Strawbale Gardening: General Discussions - 2012 - Chapter 39

Wake Forest, NC

Time to start a new chapter!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Oh no!!! I almost didn't respond just because nobody else had first. :0) Hi Kent

Dahlonega, GA

Bringing up the rear .

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

What are you, on the road Sally? When do you head further south? Got your bags packed? Or do you ever unpack them?

Dahlonega, GA

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.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Goodness Sally, it sounds like you are going to move down there permanently. Is that the plan? I know you have your family down there, and you must like the area, weather, etc.

Dahlonega, GA

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 .

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

So, are you still keeping your place in Georgia? For the summer? Difficult to know huh? Sounds like you are still planning on going back and forth in the summer and winter?

How long a drive did you say it was from where you are to where you go? I think you said a long drive. Even stopping at Jill's. That is a nice break tho isn't it?

Dahlonega, GA

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 .

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Dahlonega, GA

Nuther pic .Oooops , got one twice .

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Dahlonega, GA

His daughter rents that travel trailer next to him ,it isn't part of what he bought . He piles his crap up all over her yard too .

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

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.

Warrenton, NC

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...

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Dahlonega, GA

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 .

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Sometimes it makes you wonder if that will matter if it gets too bad. I was trying to sell my house and had that mess right where people turned the corner.

Don't you love those chix Jax?

Dahlonega, GA

Wish I could have chicks. These dogs wouldn't put up with them , would have to clip a wing and fence them off .

Warrenton, NC

Yes I do love them chix!!

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..

This message was edited Aug 13, 2012 9:10 PM

Dahlonega, GA

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 .

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Sally, you didn't mean you have meters on your wells did you? Jen

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

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...

Dahlonega, GA

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 .

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

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.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

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.

Dahlonega, GA

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 .

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Well, the state must have had a lot of feedback as we haven't heard any more about it.

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

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.

Warrenton, NC

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!!!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

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.

Longview, WA(Zone 8b)

Hi all,
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.
Paul.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

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?

Good luck with your find!!

Longview, WA(Zone 8b)

Jnette,
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.
Paul.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

That should be a lot of fun working with your sister. Great year coming up Paul. So glad to hear your sister will be close by. Jeanette

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

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.

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Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

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.

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

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.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Always something isn't it? Darn it anyway.

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.

Well, keep your ears and eyes open Solace.

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

Thanks, Jeannette, I sure will.

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.

I hope my back outlasts my dream, that's all. :)

Dianne

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

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?

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

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

Dahlonega, GA

I'm way too old for those projects anymore . Have fun . Sure looks like good soil there .

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