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Strawbale Gardening: Strawbale Gardening (part 7)

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Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 21, 2007
1:39 AM

Post #3209955

I think this is how you start a new one Donna. Yeah, we are out here in the sticks with our dial-ups and it does
take a long time doesn't it?

Kent, let me know if I did it wrong.

Past discussions:

Part 1: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/584625/

Part 2: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/590925/

Part 3: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/598673/

Part 4: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/614124/

Part 5: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/631772/

Part 6: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/680745/

An invitation to put your bale garden on the map
http://www.frappr.com/strawbalegardeners


his message was edited Feb 25, 2007 9:46 PM

This message was edited Feb 26, 2007 4:22 PM

This message was edited Feb 26, 2007 4:39 PM
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 21, 2007
1:41 AM

Post #3209963

Well, it looks ok to me. Now I guess I have to go back to the other one and post to this link?

Jeanette
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 21, 2007
1:45 AM

Post #3209976

LOL, none of you told me if I did it wrong. Jeanette


Edited to add:

Thanks Shoe.

This message was edited Feb 21, 2007 1:27 AM
phuggins
Fairmont, WV
(Zone 6a)

February 21, 2007
9:01 PM

Post #3212335

I was wondering...why don't root veggies do well in bales? Was contemplating it for this year, since my 'maters went bananas in bales last year. :)
Big_Red
Bethelridge, KY
(Zone 6a)


February 21, 2007
9:52 PM

Post #3212461

phuggins,

Most root crows don't develop deep enough roots. When planted in straw bales, the top of the bales dry out first and roots crops don't get the water they need. I tried onions last year and they started out fine but in the hot weather they just wilted and died.
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

February 21, 2007
11:23 PM

Post #3212659

This is actually a question; In other words straw bale gardens require more water?
More than in ground that is.
rutholive
Tonasket, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 22, 2007
2:06 AM

Post #3213155

I was planning to place a soaker hose along the top of the hay/straw bales, won't that work?? for moisture purposes.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 22, 2007
3:03 AM

Post #3213403

I think several people did that Donna and it worked out well. Maybe someone of them will tell you.

Jeanette
Big_Red
Bethelridge, KY
(Zone 6a)


February 22, 2007
4:27 AM

Post #3213572

Yes, it is very important to soak your bales every day. Water them throughly until the water runs out from under the bales. They dry out pretty fast.
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

February 22, 2007
5:28 PM

Post #3214784

I only soaked mine every 2nd or 3rd day and they did well. Only problem I had was the slugs. And my eggplant was a disappointment. The plant was gorgeous and it put on fruit nicely. The fruit grew well but never got ripe. It was dark purple at first then turned green as it got larger. I thought it must be a green variety and was tagged wrong so I picked a large one after a long while and it was nowhere near ripe. Anyone know what could have caused that? I love eggplant would like to try it again but I don't want to waste the space if I can't harvest the stuff.

Also, does anyone know if there is such a thing as a yellow cherry tomato?

Thumbnail by CajuninKy
Click the image for an enlarged view.

randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

February 22, 2007
8:33 PM

Post #3215194

I think Farmerdill would give a good answer on the yellow cherry tomato. I do know there are yellow pear tomatoes. and they are small like the cherry. just pear shape.
This will be a new experience for me. And I plan to give it a good try. I really like the idea of the tomatos being up off the ground. not having to do a lot of stoop gardening. My joints don't bend like they used to, and I've had to have back surgery. This sounds like a great way to have all the maters up off the ground and in a nice row. I have to give Kent a big hand for posting this Strawbale forum. I still manage to do most gardening in the ground if I can keep things contained in a small area, where I can get on my knees and mound up around the sweetpotatos and such. and I tie up the Cukes and muskmellons, on trellis. To make things as easy as possable.
Russ
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

February 22, 2007
8:41 PM

Post #3215219

I think Farmerdill would give a good answer on the yellow cherry tomato. I do know there are yellow pear tomatoes. and they are small like the cherry. just pear shape.
This will be a new experience for me. And I plan to give it a good try. I really like the idea of the tomatos being up off the ground. not having to do a lot of stoop gardening. My joints don't bend like they used to, and I've had to have back surgery. This sounds like a great way to have all the maters up off the ground and in a nice row. I have to give Kent a big hand for posting this Strawbale forum. I still manage to do most gardening in the ground if I can keep things contained in a small area, where I can get on my knees and mound up around the sweetpotatos and such. and I tie up the Cukes and muskmellons, on trellis. To make things as easy as possable.
Russ Had to double check plant files think this is what you want.Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ay) (Info)
Genus: Lycopersicon (ly-koh-PER-see-kon) (Info)
Species: lycopersicum (ly-koh-PER-see-kum) (Info)
Cultivar: Yellow Cherry
johnsonjrbm
Olympia, WA
(Zone 7b)

February 22, 2007
9:46 PM

Post #3215364

Yes, Cajun, there are some very good yellow cherry tomatoes. Galina and Gold Nugget are two in particular that I have grown and can recommend. Both put out a lot of fruit, and Gold Nugget is also very early. Yellow Currant is even smaller than a cherry tomato, and is very sweet and prolific. Gold Nugget is a medium-sized plant, and the other two are indeterminate. Yellow Currant just sprawls everywhere, and can use some pruning if space is an issue.

I've grown all three in large containers, but not in straw bales yet.
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

February 22, 2007
10:13 PM

Post #3215440

Thanks for the info. I will check into them asap. I have peptic ulcers and the yellow tomatoes are much easier on me, being less acidic. I like cherry tomatoes so because I can just pop them into my mouth like candy.
BlueGlancer
South/Central, FL
(Zone 9a)

February 23, 2007
2:03 AM

Post #3216149

CajuninKy...
My eggplants did the same thing.(turned streaky green after purple) And some of the fruit looked deformed. The plant is beautiful, and big, with lots of blooms. Maybe someone can tell us what we are doing wrong. Everything else did well.

~Lucy
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 23, 2007
5:02 AM

Post #3216665

That is really strange. I don't grow eggplant but I would have thought they do just the opposite. Start out green and then turn purple when they are ripe. Maybe there are some eggplant experts in the crowd. They are beautiful. Too bad you can't use them in a bouquet.

Jeanette
Wvdaisy
Buffalo, WV
(Zone 7a)

February 23, 2007
5:27 AM

Post #3216688

Has anyone used polymer crystals in the bales to conserve water? Me and another DG member are getting ready to host a Watersorb polymer crystal co op and I'm wanting to use the crystals in the bales so I won't have to water so much. We have a cistern and have to haul our water. Please let me know your thoughts about using these in bales. Thanks! Oh, feel free to join our co op. I'll be posting it in the Co-op forum soon.

Lana
johnsonjrbm
Olympia, WA
(Zone 7b)

February 23, 2007
5:52 AM

Post #3216706

Cajun - instead of hijacking the straw bale thread, I sent you a D-mail...

Bobby
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 23, 2007
6:04 AM

Post #3216713

Lana, I have been in on this almost from the beginning, and I think I can feel pretty certain when I say that to save you the time of going thru all of the parts looking for your information, that the Polymers have not been tried. At least nobody has written about them. That is the nice thing though about this, you can try them and report to us how they work. If you have enough bales, try them on some and not on others for a test. Good luck with your coop, Jeanette
Wvdaisy
Buffalo, WV
(Zone 7a)

February 23, 2007
6:11 AM

Post #3216715

Thanks, Jeanette!

Lana
RuTemple
San Jose, CA
(Zone 9b)

February 23, 2007
11:29 PM

Post #3218673

Jeannette, you did it Just Right! (Thanks for the new thread).

We're in year two of our bales, or rather, continuing over what passes for "winter" here in Redwood City, with a couple of bright lights chard plants that have not bolted nor gone bitter, but are staying tasty for continual cut-and-come-again delights; spinach, and various greens. The slugs are making it up the more decomposed bales, this year. humph.

I also have a garden diary, and would love to read more notes from other straw-bale gardeners - if you keep a diary/journal of your garden here at DG, please sound off; I'd love to see a broader show-and-tell. It makes a great place to put photos.

To Lana, who asked about moisture crystals, Yes, I think they'd work handsomely, and wonder why we haven't put them in yet... the only drawback I can imagine is that they'd sift down into the bottom of the bale as they dry; but as roots grow towards them, that shouldn't make an appreciable problem. Doing a coop purchase of them is a great idea, and we'd join you if not for this 3/4 of a jar on the shelf here...

Cajun in KY, I'm sorry to hear of your ulcers; the yellow pear tomatoes are low-acid, which is one of the reasons folks mention either loving or hating them. We love 'em. Also we grew an orangey prolific cherry-sized tomato called a Tomato | Riesentraube | Lycopersicon | lycopersicum - we had seeds packed for 2003 from the Cook's Garden, that like all other tomatoes didn't grow well for us in San Francisco, but did very very well in the warmth of Redwood City, and are not too acidy, by very tasty. A nice addition to sauces, as well (I mentioned capital-p Prolific, yes?)






dbarbrady
Starkville, MS
(Zone 7b)

February 23, 2007
11:57 PM

Post #3218743

New here guys and new to bale gardening. I am in central Mississippi, and wheat straw is scarce to non existent. I've done alot of research and Bermuda grass hay has been mentioned as an alternative. I know about the increase in weeds due to the grass sprouting. I can't find anywhere in the threads related to bale gardening where anyone has shared their experience with Bermuda grass. Maybe I'll be the pilot case. I do have a question about herbs in bales though. I am hoping to mix some basil and oregano in with my tomato plants...maybe even a few bales with just herbs. The tomatoes will be going right into the bale, but the herbs will get a shallow layer of potting mix on top of the bales to call home. Any info on herbs in bales would be greatly appreciated.
RuTemple
San Jose, CA
(Zone 9b)

February 24, 2007
12:08 AM

Post #3218776

Welcome, Dbarbrady!
Bermuda grass is a noxious weed in this corner of the world; someone bales it as feed near you? Eek. Seems like it should work as long as it doesn't send out runners.
Other feed-grain hay has been known to work for others.

Basil and oregano work very well in bales together with tomatoes; they still do that companion plants who love one another roots-intertwining and thriving thing. If you've never grown a curly-leaf basil along with the basic genovese, I recommend it as a nice large productive mild-tasting throw-it-in-the-salad as well as the tomato-sauce type of basil.

The herbs and smaller plants we tucked in our bales last year did appreciate having the soil from their starting pots to help hold nutrients near the roots; just tuck the soil into the bale when you plant the starts. A little added soil, or a layer of soil on top of a bale, like we did with one bale last year, goes very well.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 24, 2007
12:11 AM

Post #3218784

Thanks Ru. But, we haven't heard anything from Kent since I started this so I hope I didn't hurt his feelings. Didn't mean to step on any toes.

Jeanette
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 24, 2007
2:03 AM

Post #3219148

Jeanette: are you kidding me? I just happen to be in the muster room returning all the papers I served tonight, so I don't have much time. You did a great job! It's been a crazy week for me so not much face time online. See ya'll back soon.

Kent
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

February 24, 2007
2:34 AM

Post #3219218

RuTemple

Does the tomato you mentioned have a trade name I can look for?
RuTemple
San Jose, CA
(Zone 9b)

February 24, 2007
3:53 AM

Post #3219395

CajuninKY: Yes, it's the Reisenstraube cherry tomato, or in the Plant Scout files here:
http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/2780/
There are 3 places listed that have the seeds for sale; it grows well from the seeds (we did starts before putting them in the ground) - these two plants we did in the flowerbed and not in bales last year. They're indeterminate, which means every end is happy to be a growing and bearing tip; they'd go well on a Serious trellis. We did tripods around them and they'd have been happier with something yet more sturdy to hold onto. That bunch of tomatoes in the photo at the plant scout files? the very bunches grow in bunches.

Jeannette, if you could do one thing and edit to add a link to the first of the Strawbale gardening threads and to the Frappr.com map in that first message on the thread, that tends to be a Useful and Substantial reference.

Kent - I'm always sorry to hear a fellow in your line of work having to be so busy; thanks for being on the job!

on Eggplants: I'm updating some notes in my DG journal from last year; and thinking ours grew some nice little eggplants, but they sure seemed small and the plant scrawny. I think this year a test plant goes into the ground as well as one into a bale. I'm not sure whether they wanted more heat, or more fertilizer, or if they just didn't like being so nearby the zucchini, that tried a couple of times to shade it out.
hm.



dbarbrady
Starkville, MS
(Zone 7b)

February 24, 2007
4:06 AM

Post #3219419

Thanks for the feedback on the herbs RuTemple. Yes, Bermuda grass is used for feed here. It's a high quality feed for horses. It can be pricey too. Mississippi is in a bit of a hay shortage right now. We had drought conditions for most of the growing season last year. I still hope to find the elusive wheat straw before planting season.
Wvdaisy
Buffalo, WV
(Zone 7a)

February 24, 2007
5:16 AM

Post #3219499

Thanks, RuTemple! The crystals shouldn't dry up enough to fall down thru the bail but hopefully will keep me from having to water daily.

Lana
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 24, 2007
6:01 AM

Post #3219527

Glad to hear from you Kent. Sorry you are so busy. Probably the weekend traffic? Hope to hear from you soon.

Jeanette
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 24, 2007
5:10 PM

Post #3220472

Lana, do you think it will take many of the crystals? How expensive do you think it would be? Hopefully with the coop that would keep the cost down.

Jeanette
Wvdaisy
Buffalo, WV
(Zone 7a)

February 24, 2007
8:38 PM

Post #3220998

Well, you use about a tsp in a good size pot so it might take a Tbsp or 2 for a bale. The co op is about $4.26 a lb with a minimum of 3 lbs. Shipping would be flat rate, 5lbs and under would cost $4.05 plus delivery confirmation. 6-15lbs is 8.10 shipping plus d/c. Will store about forever so will last you years. Also, check this out http://www.stormymoonfarm.com/fundraiser/aboutus.htm They make cool ties with the crystals and ship them to our troops in Iraq to keep them cool in the desert heat.

Lana
RuTemple
San Jose, CA
(Zone 9b)

February 24, 2007
11:27 PM

Post #3221433

On the crystals; you can also put a few into a hatband, wet it and it's marvelous in the heat. We're still working on year 3 or 4 with one little jar of the crystals, including the time I spilled the top 1/2 inch of the jar in the back by accident (you should have seen the heap, the first next rain)!

I'm definitely going to add some to our bales; especially for the lettuces where we plunk in some topsoil on top of the bales.

Lise has put some sprouting potatoes into a bale; has anyone else grown potatoes in their bales this past year? A few carrots I grew came out green, which means that sun gets down in there -- that's fine for carrots, but would mean poison in a potato (being a nightshade and all; and advice from my farmer's-son father). I'm thinking of laying down a sun barrier on the top of the bale; likely cloth rather than extra heating plastic, but wonder what other folks are doing and think about it all.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 24, 2007
11:51 PM

Post #3221488

Ru, other than coming out green, how were the carrots? Shape, size etc.? That was my doubts about the potatoes. That there wouldn't be enough room in the bale for them to get any size. Come to think of it, why do you say that the carrots coming out green means that sun is getting down to them? That is very curious. I have never grown carrots as you can tell.

Jeanette
RuTemple
San Jose, CA
(Zone 9b)

February 25, 2007
12:24 AM

Post #3221612

HI Jeanette, these are a type of carrot that are normally orange; the sun getting down through the straw to them meant they turned green (as a carrot top sticking out of the dirt also will) with chlorophyll, because they could--and that tells me they were getting enough UV from the sun to trigger that response. it was fine and okay in the carrots (and fun in a salad, since the middle of the carrot is still orange), but it would be problematic in a potato, where that green chlorophyll response also would signal the not-good-to-eat nightshade effect in the skins.

Size, shape and tastiness of the carrots were just fine, even though they were in the bale that the neighboring green zebra stripe tomatoes decided to exuberantly lean in and take over (above-bale)...the onions that got lost that way last year are still in the bale and doing okay, amusingly enough!

You've *gasp* never grown carrots? Yoicks!
When I was a kid, my father discovered he had a knack for making up stories, and so there's the Two Legged Carrot, whose ambition was to walk around the whole garden, that has rattled around in my back brain my whole life. Some day, when you are looking through a bunch of carrots, you'll find one with two legs, and know its True. In any case, when he made 4' square plots for each of us kids and let us think we were doing the work (heh) of gardening our own plots, I always had a row or two of carrots...
Hm. Come to think on it, none of the bale carrots split to multi-leggedness; usually that's caused by lumpy dirt.

"Onward!" squeaked the parsnip.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 25, 2007
5:44 AM

Post #3222467

Ru I have seen a lot of 2 legged carrots but have never grown any. I have never lived anywhere that would not have been loads of work to "sift" the soil to get a nice straight carrot. All of them would have had at least 2 or 3 legs. LOL

I can't even imagine growing carrots in 4" pots. Altho, they do have short stubby little carrot seeds in the catalogs now. That would work. Wish I had a grandkid or 2 to do that with. LOL (didn't mean the seeds were short and stubby). Oh well, it's late.

Jeanette
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 25, 2007
6:06 AM

Post #3222487

Good Heavens Ru, it is later than I thought. I thought you were growing carrots in 4" pots. I just re-read your post and see you had 4 ' plots. LOL I was going to rush right out and buy some carrot seeds for my 4" pots. Good night.

Jeanette
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 26, 2007
8:45 PM

Post #3227616

LOL, Ruth, cool map. I haven't looked at it in a long time so you have really gotten a lot of bale gardens posted. Looks good.

Did you know there is a limit to how many edits you can make in a day? Well, I found out. With Shoe's help I learned how to do this and probably by the next time I need it I will have forgotten. Help
Shoe!!! LOL I think he got tired of me. Anyway, it finally looks almost as good as Kent's.

Jeanette
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

February 27, 2007
1:40 AM

Post #3228523

Hah! Ya done good, Jnette!

Folks, she wasn't gonna give up until she learned how to put in active hyperlinks in her first post above. Now that she knows she'll be a whirlwind and be teaching others!

Ah yesss...DG, THE place to learn many things, eh?

Shoe
spot8907
Ida, MI

February 27, 2007
2:54 PM

Post #3230077

Woo-hoo! Talked to my neighbor yesterday about my strawbales. I asked him what kind of price I get on 50 bales of any kind of hay or straw, spoiled preferably. He said he had some straw that had gotten damaged and if I was willing to take 50 of them I could have them for $1.50 a piece! Strawbale garden9ing here I come! If this works out well I think I will just tell my neighbor to drop off unsalable bales as he gets them during the year. At that price I can use the ones I don't use for gardening as compost or mulch as I have an excellent shredder. Thanks Strawbaleman for getting me going on this! Neighbor thinks I'm a bit wacky but my neighbors have thought this for years. LOL I did ask him if he had ever heard of strawbale gardening and he said no but when I explained it he said he had seen filmclips of it but had not heard it called that so this must be something they are trying to get going for commercial purposes also. I didn't have a lot of time to talk to him about it but when he drops off my bales I will see if I can get more info from him. Think Spring!
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

February 27, 2007
5:37 PM

Post #3230542

Spot: good price on those bales. It's beautiful here in Wake Co today and I'm ready to get things going, too!

Whenever I want a laugh, I just remind myself of the "expert" who said the only thing you can grow in wheat straw is wheat!

Folks still look at me funny whenever I talk about bale gardening.

But the map at frappr is growing. This will be the year for North American bale gardening, for sure. I'd love to get a marker on another continent.

Kent
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

March 8, 2007
5:11 PM

Post #3261123

Hi,

I've read all the posts and thoroughly enjoyed reading all your great ideas. I'm a newbie gardener, but you've inspired me to try strawbale gardening. I started putting the ammonium nitrate on my 10 bales today. However, as I was watering it in, it did occur to me to wonder if the run-off is poisonous to animals. We have dogs and a couple of stray cats who are often in the yard. If this question has been asked and answered, I apologize. I didn't find it when I was reading or with a search. Any help appreciated.

Thanks, Karen in Tuscaloosa AL
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 8, 2007
10:27 PM

Post #3261996

Welcome Karen!! Glad to see newbies and really like it when they say they read thru all of these parts. I agree that there is a lot of good info in them. Don't know that I could read thru them again tho. LOL
I have to tell you that I live out in the sticks and have several dogs and a lot of wild animals from squirrels, birds, deer, and yes, even wild rabbits that eat around the garden and I have yet to find a dead anything out there. Especially if you are watering it good, it is being absorbed into the ground.

I don't think the ammoniam nitrate is anything like anti-freeze where the animals might go after it to dig it up or something if that is what you are worried about.

Jeanette
chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 8, 2007
11:13 PM

Post #3262163

This is a very addictive idea. I have been reading about 2 months and, yes I bought 4 bales to try this out. The pictures are amazing!! I have been looking back through the old threads, I thought I read somewhere that I could just let them sit outside and let nature do the prep for the bales. I bought them about 6 weeks ago, I have watered them quite a bit, do I need to prep them with something anyway? I wasnt going to plant in them for another 3 weeks. If I still have to prepare the bales I will go back in the threads and find the formula.
chris
ps. everyone thinks I am nuts for doing this.
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

March 9, 2007
4:13 AM

Post #3263241

All I did to prepare my bales was to water them. I waited a few days then started "watching" for progress with the cooking thermometer. When they started to cool I planted in them. But I used grass hay bales. I think everybody else used straw.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 9, 2007
5:29 AM

Post #3263340

Hi Crazy Chris!! LOL, they will quit laughing when you have some nice beautiful produce and they are buying theirs at the store or crawling around on the ground looking for theirs.

I see you are in Georgia. Zone 7b. It is kind of hard for me to tell you but have you tried putting your hand down in a bale to see if it has heated up? And, as Cajun said, try a thermometer. I think 6 weeks is quite a long time. If it were me, I would feel in a bale and see if it is warm, and also I would try to feel if it has started decomposing. Are you past your last frost date? You might laugh at me but I seriously do not know. If you are, I would think you could plant at any time if your bales are working. What are you going to plant?

Kent, help. Where are you when we need you. I think he is more to your zone than I am. I am zone 5.

Good luck Chris and I hope that someone in your area, zone, comes in to help you.

Jeanette
chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 9, 2007
10:49 AM

Post #3263500

Jnette,
LOL, last freeze is about April 1 so I figured the bales would be cooked enough even if I didnt treat them. These are wheat straw. I will check them to see if they are warm this morning after the kids get off to school. Ok, I am a little confused, I didnt think I needed to time the bales to plant in them when they "were working". I thought they just needed to be done. I was doing it the lazy way, just letting them sit out. I was also going to use the one I had laying around from back in October that I never used for something else, can I use that? Just planting tomatoes and peppers.
crazy chris
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

March 9, 2007
12:48 PM

Post #3263771

Well, I'm in. My bales are arriving tomorrow, all 200 of them. Of course, most of them will go to the cows, but I get 50 or so of the "worst" ones. These are hay, and some have already been rained on, fine for cows to eat, but not for horses, so they're cheaper. I'll find those that look the worst (the best?) and hi-jack them to my hill top. Now I need a hint as to how much blood meal per bale. I have searched, and tried to go back thru the thread, but I'm missing the amounts. I did read the whole thread, but it took a while, and I just can;t find the blood meal directions. Is there anything else that needs to go in? I'm in zone 7b (Pelzer, SC), so I figure that early/mid April will be the time to plant stuff in my bales. Any tips welcome,I'm hoping for the best :)
Margo
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

March 9, 2007
12:57 PM

Post #3263812

catmad

Sorry, I can't help with the blood meal question. The only thing I added to my bales was a thick smear of rabbit manure. I put it on top of the bales and watered through it. Worked well for me.

Good luck and have fun!! I can't wait to get mine going. I think I am going to do 11 bales this year. Up from 8 last year. I'd do more but I don't have the room. People in town have been asking me if I was going to raise my "pretty" garden again this year. LOL
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 9, 2007
2:33 PM

Post #3264051

New folks: Welcome to bale gardening! Put your marker at www.frappr.com/strawbalegardeners

Margo: Big_Red wrote on 2/13/07 in Part 6 about his use of BLOOD MEAL: "I used a cup per bale every three days (twice) and then cut down to 1/2 cup every other day until the bales got good and hot." He's the only one I remember who has used BLOOD MEAL.

Chris: if the straw is getting soft you'll be OK. The nitrogen-rich additives just accelerate the process and help create a good environment for the breakdown.

Karen: no problems for wildlife on my side either with the ammonium nitrate run-off.

All: I debated on posting this, but here it is - an article in Carolina Country magazine about my bale garden. They got such a good respose from an article they ran last year, they wanted to do an update. The editor was gracious enough to let me put a plug in for DG.

http://www.carolinacountry.com/cgardens/thismonth/march07guide/strawbales07.html

I'm getting a steady stream of emails from folks who are reading about bale gardening for the first time.

As soon as the article ran, a paper in Spartanburg, SC, wanted permission to use it, too.

I encourage all of you to call your local paper and see if they'll do a story on your bale garden. It's a good way to get the word out to those who don't visit DG.

I never would have tried bale gardening if I hadn't seen a small news article about a little old lady in Alabama and her bale garden.

Kent
soulgardenlove
Marietta, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 9, 2007
3:42 PM

Post #3264342

Chris, where did you get your bales? :)

Susan
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 9, 2007
3:45 PM

Post #3264347

Congrats, Kent! Both on the article encouraging bale gardening and also on getting in a plug for DG!

Maybe we'll be seeing some new members soon!

Shoe
ecobioangie
Mableton, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 9, 2007
4:02 PM

Post #3264390

And how much $ were they? LOL Enquiring local minds want to know!

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 9, 2007
4:08 PM

Post #3264405

I just priced straw bales here at Southern States, $4. Y'all must have them or a similar feed supply locally.
summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

March 9, 2007
10:03 PM

Post #3265472

Ha! I just ordered 100 bales of wheat straw at $2 each plus $10 for delivery tomorrow. Jealous?

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 9, 2007
10:14 PM

Post #3265510

Yeppers. I could get a better price too if I wanted more than 10-15 bales here. Sigh.
summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

March 9, 2007
10:49 PM

Post #3265645

darius, there HAS to be some old farmer with 10 ruined bales lying around. I'd just drive down back roads or ask at the local cafe or something.
chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 9, 2007
11:03 PM

Post #3265683

Kent, Congrats on an article that will be inspiring for many people or maybe shame on you for infecting the outside world with such an addictive idea. Also a great plug for DG!! Uh-oh my bales kinda feel like stiff straw in the middle still. I only watered it for about a week when I first bought them 6 weeks ago. What do ya think? Also I grew my own tomatoes this year and they are just babies,(about 4-5" tall, but they are scrawny things. thicker than a toothpick not as thick as a pencil) not thick trunks like the nursery ones. Do you think they will be ok in the bales?
Susan and eco, I bought the wheat bales at Home Depot for about $4 ea.
chris
dbarbrady
Starkville, MS
(Zone 7b)

March 10, 2007
12:02 AM

Post #3265913

How long on average should I water each bale to give it a good soak? I'm spraying the bales down one at a time and it takes forever. I don't necessarily mind it, gives me time to think. What I'm thinking is I may be over watering though. Kent mentioned over watering might have leached nutrients from his bales. I just started ammonium nitrate on my bales today. I cut down the watering on each bale to the time it takes the ammonium nitrate to completely dissolve. It's already mid 70's in central Mississippi with nights not getting below 50. I should be planting in 11 days. Thanks for any advice on the watering issue.
rutholive
Tonasket, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 10, 2007
1:32 AM

Post #3266251

Kent congratulations on being published and great reading.

I wish I could find straw bales for less than $5.00.

Donna
Big_Red
Bethelridge, KY
(Zone 6a)


March 10, 2007
2:14 AM

Post #3266369

dbarbrady,

Not sure about ammonium nitrate as I used blood meal as a catalyst but I watered mine every day just until the water started to run out of the bottom of the bales. Hope this helps!

Red
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

March 10, 2007
2:23 AM

Post #3266401

I think I have the find of the day. A friend of ours has a stack of about 40 grass hay bales that were baled before they dried and they have mould spots in them. He said I am welcome to the entire stack free of charge!!!
Now I have to figure out where to put them all. LOL
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 10, 2007
6:03 AM

Post #3266913

Gosh, take a day or 2 off and look what you guys have been doing!!! Wonderful Kent! Keep up the good work.

Can't believe Cajun got free bales!

Each one of you are getting better and better. But FREE???? That's great. I cannot believe you guys, I still have a foot of snow covering everything!! But I saw geese flying North. That's encouraging.

Think I am going to cover the hoophouse with plastic. That should help warm things up.

I hope all of you newbies are putting your mark on the map!! It is looking really good.

Jeanette
soulgardenlove
Marietta, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 10, 2007
11:33 AM

Post #3267074

oh dear Kent.. I was so concerned about Chris in GA getting bales that I just didn't see the article! Now I did! Great job! Wonderful! :)

Susan
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

March 10, 2007
2:46 PM

Post #3267683

Hi Jnette - Thank you for the info on the ammonium nitrate. I know nothing about the stuff, so I'm glad to hear it's not a problem with the wildlife -- even though I , too, live in the sticks, our yard is fenced, so the wildlife in the yard is the tame kind. Between the compost and the AN I've bought, my 21-year-old grandson keeps talking about his grandma's bomb-building material. LOL. :-)

I'm jealous of all you folks getting such good deals on your bales -- here it runs from 4.11/bale at HD or Lowe's, and two other places at 4.50/bale and 5.00/bale. Sheesh! This is for straw - not hay.

Karen
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

March 10, 2007
3:05 PM

Post #3267732

Kent, great article - congrats! I'm dying to know how the potatoes work out in the old bales. Had thought just to let them go ahead and compost up, but potatoes, then to compost would be a great in-between step. I have very little yard debris for compost and don't use kitchen scraps. We have a woods area behind us and just throw the scraps over the fence. Don't know what eats it -- but it is gone the next morning. Deer, possums, raccoons? What do armadillos eat?

Has anyone used coffee grounds on the bales for extra nutrients? I keep reading in other forums about using them -- and since they are free . . .

Karen
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 10, 2007
3:27 PM

Post #3267800

Chris: continue to keep your bales damp for about a week; your tomatoes will get stronger and then transplant into the bales; you may want to consider putting some potting mix into the crack and then transplant the tomatoes into the mix.

Which reminds me, for those who are just trying bales for the first time, you have to get in the mindset that watering the bales is going to be different than in dirt farming.

You can't let "new" bales go days between watering, especially at the beginning, even during the preparation stage.

Later on in the season as the bales are decomposing nicely, they absorb more water, and are a little more forgiving if you don't water daily.

It shouldn't take that long to water.

I had 55 bales and it took about 15 minutes. About 1-2 gallons per bale is plenty.

Kent
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 10, 2007
6:01 PM

Post #3268138

Thanks Kent. Ive been a dirt gardener all my life. but I wanted to give the strawbales a try. The no hoe
no weed sounds great. Deffinatly new. I may be your oldest first timer. lol Turned 70 yesterday.
found about 40 old straw bales still in barn probably 20 years old. plus a lot of loose straw. I may have to clean his hay loft. heh heh heh
I and another friend are planning on doing this together.
I placed most of the info into a saved file. so it will be easier to find.
We will have to wait a while to get the bales as the snow drifts are still to high to get to the barn.
Most of the drifts have schrunk by about 3 feet in the last 3 days. if we have a few more days that get up to fifty we should be ok. then just wait for the ground to dry a little. then we can get to the barn Whooo Hooo.
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 10, 2007
6:19 PM

Post #3268182

Wow Cajun, you indeed have the best find! See folks, it never hurts to ask. The farmers might think you are a little looney but thats ok, you just might save yourself some cash and be using something that would otherwise be left to rot without growing beautifull produce.
summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

March 10, 2007
8:59 PM

Post #3268562

I'm sure anyone on this thread could find cheap bales. You just have to ask around. It took me awhile to find this guy bu he was so happy to sell some bales because his main customer, who usually took 3,000 bales for some racetrack, vanished on him this year.

That's why he delivered for only $10!
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 10, 2007
9:08 PM

Post #3268589

Why you're just a spring chick Rondbponder!!! How old is the guy helper? This strawbale farming is the best thing that came along for us seniors, disabled, etc.No weeds, no bending, no getting down on the ground looking for cucumbers, or beans, or whatever like an easter egg hunt.

Last year I put my cucumbers and cherry tomatoes on a cattle panel trellis but planted in bales.. This year I am going to not only do that again but add beans, peas, small melons, and sweet peas and trailing nasturtiums for color to my bale/trellises.

Jeanette
rutholive
Tonasket, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 10, 2007
9:23 PM

Post #3268609

You are right Jeanette, I am almost 81 so I'm sure I have you both beat agewise, and this is the first time for me to try bale planting. Windy and cold here today. I am going out to the gh so to plant some more seeds.

DonnaS
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 10, 2007
9:39 PM

Post #3268637

randbponder: welcome aboard! We didn't get any measurable snow fall this year in Wake Co, NC. First time that's happened in a long time.

There seems to be a shortage of wheat straw bales around my area. I called my supplier from last year and he's singing the blues about not getting a good crop. Will be June before he has any more straw.

He referred me to another guy a county away who does ALOT of straw and he couldn't/wouldn't let me have any. Says his regular customers (all landscaper types) want all he has. There is a building boom in this area of NC and they can't get the straw fast enough.

Home Depot wants $4.11/bale no matter how much you get. I'm not going that route.

No luck so far in getting those good deals I'm reading about. Hardly anyone grows straw any more around here.

So, I ended up with 66 bales of oat straw from one of my church members who had some stored back. Not sure if I'll use that much. We'll see.

Here's my daughter and the oat straw. For safety purposes I told her she couldn't stand up while going down the highway.

Kent

Thumbnail by KentNC
Click the image for an enlarged view.

randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 10, 2007
10:38 PM

Post #3268797

Hey Kent; I imagine if it's fun shes great help.
Two of my girls do most of their own work on their cars. one at age 10 was running the tire machine for me. the youngest changed a water pump on a 65 ford at 8 with only minor instructions. When she asked if there was anything else to do. I thought she was only half done. but not only did she have it off and the gasket cleaned off but the pump was back on. I shouldn't have asked her if she had every thing tight. Her responce was you can check it if you want to dad. Well ok I guess you may as well put the coolant in. LOL She sure stumped me there. Of course I had to come up with suitable rewards. Yes all three turned out to be great adults and yes they are all grand mothers now. Hmmmm I'm still young at heart.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 10, 2007
10:43 PM

Post #3268808

She's a cutie Kent. And quite a load you've got on there. I'm almost afraid to try to get any straw. I paid $4.50 last year. And that was hauling it 50 miles. I jjust called that place and he said $6!! I about croaked. I said HOW MUCH??? And he says "well that's 3 string". That still seems high to me.

Donna, that is out of Moses Lake but in Idaho to buy it. How far are you from Colville or Kettle Falls? We were over there just yesterday and I never thought to find out what they have it for. I just can't remember how far away you are from everything. I can't remember how much you said it was in Oroville.

Yup Donna, you've got me beat too agewise. But that's ok. Better than the alternative. LOL

Jeanette

KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 10, 2007
11:23 PM

Post #3268900

rand: great story about your girls. My dad had a red 64 Ford convertible. It was beautiful. Wished I had it now!

All: just kidding about letting my girl ride on top!

I thought I'd get scolded but at least no one did it publicly! :-)

KR
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 10, 2007
11:56 PM

Post #3269015

Kent, You don't mean the trailer was moving with her up there!! No way! If so, I don't know what they put in that water in NC. LOL Jeanette
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 11, 2007
12:00 AM

Post #3269030

Jeanette: I didn't word my last sentence clearly. I was trying to be funny and it fell flat. Water here is fine. :-)

KR
summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

March 11, 2007
12:05 AM

Post #3269052

I got the joke, Kent!

I'm trying to figure out a good arrangement with my 100 bales, which I want to use to make a giant U (with more garden going inside it) ... side-by-side bales all the way around with a 2nd layer in the middle of those. Is that clear? I don't want to mess with cattle panels or anything & will plant melons & tomatoes in the top & let them sprawl downward.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 11, 2007
12:34 AM

Post #3269138

summerkid: you've probably got all the angles covered, but 2 quick comments:

unless you put some sort of barrier down, anything running is going to have grass & weeds growing up in the vines; also consider where your water is going to drain; take some pics and let us see

Kent
summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

March 11, 2007
12:37 AM

Post #3269153

Sure will. One of my goals with the bales is to greatly increase my available garden space by using an area that is a little shady at ground level.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 11, 2007
4:22 AM

Post #3269812

Kent, That is so funny 'cause I got your joke. What I said was meant to be one also. LOL Guess we both have had a long day. Jeanette
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 11, 2007
2:42 PM

Post #3270410

Jeanette: 10-4, I was brain-dead and tired. KR
rutholive
Tonasket, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 11, 2007
5:14 PM

Post #3270809

Kent, I do envy you your load of bales, even would love to take your daughter too. Guess I will have to be happy with just a couple of bales. Have lots of ground but don't want to spend all the money they want for straw bales.

Donna
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 11, 2007
7:26 PM

Post #3271113

Donna, when I first started this thread last year, I was surprised at the prices and availability of wheat straw. Just because they seemed plentiful here (except now), other members had a hard time getting just a few bales at a reasonable price. Other members had only hay and grass bales available which seem to do just as well.

Just a thought, but I think I'm going to try something in some saw dust next year or the fall.

Maybe a combination of sawdust and old straw.

I'll mull on that idea for now.

Kent

randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 11, 2007
7:50 PM

Post #3271166

Kent I found an artical on saw dust gardening. I could post it. I know in advance that I would get a lot of comments about the possibility of walnut being mixed in, not being good for most garden vedgies It was in one DG forum. I thought it had possibilities, so I saved it. I would change it some to fit my needs though. LMK . Russ
WeedLady
Weatherford, TX
(Zone 7b)

March 11, 2007
9:49 PM

Post #3271444

Well I just had to get some bales and try this because you all made it look like fun. My Hubby thinks Im nuts but thats nothing new. Straw bales were 6.50 each and as I have horses,donkey, and goats I told my Hubby what a deal 6.50 was! Coastal small bales are around 10.95. We need less wind and more rain here really bad. Alot of people are using the straw for bedding the farm animals as wood shavings are hard to come by at the moment. Maybe that is why straw is not so abundant this year. I only got six bales to try out. Am using bloodmeal as a bag of amonium nitrate was like 36.00. I have raised beds also and just going to compare how they do. We have pure sand and I cannot get rid of the Burmuda grass. I swear that stuff grows from 30 feet under my raised beds that have been amended well. Have enjoyed reading these threads over the winter. Oh and when you have those kids ridin on bales just make sure the tie downs on the ankles are not too long!! I got it.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 11, 2007
10:19 PM

Post #3271506

randbponder: I'll find the article(s) on DG and see what it says, or you can D-Mail me the link. Thanks.

I was just thinking how I shouldn't complicate this thread with another wild idea.

I'll post any future discussions on that topic in a new thread to keep things separated.

WeedLady: welcome aboard and thanks for the suggestions about tie downs. I loved it. They would really come in hand when I get on the Interstate!!

Kent
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 11, 2007
11:40 PM

Post #3271725

Kent, when I was younger my Dad used to raise tomatoes in sawdust, and loved it!

He filled bushel baskets (the tall ones, not the squat ones, although I don't see that it would make much difference) with sawdust/wood shavings. I think he must've fed them a "m-grow" type feed; I sure remember him watering them every day. Sounds pretty much like something along the same lines of bale gardening except you have to use a container to hole the sawdust in.

I'd give it a try this year if I were you, even if it is just one or two containers; that'll get you some good knowledge for next year!

Shoe

KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 12, 2007
12:21 AM

Post #3271809

Shoe: my Daddy said the same thing about growing potatoes in saw dust; however, old saw dust piles used to be common around here in the woods but not any more. I could start curing some out from a lumber yard for later on.

In a way, this short discourse on saw dust is a good tie in to what we're doing with bales.

We're finding sources other than soil to grow stuff in. Same thing with hydroponics.

Get your nutrient needs figured out based on the medium, decide how the plants need supported if at all and go for it.

I mentioned way back in one of the threads about my ag-extension agent growing veggies in plain old river sand.

Some of the advantages of the bales, however, is that they are relatively plentiful, usually aren't cost prohibitive, and give a good platform for ailing backs. The best part, I think, is bale gardening is simple to do.

We don't need a PhD in agronomy.

Great day, I've gotten on a soap box. Sorry. Just got through watching Andy Rooney.

Kent
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 12, 2007
1:39 AM

Post #3272034

hah! I love Andy Rooney!

And yep, I agree...it's all about the medium we grow in, eh, and learning to work with it. (I grew lettuce in a pvc pipe one year with perlite as the medium, worked great!)

Be sure to post a link when you decide to start a thread on sawdust gardening!

Shoe
chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 12, 2007
3:14 AM

Post #3272313

kent, NO! NO! NO! you cant start something new with sawdust, I am new and need at least 2 years to catch up! Strawbale gardening, hypertufa, seed planting, round-ups, co-ops, bulbs, tuber thingy's, rhyzome thingy's!!! YIKES!! could you guys just...WAIT-UP! My brain is about to explode. 2 months ago I didnt know which way was up on a bulb, let alone a peony crown, didnt know there was different kinds of hosta or how to de-eye a caladium, round-up was something to kill everything I didnt like, and coop was for chickens.I think I learned more in 2 months than in last 20 years. Now the result is..I ave bales of hay in my garden,( my neighbors say why?..I say because I can, never have and someone else did.) money flying out the door to co-op people I dont know, and orderd more plants than I ever have in my life. Now you know there probably all gonna show up in the same week and hubby is gonna need to take the kids somewhere for the weekend just so I can plant all this stuff. So if you could just hold that though for 2 years, I will be right there with ya.
Betcha its going to look awesome when I am done. (I hope)
Thanks,
chris :)
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 12, 2007
3:20 AM

Post #3272324

Hehehe...too funny, Chris!

Love it! (and you love gardening, I can tell!)

Best to you!

Shoe
chris_lcf530
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 12, 2007
3:35 AM

Post #3272370

Yes I do Shoe, just never knew how much. I always enjoyed being outside weeding and playing around but never knew what my yard could actually become, now I have visions and dont even want to sleep. I will relax next year.
chris
Wvdaisy
Buffalo, WV
(Zone 7a)

March 12, 2007
4:07 AM

Post #3272451

I remember feeling the same way when I was a newbie and boy have my gardens changed since then! One big word of advice. Solidly tag all your plants with their name and cultivar. That way when you get into trading plants with others on DG, and believe me you will, you'll have something folks with established gardens and plenty to share want. Another safeguard you can do if you have a digital camera take pics of all your plants at different stages of growth and put them in your journal online. I try to do all my plants that way though usually fall behind in spring and summer then catch up adding new plants to my journal in the winter. Feel free to take a look at my journal, others do theirs differently so look around. The journal has helped me ID so many of my plants when a tag has been lost or faded. Sorry to get so OT folks :~)

Lana
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 12, 2007
6:00 AM

Post #3272579

Kent, I think the sawdust thing is a great idea to try. You know one of the ways some people do with tomatoes they plant in a bag of planting mix? Same idea except for, of course, the difference. Now isn't that a profound statement. hah!! As Shoe would say. LOL

Instead of a bushel basket, which you all must have plenty of, there must be something else, like a large plastic bag? Not a trash bag. Too thin. Guess we'll have to think on it. However, don't lose track of the great things about the strawbales. i.e. no weed, no hoe, and no??? Come on Kent!! LOL

Night. Jeanette
PERRYLAWRENCE
SARANAC, NY
(Zone 4a)

March 12, 2007
11:51 AM

Post #3272760

Kent & Group
For those who are interested; perhaps the premier "sawdust" as a growing medium site around is the Mitteleider gardening site: They have a group in the Yahoo groups with extensive postings (even bigger than strawbale!) - The business side of their operation is found at - foodforeveryone dot org - There is are links to their stuff in the Garden Watchdog section of Daves under "the food for everyone foundation" - They use sand & fresh sawdust mixed 1 to 3 and what essentially is MG to provide the nutrients - It definately works & like bale gardening weeds are few & far between and bugs seldom seen - you do however have to bend down... enough said, if you are interested, look it up! perry
(Kent - Retirement is a good thing -I Love it :)) - We still have 30" of snow on the ground)
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 12, 2007
3:35 PM

Post #3273322

Jeanette: OK, class, repeat after me... no weeding, no hoeing, no TILLING! :-)

Perry: well, praise be, fella, you have returned! Retirement must really be as great as you said since we haven't heard from you in ages. Thanks for the good info. Welcome back.

Kent
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 12, 2007
5:51 PM

Post #3273693

LOL, thanks Kent. I do think it helps to have it repeated once in a while for newbies. Especially the ones who ask why we use the bales rather than dirt. You don't have to sell me on the strawbales.

Perry, I bought the nutrients from Food For Everyone last year. It was late in the year so I didn't get to try them. I plan to use them with the strawbales this year. I'm anxious to see how they do.

Jeanette
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 12, 2007
8:54 PM

Post #3274189

Shut my mouth; I should have been a little more secretive.
Kent I will be trying several gardening tecniques. The good old dirt, Strawbales. and the word we are not talking about.Ha I will share as things progress. Be forewarned I've never been good at keeping records, Will try lol.
I did have fun with my 6 an a 1/2 lb. sweetpotato this last season though. I finally brokdown and cut it up yesterday. Way too much for a 2 person meal. Saved the top though, as it has some little sprouts starting. Going to try force some slips, may not have to buy any this year. Has anyone tried to have sweet tader vines on fence or trellis? I've been thinking it should work. and will try some this year.
Russ
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 12, 2007
10:30 PM

Post #3274433

Russ: it's going to be great hearing from you this year, I can tell!

I do encourage you to take some digital photos, if possible, and keep a diary here at DG.

Kent

Lilypon

Lilypon
Moose Jaw, SK
(Zone 3b)

March 13, 2007
12:26 AM

Post #3274743

Kent can you grow long season (140 day) Squash there? If so do you have problems with Squash bugs?
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 13, 2007
1:49 PM

Post #3276429

Lilypon: Sorry, I have no experience with the squash you're asking about. I don't see why you couldn't. The bales certainly hold up that long. I'll leave your question out for the group.

Kent
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 13, 2007
2:14 PM

Post #3276514

All: I received this email yesterday and I'm posting it verbatim. This is what it's all about. Sharing ideas. Learning from each other. Doesn't get any better than this.

Hi Kent,
I used your method of gardening last year And I LOVED IT. I had a lot of friends ask me about it and they are all going to try it this year. They all thought that I was Crazy when they seen the bales in a big circle in the back yard.

But once they seen how wonderful it looked and all the veggies I had, way before there traditional gardens were producing anything ha ha they realized I wasn't as crazy as they had thought. my phone has been ringing off the hook from most of them wanting to know how it was done.

Thank you so much for this wonderful idea! And my husband thanks you too, no more tilling up a spot for him.
RuTemple
San Jose, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 13, 2007
4:09 PM

Post #3276944

Kent, that's great to hear - and true for so many of us who followed along here for the first time last year.
I've got winter plants, new potatoes, and a few different kinds of greens going strong in last year's bales, in what laughingly passes for "winter" here where the city motto since 1925 has been, I kid you not with arches across the two ends of the little downtown stretch of Broadway, "Climate Best by Government Test" in Redwood City. We also had the first of this year's new artichokes off the plant that's greening strong again, t'other week.

Lilypon - I grew long season gourds last year, and they did fine; sprawled every direction across the yard (I let them have grass under them); I saw no beetle bugs, but one generally gets one season free, right? What I found is that gourds and squash grow just fine in the bales, and if you want to trellis them up, set up your trellis at the same time (or before!) you set the plants into the bales, or like me, you'll turn around and need to jump back as things Grow and sprawl. the only pest I'm finding is that we need to put out sluggo on the bales this year; the rotting-down bales give purchase to the no-shell-mollusks. In the first year, they were content to hang around Under the scritchy bales. They haven't got the idea yet this year.

San Mateo county has just this year started a Master Gardeners program, and someone's giving what they hope will be an interactive talk coming up on the 20th. I think I'll take in a few large pix of last year's bales...

This message was edited Mar 13, 2007 9:49 AM

This message was edited Mar 17, 2007 8:52 PM
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 13, 2007
4:34 PM

Post #3277020

Kent; Thank you for the encourgment, with the new strawbale gardeners letter.
Lilypon. I think Kent could grow the 140 day squash. //// Would he have a problem with squash bugs??
I believe any time you have squash or pumpkins they are attracted. and they need to be controled. Squash bugs do fly. They don't like liquid seven. nor do they like soap spray, like dawn dish derturgent and water.
If I keep at them, I see a few all the time but I don't see all the baby squash bugs. I don't know if using the strawbale system would make the difference. Someone else may have that answer.
As for here in zone 4, 140 day anything would be subject to frost before harvest , not always but I try to stay with 70 to 80 day anything. Sometimes we can get by with raising black diamond watermellons I believe they are 100 day.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 17, 2007
2:22 AM

Post #3290499


Well, after thinking about the sawdust vs strawbales, and my arthritis, the strawbales won hands down. Also, I had forgotten about those lousy slugs. With the new strawbales last year I didn't have to worry ab out them. Guess they didn't like the stickery ends of the straw. (I turned my bales with the strings up) I might have a problem if I decide to re-use the bales this year. Still covered with snow so I don't know if I can.

I can just see those slimy things eating into any produce on the ground. Possibly not squash and melons. That reminds me about the melons, I found a very small melon about the size of a softball that looks like and tastes like cantelope. I will grow those on the cattle panel trellises with the cucumbers.

As to the strawbales winning because of my arthritis, I can't get down on the ground so having them up in the air is wonderful. Knew there was a reason I love the strawbales. Any of you that try the other things let me know how they do.

Jeanette
Gwendalou
Langley, WA
(Zone 7b)

March 17, 2007
9:14 PM

Post #3292853

Jeanette, what is the variety name on those melons that taste like cantelope?
Thanks,
Gwen
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 18, 2007
1:42 AM

Post #3293544

Gwen I have no idea. I will ask her but I doubt she knows. I don't know where she got them. I will try to find out though. They were awfully good. We have such a short season that I think if I put visquine over them that maybe I can get them to ripen.

Jeanette
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 18, 2007
10:45 AM

Post #3294154

I too would be very interested, as there are just the two of us, and a regular size cantelope. we usually cut into quarters. Being able to raise them on a fence or cattle panel without having to suport the mellons would be great.
I saw a small vine peach, in Burgess catalog. I remember them from when I was a little person. I would eat two or three right out in the garden. I would order them except their shipping is over $8.00 for anything under $20.00 .
Gurneys has one called gurneys Li'l sweet that is a 1 1/2 - 2 lb. fruit. I saw one more in another catalog called crem la crem that wasn't really a mellon. can't find it right now. gotta get ready for church so look later.
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 18, 2007
2:37 PM

Post #3294816

Well this only proves that the mind is the first to go.. I found the cre`me de la cre`me. in burpee's but it is a 5 - 8lb. mellon. But Burpee's has a breakfast long keeper that is a 2 1/2 - 3 lb. mellon.
Think I will stand by to see if the name is found.
Would really like to try the vine peach but I don't want to pay that much freight and handleing.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 18, 2007
3:25 PM

Post #3294965

Gwen & Rand, send me your addresses by D-mail and I will send you some. I have enough to share and then you will have to remember to save the seeds for yourself next year. LOL

Jeanette
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 18, 2007
4:04 PM

Post #3295099

No, she didn't know because she just bought the melon at the farmers market. Does anyone know if these seeds I have will come back as the one I ate, or will they revert back to the original?

Jeanette
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 18, 2007
4:55 PM

Post #3295278

If it is a hybrid it may revert, however I don't believe all varieties revert rapidly. But then I don't know for sure. You always hear that they do.
Sending you a Dmail
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 19, 2007
9:50 AM

Post #3297416

According to my Master Gardening manuel, melons, squashes, pumpkins and cukes...all have a tendancy to not come true from seed. If more than one variety is fin flower at the same time, you are likely to get some interesting crosses.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 19, 2007
3:39 PM

Post #3298476

Strange, I wonder how they "guarantee" the seeds they send out from all of these seed catalogs then?? I should have looked in my MG book. I didn't take the course, just bought the book, so I will look at it. Thanks.
RuTemple
San Jose, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 19, 2007
4:01 PM

Post #3298546

Large fields of the same thing, I would imagine, Jeannette. Similar to how peppers are insect-pollinated, and if you have different things flowering at the same time in the same yard, you'll get crossovers in the seeds the resulting fruits/veggies produce.
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 19, 2007
4:47 PM

Post #3298681

Yup one of our neighbors ( along time ago) planted watermelon and cukes next to each other.
You guessed it, The melons were a total waste. well he could have pickled them OK? LOL
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 19, 2007
8:10 PM

Post #3299516

So you are saying that if I plant my cucumbers and the melons on the same cattle panel they will crossover. Never thought of it that way. I was thinking more of their seed being the culprit.

Jeanette.
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 19, 2007
9:08 PM

Post #3299758

Blame the honey bees. and the wind, Cross polination does it.
randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 19, 2007
9:10 PM

Post #3299765

Check with Farmerdill. I'm sure he could add to this.
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 19, 2007
10:49 PM

Post #3300184

All: Our group is growing (I love it!) and we're having great discussions.

I should have brought this up b4 now, but how about a concensus on when we start a new thread? Since there are some using dial-up I understand once we get in the high 100's, it takes a long time to load.

Jeanette did a great job by getting #7 going. I did the first six.

I suggest starting a new thread at a max of 150 to help out the dial-up folks. If you want to do it at less, that's fine, too.

I don't care who does it as long as all the other parts are posted in the beginning so we can maintain an easy way to go back to our archived discussions.

I'll volunteer unless someone else prefers the job.

Kent

randbponder
Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

March 19, 2007
11:31 PM

Post #3300350

I will pray that someone that knows how. will do it. I hate to admit defeat but this computer is only as smart as the person taping the keys. LOL
dmac085
Greensboro, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 19, 2007
11:57 PM

Post #3300433

So...on to Part 8 =D
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 20, 2007
2:24 AM

Post #3300685

PLEASE Kent, you do it!!!! It was nice learning how, with the help of Shoe, he is great isn't he. Anyway, I learned how but had enough. I see we are at 123, but really, I think 150 is too much. It is taking a while and when people start posting pictures it is really going to get rough.

Jeanette
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 20, 2007
9:43 AM

Post #3301225

OK, I'll be glad to do it. We'll just set the cut-off around 120. I'll go ahead and start Part 8. Give me a few minutes until I get it up and running.

Kent
KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

March 20, 2007
9:51 AM

Post #3301249

This subject is continued at Part 8: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/703545/

Please post future posts there. Thanks.

Kent

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Other Strawbale Gardening Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Straw bale gardening: no weeding, no hoeing, no tilling KentNC 274 Oct 18, 2009 1:58 AM
Straw Bale Gardening LauraK 49 Apr 2, 2008 12:02 AM
Straw Bale Gardening (Part 8) KentNC 114 Apr 2, 2007 5:32 PM
Straw Bale Gardening (Part 9) KentNC 124 Apr 21, 2007 12:39 AM
Straw Bale Gardening (Part 10) KentNC 104 May 2, 2007 9:27 AM


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