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Alternative Gardening: Giving it a try! :)

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Forum: Alternative GardeningReplies: 4, Views: 167
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Mebane, NC
(Zone 7b)

August 27, 2012
8:43 PM

Post #9256467

I have been reading about straw bale gardening and decided to try it. I know it is late in the season, but after prepping my bale (of alphalfa) for about 3-4 weeks, I put my tomato plant into it. I have been growing the tomato from a cutting since early spring (before Mother's Day) in a pot and it hasn't grown very well so I decided to try to finish off the season this way. What the heck. ^_^ Not like it's doing anything anyways! Not even 1 tomato. :( We will see if I helped or hurt it! Maybe I can get one mater out of it. Should I water everyday?

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Monte Vista, CO
(Zone 4a)

August 28, 2012
10:12 AM

Post #9257004

I would water it every day. I don't see why you couldn't move the bale to the garage if you have one, put a light on it, and grow it through the winter. It starts warming up there in February (I used to live in Midland), so that wouldn't be that long to have to provide a grow light for it. You could cover it or box it in with a clear tarp to further protect it in the garage.
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

August 28, 2012
11:15 AM

Post #9257079

Don't forget to feed the plant as well. Alfalfa has nitrogen but tomatoes need lime, phosphorus and potassium as well. I usually add some worm castings as well and like using fish emulsion for my general fertilizer. Good Luck!!
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

July 15, 2014
9:18 PM

Post #9894773

Alfafa is not the best choice. It decomposes much too quickly and will rot before anything has a chance to grow. You need to use either wheat or oat straw bales. Wheat is the best as it doesn't sprout quite as much a oat bales. Sorry to be the bearer of bad new but I was given 8 grass bales and I will show you what I ended up with. My straw bales will last about 2 years grass bales will last about 3 months. Hum... The bales that are straw held up almost 3 years

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Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

July 16, 2014
7:18 AM

Post #9894994

I have grown in alfalfa bales and had good luck. Yes,they do break down faster than the straw but always have made it through the season. Then I mix the remainder with a remaining straw bale and reuse. Even if you don't use the alfalfa again as a bale it makes fantastic mulch and compost for other beds. Alfalfa is more expensive in my area so I don't use it as much as I would like but in my climate they have worked well.

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