and fellow gardeners. I'm stocked up on organic wheat bales for Spring and will start some tomato plants inside soon from seed. Can't wait to plant the yellow Brandywines. May the Lord richly bless your gardens this coming year, "...A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." a (Luke 6:38) scripture that aptly could be applied to all the helpful gardeners here who take the time to assist others in having a bountiful harvest. Such a wonderful group of people. Many blessings in 2013.
I'm new to this forum. The GH forum directed me over here. From what I've been reading though, I'm wondering if the bales would be too "hot" for gardening in FL in the summer? Might be OK for my winter crops? And comments/info will be appreciated.
I experimented a bit with winter gardening this year and regret I did not start some tomato plants to carry me thru the winter.
I didn't get my garlic in the ground, last Fall, as I had planned, and was awaiting the thaw to plant those in bales that hug the south side of the greenhouse. Not sure if the garlic will do any good, waiting until almost spring to plant, but it's better to try than not try. Lo and behold, it snowed again, today. The sun is shining now, though, so soon, I hope. I plan to grow flowers on the outside edge of the bales, or maybe even squash or something, alond with the garlic. I don't have the hydroponics set up yet, so went ahead and seeded some yellow Brandywines and Amish Paste today. I've had a lot of back pain for the last couple of weeks, probably from lifting wrong or something, and the aspirin and acetaminophen help a bit but not enough, so it got my mind off of the pain for a while. I sterilized some soil from the raised bed in the greenhouse, put the lid on it to let it cool down for two or three days, and when I lifted the lid of the roaster, looks like little tomato seedlings came up. I transplanted those, lol. So much for sterilizing, huh? May the Lord's kind hand coax sunshine, gentle rain, and warm weather your way and help you get your gardens going strong this year.
Well, I am sure I am still a month away from starting seeds in the house. But looking forward to it. I cleaned up my houseplants and the geraniums etc. that I had wintered over, and they all look real good. But, it put me in the mood for spring and then I look out and see nothing but white snow. Darn!!
One of these days. However, I am going to get my begonias out of the pantry and clean them up and give them some fresh soil, get them going. There really are things starting to look up. Change of Daylight Savings this Sunday I read today.
Didn't have a freeze here in Texas this winter so hyacinth beans are still blooming .Have two , for sure , limes on a tree that I got at roundup year before last from Wholly hosta (Brenda ) or her D I L.
Had catfish for dinner tonight , Jnette . Didn't catch them , bought 'em at HEB , a local Texas chain .Made tarter sauce , had F Fries . I ate three pieces fish and am stuffed like a tick .
Hey Sally, what is it, about another month and then " on the road again," to Georgia?? I'm about to start breaking the ice on the river and try catching a few catfish. Had a couple the other night, I found in the freezer but I think that is it till I catch more. Last fall I had a couple limb lines broke, gonna try that same spot this spring, hopefully before the river gets up. They should have stayed in that hole for the winter.
Think I'll just buy tomato plants this spring instead of trying to starting them myself. Barb's brother usually starts quite a variety for his greenhouse business.
Yep , another month . All this packing is getting old . The fridg and freezer is the biggest pain .Don't think I'll take much of other things back .
How is Barb doing ? I sure miss you guys . Didn't we have fun .
Sally, did you deep fry the cats or panfry them? Those sound good. I bought a quart of extra small oysters at Costco today. They are from the West Coast over here. Love them. I normally panfry them, but love them deep fried. Bob likes them best panfried. Sooooooo. We were going to ice fish in Idaho last weekend the Fish and Wilflife was going to hold a class or something, but the ice was too thin. It is thin over here also.
Russ, have you had that little car out? I haven't heard anything about it lately.
Jnette , if fish isn't deep fried , it isn't fish . Of course that doesn't include salmon or the dried , smoked fish . I love that too . As for oysters , I like them fresh , shucked and raw the best .Fried is ok too , just a second with me . I make oyster stew with just butter , milk ,oysters , juice from them and NO potatoes or other fillers .We have the oyster boats dredging now in the bays . They are processed local , here in Rockport . Need to buy a sack off a boat , much cheaper to shuck too . Our largest processor is charging 9.95 for a pint , shucked .That isn't solid packed , drain the juice off and you're lucky to have a cupful , so it's half juice .
Yeah , Russ , post us a picture of the car and tell us if it's stick , auto , gas mileage , so on .
Wow! that's expensive. Costco charges $12.49 per quart and they are local. Yes, they are best raw if you can get them right off the beach. Our limit here is 18 oysters per person per day. If you were to go over to do that, even from Seattle, those would be mighty expensive oysters. That even counts any you eat on the beach. They all count in your 18. AND you have to leave the shells on the beach at the same tide level you took them from. Don't know how they would know where you got them, but it is to all to do whatever it takes to keep the oysters producing.
Oh, sorry forgot to post. Yes finally was able to get my license
up graded to include motorcycle. IDOT, just wasn't sure how to do the driving test. but got that done and have driven the little buggy down town, ( to the Barn) also to the town 10 miles south of here a couple times. also drove it around the old road to test it on some of the hills.
I will say that it will do great for local use, I would even say good for a hundred mile road trip but could get a little cramped after that. I have only had it up to 55 and that is fast enough for around here. The speedometer is red lined at 50 but does go up to 70.
The odometer now has 112 miles on it and I squeezed a gallon and a half back in the tank.
I am sure we will get along with it just fine. Sally you know about how tall I am. I had to lengthen the distance the drivers seat would slide back so my knees wouldn't be against the dash. So short legged people only, could set behind me in the back seat.LOL
But as I said it will do for us and make the gas station stops less painful. I do notice a lot of heads turn to stare but they will get used to seeing the little red three wheeler.
Sally I think Barbs eyes are considerably worse than when we had our camping trip. Also she is a little less active. I'm hoping that this spring I can get her out more an walk along the river banks and in the timber looking for mushrooms, even if I have to walk slower. I don't know how well she will be able to see mushrooms but if she is trying, we will be out there together. She can still read if she has good bright light and magnifying glasses. I got her a lighted magnifying glass to help her with some of that. I won't make a venture as to how long but it seems to me that getting the shots is only prolonging the inevitable.
Appreciate all prayers and concerns. Sally I'll have to Email the picture as it isn't in jpeg size But you can go here and see some
edit to say click on the red 3 wheel car.
DRuss, I am so sosrry to hear about Barb's eyes. Does she take the Preservision vitamins? I know when I had my surgery and they told me that I had MD they told me to never go without the Bausch and Lomb Preservision vitamins with Leutein instead of Vitamin A.
What are the shots she is on? When I had my eyes checked yesterday, my left eye seemed to be worse than before.
Love the little car. Bet you do too at the gas pumps. :0)
Be sure to check on audible books for Barb. You can get them at the libraries now. Jeanette
Durn , Russ , that has to be hard on Barb's outlook . You're a sweetie to work with her and keep her going . When my dad lost his sight to diabetes , it took him a long time to adjust to that fact . He never accepted it .Give her hugs for me.
Where did you get the "runt "? I googled it and I'd like to have one , be great for running around like I do .Does yours have the one wheel in the back or front ? It shows them both ways . If it's in the front , how easy is it to steer , looks like the two wheels in front would be more stable . I'm tickled for you saving the gas but you can't pull your travel trailer with it . LOL. Maybe you can just load it in the trailer . Hugs .
Jnette , we need one of those .
Yes she takes the preservision tabs and sees the eye Dr. every 6 weeks. Doing so has gotten rid of the large grey area in the center of her vision but her right eye was advanced to where it has a distorted area. We are hoping to keep it from advancing any farther but it is not going to be a cakewalk.
No I don't think it could pull the camper If I had long ramps might be able to carry it on the camper. ha ha ha. It has a single wheel up front. I have no problem with turns, as I always slow down anyway. Most people around here are amazed that it has 4 doors and seats 4 adults.Our monthly gas bill was the real driving factor for going that small. I still have the van and the S10, so If I really need to I can still get out in bad weather. Like 4 or 5 " of snow. but having a mini car body, rain won't be a factor in making us stay home.
Well back to garden planning. lol
Digger; No dealer close, Was internet purchase. gas prices was main incentive. I was probably the first in the county, maybe even in the state to register one. They didn't have it in the computers yet, so I had to have it inspected for all the safety equipment and the inspector had to let them know how to register and license it. $25.00 plate fee for motorcycle. up to 70mpg. my van that normally gets 13mpg has 38000 miles on it the S10 that ranges between 17 to 25 mpg has 335000 miles on it Our car that only had 200000 on it laid down on us and I couldn't afford to repair it. so it is going to the salvage yard and I'm spending what it would have cost on the motorcycle car and saving money on gas. Will it reach 300,000 miles? I don't know but at $4.00 a gal. like the oil companies are trying to get I needed to do something, besides cry about it.
Russ, rather than send it to salvage, which you may have to pay for the towing, why don't you donate it to the blind. They will sell it for parts or salvage. But, they will take it off your hands. I have given them 3 or 4 cars now. I even got a receipt for $800 on a jeep they had sold at auction, for my taxes. J
Yeah , Jnette , that's the drawback of donating in your name , it doesn't do you any good for taxes unless you itemize . As it is now , getting everything back is as good as you get . I will consider in the future , donating in one of the kids name that can get benefit out of it .
Are you going to do bales this year ?
Russ , does that "Runt" have a regular steering wheel and clutch , ?
Solace; Birthday was fine, it's this snow that I didn't need. lol
I'm kind of easy going though so I will take it in stride.
The only real disadvantage is that I spent yesterday baking cinnamon rolls and cookies for fellowship after church today and church was canceled due to the storm. I don't want Barb and myself to have to eat all of them.
I can take some to our local coffee shop and if the storm lets up I may be able to take the rest to our Lunch bunch tomorrow. wouldn't be so bad except the first batch didn't turn out nice and were " a flop" so I baked a second batch so I would have great looking cinnamon rolls. So I have twice as many.
Digger; Wish we could get together so you could test drive my little buggy. before you made the decision to buy one. the ST600C which is what I have, don't do hills very well. After the fact I would now go for the Wildfire 650. it has just a little more power and I believe would take these hills without having to downshift as often. It also boasts of up to 70 mpg. You can look it up just by typing in that model .
I tried asking about the difference but didn't get a response.
An attempt to put the power in perspective would be to imagine adding 1,000lbs to a 600cc dirt bike. ( power wise that is) I say that about it but still like it for the fuel economy.
It sure turns a lot of heads. Took it to town Friday had quite a few stop and ask about it and several people took pictures.
I have decided to do a corn experiment combining straw bales with hydroponics. I will top some bales with a foot of perlite/vermiculite (and maybe a little soil or compost) and see if the roots will grow down into the bales. Bales plus the vermiculite mix will provide good drainage, I think. Corn loves calcium, too, so I will save my hens' eggshells to blend up and add to the corn bale-bed, instead of putting them all into the compost pile, and I'll feed with the hydroponics liquid fertilizer I have for the indoor Dutch bucket system. That's all in my head, right now, awaiting a little warmer weather out in the greenhouse. There's snow on top of it, now, as it snowed an inch or so yesterday and last night. Getting tired of the dreary days and I'm ready for Spring! I already did some cleaning out of old plant leaves/stems this week, as much as I could do with my back the way it is, and did some mental planning where the beds will go and leaving space for the rocket mass heater next fall in the center. I plan to go to the local second hand store and see if I can find some wire closet racks for shelving. So much to do, sigh...
Sounds like quite a project with the perlite and all but we can't all be blessed with good soil. I have found that bales work but with the drought and all the bales are out of my reach so I'm bound to weeding I guess. Although I am planning to set up some tubs and run my pond water through them for some tomatoes and cukes but the sweet corn will be in the ground. If the Toms and cukes do well I will expand that to more tubs and tanks for squash and maybe even try it for beans.
This snow storm has pushed aside any garden prep plans for the time being. It rained most of last night, turned into snow very early morning and now is snowing and blowing, they pulled the plows off the roads at noon. The interstate is blocked south of here and the storm has refused to move out of the area. Weather man has set the clearing time back 4 times already. The latest is now midnight. I might not be able to get out my drive way tomorrow. Might have to wait for spring thaw. Not really, I'm fairly sure somebody will clear it out for me.
I'm not shoveling that much any more. And I didn't get the snowblower mounted this winter, so my fault, Oh well.
No Digger, don't think I will start any new bales. I think I am going to try my tomatoes in E-buckets this year, and I have some alfalfa bales 2 years old now if they have any substance to them I might stick a couple plants in them. They were pretty solid last fall. Don't know why.
Connie Peek and I have an agreement to try the E-buckets. LOL, I got her started gardening with some seeds a couple years ago, actually several years ago, and she never looked back. She is doing great.
Connie, have you started getting your things together for your buckets? I have been talking about it. As far as I got.
Russ , that might not work too well in the mountains where I live . I'm looking at several different types cars . The Smart car is too expensive but has a good history ,only a two seat-er and the diesel is only sold in Canada . Will just keep looking at different models , and will check out the 650 .
Jeanette: It has to do with the emissions and government control. and the left don't agree with the right. It's that simple. I am certain their diesel engine don't put out any more emissions than any of our big V8 diesel engines that were in chevys and fords. Personally I believe the control thing. Too many cars that don't use enough fuel means less tax revenue. The hype that all cars will have to get 50 mpg was only a smoke screen to get votes. That same line has been used by at least three president elects Just different mpg values.
Thanks for jumping in there , Russ . I couldn't explain it that well . I met a couple last year that had a gas and a diesel . They told me about it . You buy it there and can bring it in USA then . Just can't buy it here .
If it isn't in the computer system now It has to be inspected by DOT before it can be licensed. They may have them banned and therefor you could still be out of luck. I saw a 2 cylinder engine that would develop 300hp. they had plans to put in small pickups. It was expected to get 100mpg. I guess now their plan is to try use it on generators. it is called the
OPOC It is of the box engine design. If I could get hold of one I would adapt it to my pickup myself. It has a very weird connecting rod setup.
Sally; another vehicle that is supposed to come out this year Is a very little Volkswagon called the UP, with just two cylinders. It is also considered a mettro car. they are also working on a 4 cyl that shuts down to 2 when running free, like on the flat or down hill.
It will be sky high , Russ , but I'll look at the Volk. I had one and loved it , years ago . I have an '83 Ford that has 130,000 miles . Six cyl . Just put a set of tires on it . I should just be happy with it . Still has orig . paint and looks pretty good . The dash cover has cracked but otherwise , is nice inside .
I like the pontoon idea Maybe a couple on the side of a pickup with a rudder and a couple of proppellers attached to the 4 wheel drive transmission .Placed under the bed.. Super Motor Trucks !!!LOL
Might be able to carry the pontoons like a ladder drop down thing !!lol
juhur, why not put a fifth wheel on that and tow a camper/houseboat on the back. 'Course you'd have to disconnect the hitch if you wanted to take off that lake in flight. That would be a redneck yacht, for sure. But an expensive ultra-uber 007-like one.
Our last frost date was March 15th, so I'm pretty much planted up and growing. This is my first year trying the SBG method in addition to my Square Foot Garden raised beds. I'll see if I can post some pictures to show where i am right now.
Audrey; Sure is good to see some garden plants growing. Our ground is still frozen and I see a lot of brown lawn. Some of the last snow drifts still remain but another three weeks should be good for all the tender plants.
We usually plant our potatoes as close to good friday as possible. Not sure the frost will be gone by then. Sure can hope though.
Thanks for the pics
Jnette; those are potatoes. They were planted about 12" down and have already come up all the way through the bale. Potatoes are supposed to be the easiest thing to grow in straw bales and very labor saving. The bales next to them are planted with purple bush beans in the front and Kentucky wonder pole beans in the back. The pole beans will be able to run across the top of the potatoes as well. They just popped their heads this morning.
This is what I was told by the Author of Straw Bale Gardens - Joel Karsten. He said that you plant them about 12" deep to 14" deep in the bales. Mine were really tight so I simple tore out straw to be able to get down as deep as possible. Then I placed some compost and manure mix into the hole, tucked my potatoes in and covered the rest with the compost/manure mixture and put the loose straw on top of the opening.
What he said would happen is that the shoots would work their way up to the surface and that without any hilling, the potatoes will grow off of the stems in the bales. When you're done, you just kick over the bales, cut the strings and the potatoes fall out. My bales are really nice ones that could give me another year of use, so I'm going to try and figure out if I can get at them without destroying the bale. If I could harvest them from the bottom or the sides and the potatoes could stay in the bale, I wonder if they would stay fresh longer? We don't get any hard frosts until late November usually.
They're supposed to come out really clean and if you cure them for 2 weeks then wrap them in brown paper they're supposed to keep a long time.
I will be interested in hearing how this turns out. I have grown potatoes in 2nd year bales. After this first year your bales should be about half the size of a new one due to internal breaking down and composting. Next year you should have a nice consistency to grow another batch of potatoes in. I always cut the strings in the 2nd year bales so I can spread it around better or pile it on another 2nd year bale. It will be interesting to see which potatoes do better for you. I usually have to put two old bales together to get the equivalent of one new one the next year. But they break down into the most wonderful compost which is great to grow things in again or spread around the garden for compost-mulch. Good luck with your experiment and keep us posted on how it goes!!
Years ago my daughter dug a trench, laid her potato starts in it and covered it with straw. Took care of it, watering, etc. just like a regular garden, and then when the potatoes were ready, she would just go out and pull the straw back and pick out as many as we needed for dinner. They were nice and clean, didn't need any digging, no dirt on them etc. Seems like a much easier way to go to me.
Leaving the rest and just getting what we needed at the time, we always had fresh potatoes.
Well my dears. it's been a couple of years, and now we've bought a house in old San Jose, CA! We have five bales set up since last September, and have been eating greens out of our new straw bale garden since Thanksgiving already. What passes for Winter here is time to grow greens, and so we do. Just plunked our first tomato starts in, and lan to get a few more bales started for potatoes & cucurbitae. We had great success with potatoes in bales in Redwood City.
I've missed you, and look forward to reading what folks are growing in their bales!
Well...I am new here and have been slowly reading all the parts/chapters. I am only up to Part 15 but thought I'd speak up.
I have 45 strawbales curing in my garden. They are about about 50/50 wheat and oat. I am using lawn fertilizer because I am having a dickens of a time getting urea, amomium nitrate, etc. All the lawn fertilizers have a percentage of slow release nitrogen so I selected the lowest percentage slow release with the highest amount of free nitrogen I could find. I figure it will work just fine. Any thoughts??
I am going to be planting potatoes and corn in some of the bales. The corn is Glass Gem which is not a super tall corn. I am going to start it in newspaper pots then transplant into the bales. I figure I have a month before I will be putting them out so the bales should be well composted. When I do plant the corn, I am planninng on digging a fairly deep 'hole' in the straw so the green tops barely shoot out of the top of the bale. Hopefully this will help to anchor them in the bales. My plan is to use wire and string strung longwise and deep from the corner posts to create smaller squares to lend support to the corn stalks in my 8 bale square. Has anyone tried this before? How many plants per bale should I be shooting for?
I have yet to find much on potatoes in straw bales. Any quick suggestions?
Most importantly, I want to thank everyone on the forum for being so generous with their information. It has been wonderful to be able to start out with such excellent advise. Hopefully I can add my 2 cents once I have the experience.
As far as the corn goes, I would think 3 to a bale would be pretty good since they do pollinate each other. I never would have thought of planting potatoes, but Ru knows what she is doing. What do you do then, pull the bale apart to harvest? Would be cool.
I have heard others say the problem they had with the corn in the bales was wind blowing them over. Think they ended up putting a stake thru the bale and into the ground. Don't quite remember.
Connie, have you gotten your buckets together? Connie and I decided last year that besides the stawbales, we were going to try some earth-buckets. Will let you know how we do.
Pat, haven't had any experience with that particular corn but it being shorter the wind may not be too much of a problem. but we will all be interested. I had good luck with squash, peppers and tomatoes in bales. but have not tried corn.
Digger, I already have the cursed pellitized stuff but today while I was out watering bales, it struck me, I am going to the thrift store ASAP to get a blender and pulverize those pellets! That ought to take care of those slow release blue pellets real quick!
Jnette and randbponder, the corn is from nativeseeds.org and they are absolute beauties. The seeds look like stained glass and are heirloom. Native seeds may still have a few packets. This year, I will have no corn within several miles so really want to get these seeds in. My itty bitty corn plot is 8 bales, 6 of which are setup in a square. The other 2 bales are going to be wired to the fence. The little white stakes are just thrown over rebar so no one runs into them. I can just pull the white posts out and put some old aluminum tent poles on the rebar in order to put up high panels.
I think I've downloaded picts of my straw bales, which are heating up!
I'm only up to part 16 in my strawbale reading and have to say, you guys are my idols! WOW! You guys have really done wonders!
Thank you Jnette! In all honesty, I have to attribute what I am doing to you and everyone else here.
Has anyone used worm castings in their bales? This weekend DH and I shoveled and sifted about 50 gallons of worm poo. I only sift with a 1/4" screen so technically it is called worm compost. Worm castings are sifted much finer. I like the 1/4" sift much better because it still contains little bits of leaves and partially digested stuff in it and that keeps the good bacteria very active and alive for quite sometime. The worm castings you see in stores have all that stuff sifted out and makes it easier to package but it isn't as biologically active. I am planning on using it in worm tea to feed my garden. It is high on P and K but very limited in N so I will be adding a bit of bloodmeal for the tea in order to get the N up where it should be. But I won't mix it in until I am ready to put it in the tea. I will also be adding a little bit of ag lime to help with BER. Enough of what I plan on doing because who really knows if it is going to work! As always, I have worm poo coming out my ears! Does anyone want to try any? You would think I could sell this stuff but since I don't sift it fine, people just don't know what to do with it!
Gosh yes Pat. I bought 10 bags from the local feed store last year for $1.89 each. Not very big ones either. She said she gets them from a local fellow who has worm beds. Have you checked that? Selling to someone like that? I think it would be better to have the stuff you have than the castings.
I don't know how much is in these bags because they are pretty damp so paying for water too. I have never used them before, just dumping them on certain plants. What would be the best way you would suggest for me to use them?
Well, I'm officially amazed. I planted some Kentucky Wonder beans in soil/compost mixture (because I was out of vermiculite/perlite at the time) and kept giving it just drips of water over a week's time. Mold began and covered each cups soil surface. I almost threw them out, but then I remembered an article that ran on DG about cinnamon's damping off prevention ability. I had nothing to lose at that point, with all that mold growing, so I sprinkled cinnamon heavily on the tops of each cup of soil and continued to water normally. After a few days, I gently stirred the very top of the soil, to break any hardened area the cinnamon might have formed (since I had used a lot of it). The mold disappeared after a few days as sprouts began to emerge, and I now have 27 happy healthy Kentucky Wonder bean plants!
LOL. Last frost date is June 15 or so. Most will be moved, hopefully if we can get a small hothouse put up, out to get more sun. If it's big enough, I will just leave them to grow in the hothouse - planning for a cattle panel one that's 8x16 (6' high) covered in a sheltered-from-the-wind location. The plastic's gone from the big hoophouse, so beneath the hoops will be an outdoor garden. Some good soil in there. I may put a plastic low cover over those, as night's can be chilly even in summer here, not to mention all the gunk they spray in the skies all the time that can affect plants. You usually need a sweater at night here.
Digger, I do hot composting because I have access to manure (nitrogen just like bale conditioning) Since I live in the woods, I have plenty of leaves so that goes in. Once it cools down, I feed my worms. It's funny though because there's already worms living in the cool parts of the compost before I even get it to the worm bins. I let the worms have it for at least one year but usually it's two years before I get around to harvesting.
Jnette, be careful because too much will stunt growth. There's been research done on that. This is one area where more isn't better. If the stuff you have is wet, it is probably very active. If you use it in your bales and gardens, just sprinkle it on the soil. A little bit goes a long way. I prefer using it in aerated tea. It's real easy to do especially if you don't have fields of plants. I have 2 plastic pitchers, an aquarium air pump, some tubing and bubblers. You just need to get air bubbling up through the water. Take a knee high nylon and put a handful of worm poo in with about 1/4 the amount in blood meal, alfalfa or other nitrogen source and a sprinkle of lime. Tie it up and put in a pitcher. Add some unsulphered molasses to the water and you're ready to bubble away! Let it bubble for 3-4 days or so then put in it an inline irrigation system or hose end sprayer. You can probably top off the pitcher 2 or three more times. I've always run soaker hoses in my garden and found I could use the hose end sprayer from Tractor Supply as an inline system because the sprayer head unscrews and can be connected to another hose. To be honest, I don't know what the addition of nitrogen in the tea would do as a foliar spray. It may burn the plants. And another thought, I do use lots of leaves in my worm dirt so I need to add the lime because it is typically more acidic than the average worm castings that you buy.
From my strawbale reading, I am thinking of getting some of the Mittleider nutrients and adding to my worm compost. I just don't know how much I would need to add. As active as worm dirt is, I imagine it wouldn't be much at all.
In order to sell the stuff I would have to sift it finer and believe me, it isn't fun.
Solace, thank you. I am going to remember the cinnamon trick!
Jeanette, here (1) are the first beans I planted, Romano, growing in the indoor set apart area. If I had a string for them to climb above the wire trellis, they'd already reach the top of the window, LOL. They will stay inside, but many other beans must go. I have lots of transplanting to do (2) with many tomatoes already transplanted into individual cups - From 2010, 2011, 2012 seeds (I didn't think the germination rate would be as good as it was and my daughter is going to get a lot of plants for her garden, I suspect). I've already gone double-decker on this shelf, but need to move the tall plants up and get another light for them, after transplant. In (3) the south window, the corn is going strong and there are tomatoes, eggplant, beans, melons, and space required the little avocado tree to share some of its space, but it's not complaining. The Pineapple plant is also sharing some of its pot space with seedlings in cups. I think I need to have a transplanting party. Pic 4 shows my helper, KNOT! Baby of Jake, about 8 week old blue and red heeler mix. He likes untying my garden shoe laces. Double knots are now the order of the day. I've lost four big leaves off my Hass avocado due to Cecil B de Kitty's break-ins to the little gh area. Must get a real door up on that thing, soon. He sent a dish of avocado seeds in little pots flying through the air yesterday, making a whopping mess. He knew he was in trouble. He skedaddled and all you could see was an orange flash leaving the area. Sigh...I need it to warm up soon and the wind to quit blowing 75 miles an hour. I have all of this year's seeds, yet to break into...including flowers.
OMG Solace, you got a pup in the middle of winter???? We did that last year and potty training was impossible. No way did she want to go outdoors. Never entered our heads when we got her. The snow was too deep for her. Almost that this year. Fortunately Bob had a blade on his 4 wheeler so he could clear a big place for her to do her business, plus for a while she would chase the tennis ball. But not for long.
Your plants are going crazy. What happened to the plastic on the hh? 75 mph winds??? Is that what happened to it?
Pat, I was going to put the worm castings on my perennials, roses, Elderberry, daylilies, etc. NO???? Let me know, since I was just waiting for the weather to quit raining to do it. Thanks,
Jeanette, one afternoon we had wind gusts up to 100 mph with a steady wind of 70. Then a whirlwind caught an edge and ripped part of the end off, and the thing started ballooning like a sailing ship and lifting up the panels, broke a few nails holding the cattle panels to the boards... so decided to take it all off, despite the wind, and at least keep the hoop from going sailing or breaking the windows on the house. That was an awful windstorm coming down off the mountains. Horrible. It's a shell of its former self, but at least it's still standing. I'm thinking of building a wooden structure and using solex panels on it. Surround it with hay so it cuts the wind (it's right where there's a lot of wind, and even the big trees don't stop it, but I'm limited on sunny places to put one.)
Baby of Jake is okay, as long as I take him out a few minutes after he eats or drinks, and if he sniffs the floor, he goes for a walk. I have a pen for him outside with a nice doghouse, but the wind has been so awful, he's not been able to use it yet. It's under a big tree, and I don't want a big limb to come crashing down on him, so waiting for things to calm down and warm up. He sleeps in the bed and torments Fluff Muffin (cat) but he's never had an accident in the bed. He's already learned to paw the door to go out. Smart little bugger.
Thanks Pat. I have never used it before. Will have to see how my plants did over the winter. Hopefully I didn't kill them. I only used it on a couple. Unfortunately, one was a new one that I put in last year and it may not have been established enough for it. We'll see.
I got hay bales yesterday for 3.00 each . They will have them every year because they line the groung with them then stack the new bales on top for sale . This is at a farm store . Also can get amomium nitrate in Ga . Won't sell it in Texas .
I had pretty good results the year I did straw bales, but now that my health is failing, I may need to do more of it.
My biggest problem was what I never planted that grew out of the bales. The wheat we grew in this country before the 1960's was TALL so wheat straw had few seed heads. Now we grow a 24" tall wheat and the straw is filled with short seed heads.
Got eight Beef Steak in my bales this morning . Boy , the bales that got to 120° are practically fully composted in the centers . The others only got to 105 -115°. I have never gotten that much heat out of any of them .
It is a sunny day finally and I was able to get a pict of the asparagus coming out of a strawbale. This is a volunteer...kinda. I had bought root last year and by the time I planted, most where dead. I didn't think any survived so the area became part of my strawbale garden. Lo and behold, look what came through the strawbale! I guess all that conditioning with nitrogen made the asparagus happy campers!
Hey, I got out and played in the dirt " so to speak" the other day Even put in a few seeds,
Then it started to rain, sleet, and snow. Needless to say it's going to be a couple good days before I can get back in the garden. My Apricot trees were in full bloom. the temp got down to freezing.
Not sure if the temp was there long enough to stop them from setting fruit again this year. By midnight the temp was back up to 36 so got my fingers crossed. Don't think it bothered the seeds I planted though, as I hadn't watered them so they couldn't have even started to sprout.
Found 3 good asparagus sprouts today, so getting my hopes up that spring may actually be here now.
I know some of you have put seeds into bales. Do you use the soil-less starter, or garden soil on top of the bale then on top of the seeds? Then water them? Do birds get your seeds? I never started my seeds in my little peat pots and toilet paper tubes in the house. All the stuff is still laid out on the table to start, but has been out there for 2 months now, jeezo, peezo.
Russ , how big do your apricots get ? Do the trees big enough to climb up in ? A friend , years ago had trees and I climbed up in them to harvest . What variety are they ? I'd like to try a coupla trees here or in Texas .
Funny , I was just sitting on the porch with my coffee , thinking 'bout you and Barb .
When I was a kid, we had a big cherry orchard and I used to hang out in the cherry trees and eat sour cherries til I almost burst. One of my fondest memories. I hope to have some cherry trees some day. My mother was a great cook, too, so we had lots of cherry cobbler and cherry ice cream. Cherries are healthy to eat, also. I could just see you up in an apricot tree, Sally. If it were me, I might be able to get up there, somehow, but I'd be like my cat Braveheart and have to be rescued, lol.
I am talking 35 years ago . Tee Hee .No, these were big trees and loaded . The trunks were 30" around . Not the ones you see pictures of these days . If I remember right , I did use a ladder to get up in there .The branches were a good seven foot off the ground .
I have 2 that are supposed to be moorpark self pollinating. However the blossoms are slightly different on one than the other. Then I have a couple dwarf manchurian. None have produced anything yet. although one year the one had 4 about the size of a marble before they fell off. They should
The Moorparks are now about 15' tall and not strong enough to climb. They are supposed to be good for zones 4-8. We are far enough north though and in an area that seems to switch from zone 5 to zone 3. It just depends on the weather pattern that year. We had two years in a row now when we have had a hard freeze after the fruit trees blossomed and didn't produce. Not even any of the wild plums along the road ditches.
Barb's vision has diminished a little more and she don't trust driving anymore even though she did get her license renewed in Dec. She don't see other vehicles soon enough anymore
And has a little much distortion in what ever she is looking at. So I'm giving you many thanks for giving us the push to go to Colorado when you did.
I wish we could have done more in Colo.There was no reason why we couldn't dredge that gravel bar at the area we were camped at , just downstream halfway between where we camped and where I took the pictures .