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Strawbale Gardening: Straw Bale Gardening

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LauraK
Matthews, NC

March 13, 2007
3:31 PM

Post #3276789

I'd like to know what veggies grow best in straw bale gardens.
I'd love to hear for other straw bale farmers... this will be my first year trying this process.

jeri11

jeri11
Central, LA
(Zone 8b)

March 13, 2007
3:41 PM

Post #3276842

Hi Laura, Welcome to MSG so glad you found us!!!

I know nothing about straw bale gardening but I think Justfurkids is doing it. I'm sure Carol will be along in a little bit to welcome you to the pack.

Jeri
shadowgirl
Moscow, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 13, 2007
5:48 PM

Post #3277245

I am going to do straw bale gardening this year. Tomatoes are supposed to do well. Have you read much on it, if not then I will find a link to some infomation I saw on it.

Loretta
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 14, 2007
5:17 AM

Post #3279394

Hi LauraK and welcome to midsouth gardening forum! I am watching this thread
http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/694756/
and have read all six that came before it. Also watching strawbaleman's garden diary, so anytime he makes an entry I can look to see what he has done. There is alot of info to absorb!

Yes Jeri, is correct...this will be my first year. I have 4 bales devoted to tomatoes. Some people put weedblock fabric down before they place their bales and some don't I think I'll do cardboard as it will be decomposed nicely at the end of the season. Then once your bales are placed, I think the first step is to get the bales cooking with lots of water and ammonia nitrate. Just put some down when I planted the blueberries so I happen to have some handy. When does THAT ever happen I ask you? lol

Also if you're doing tomatoes on a trellis (highly recommended) put that in before the plants go in and provide plenty of strong support. I love the pic strawbaleman posted of his tomato tunnel grown on a section of fencing material (just make sure you can get your hand thru to pick). Will see if I can find it for you and post (credit goes to strawbaleman)

When you can stick your hand in the bale and it no longer feels outrageously hot, plant your seedlings. And keep it watered.

carol




This message was edited Mar 14, 2007 12:22 AM

Thumbnail by justfurkids
Click the image for an enlarged view.

justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 14, 2007
5:18 AM

Post #3279396

Support had to be added later here as the tomtoes grew together...again the pic is strawbaleman's

All I can say is WOW

This message was edited Mar 14, 2007 12:19 AM

Thumbnail by justfurkids
Click the image for an enlarged view.

justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 14, 2007
5:21 AM

Post #3279400

Last pic of strawbaleman's - Here are his cukes

ok now who else is going to try this with Loretta and Laura and I? hmmmm...? LOL

carol

This message was edited Mar 14, 2007 12:23 AM

Thumbnail by justfurkids
Click the image for an enlarged view.

slcdms

slcdms
Ripley, MS

March 14, 2007
2:48 PM

Post #3280133

I wanted to try it too, but can't find any hay around here, everyone tells me they didn't cut enough for the winter as we had such a dry summer last year. I might have to wait until next year to try it.
Sandra
Fitsy
Hayesville, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 14, 2007
4:32 PM

Post #3280464

You should know by now that I'm going to try
most whatever you'uns hold up at me -
though I did draw the line at the chainsaw
sculpture!

True, Sandra, hay is scarce - and expensive
now.

But before I run out and hunt some: question:

Are we talking about hay that cows eat, or
are we talking about wheat straw??
shadowgirl
Moscow, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 14, 2007
8:52 PM

Post #3281497

Look for landscaping straw bales. It is usually about 2.00 a bale. No need to buy feed grade bales. Sandra when I go get mine I will pick you up some on me and bring it to you when I get my bricks, cause I love you and you are my bud.

Loretta

slcdms

slcdms
Ripley, MS

March 14, 2007
11:15 PM

Post #3281942

Loretta, I will pay you for them, I only wanted 6 or so, I love you too and you are my bud too. When do you think you are going to get to come for the next load?
I am afraid my little melons are not going to make it, they look like they are on their last legs, maybe I should have taken them to Judys--lol
I called all around here and everyone was short on feeding their critters, I could probably get a round bale, but I don't think that would serve my purpose.
Sandra
FlowrLady
-South Central-, IL
(Zone 6a)

March 15, 2007
1:28 PM

Post #3283772

I've heard from some of the threads I've been lurking in that there wasn't a lot of straw/hay this year because of the hot dry summer we had last year.

Good luck on finding some good ones. Maybe you can check at the Extension Office. They might know who has some.

I wanna straw bale garden this year, too.
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 17, 2007
1:51 PM

Post #3291722

We got some from the co-op but I think they are feed quality strawbales as we paid 3.00 a bale. I used some for around my compost pile and now I only have 4 to try with the tomatoes. Will see if I can con DH into getting me more. I'd like to try it with cukes too. Wheat straw is apparently better than hay due to fewer weed seeds, but hay will work too. Sharon I think is going to be using a big round hay thingy.
tryliv
Booneville, MS

March 18, 2007
9:32 AM

Post #3293955

I'm going to try it, too, with some tomatoes and peppers. I've got hay bales we held over from last fall so I'm going to use them. I think I'll start seasoning them the first of April so they will be ready to go around the 15th.
We salvages some type of metal gating (its like hog wire except it is much stiffer) and I thought I would stand it up between the bales and use that for my support.

Terrye
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
10:18 AM

Post #3294082

Sounds like a cattle panel Terrye. Folks make hoop greenhouses out of them. Should work great for strawbale gardening! Can you make an arch out of it?
carol
shadowgirl
Moscow, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
4:51 PM

Post #3295267

3.00 a bale is'nt bad for a price. I might end up going to the co-op too. Would'nt you know it, this Sunday there was not one ad for bales of hay. darn.

Loretta
tryliv
Booneville, MS

March 18, 2007
8:07 PM

Post #3295871

I was planning to put it up straight , but it should arch. Those pictures you have of that tunnel look great...I may have to try that.
I will be super delighted if my tomatoes get that big.

Terrye
bigred
Ashdown, AR
(Zone 8a)

March 19, 2007
6:54 AM

Post #3297033

I've got a dz. or so bales of hay that got wet in a big storm couple weeks ago and no longer good for feed.Think I'll give this a shot. No point in wasting the bales if they can be put to good use.

P
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 19, 2007
9:45 AM

Post #3297400

Oh good! I am looking forward to seeing your pictures Red. If anyone can do this right, I am sure its you!
Peggy's #1 fan
carol
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2007
9:51 AM

Post #3297421

Hay, now - what a good idea! My, uh, garden area is currently a big field of Johnson Grass - almost as tough as Bermuda to get rid of. Woo hoo! Now I have something to do with all those seeds I ordered, lol.
n2birds
Lakeland / Memphis, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 19, 2007
12:13 PM

Post #3297845

Ok, I have a stupid question. Are most straw bales wheat ? That guy Carol posted the info on stated to use wheat or oat bales. When you buy somewhere like TSC will they know what the straw bales are made of ?

Yeah, I know that was 2 stupid questions.
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2007
12:45 PM

Post #3297945

Wasn't stupid at all - you're gonna hafta try harder than that.

Straw is what you get left with when the grain is taken off of the plant, so if you take wheat off, you get wheat straw, etc., etc.

You learn your lesson quick when you use hay instead of straw - when you get a bunch of hay in your garden the next year - now *that* was stupid, lol!!!
n2birds
Lakeland / Memphis, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 19, 2007
1:00 PM

Post #3297981

Thanks PC - so you are saying that most "straw" bales ARE wheat ?
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 19, 2007
1:03 PM

Post #3297993

Sharon said a while back that if you start getting hay (or any undesirable weeds) in your garden just add pile on more hay. Also don't see why you couldn't use a pre-emergence before you puut down hay, or even weedblock...or newspaper...or cardboard. I say use whatever you can get, but strawbales seem to be the prefered material.

Sheryl are you planning on planting SEEDS in your haybales? I haven't seen anyone write about that. I think its supposed to be plants...and find a way to automatically water these things because they need to get soaked on a daily basis. I think otherwise we'll all spend our entire summer standing there with a hose cursing the day we ever heard of strawbale gardening.

Oooops...Came in to do a receipt for a customer and Dennis went out and stole my tractor! The nerve... lol ...Just kidding. It's nice to have him home again. (He is picking up both my GH and Sharon's tomorrow in Jackson while I go the the dental surgeon. So I expect I will be both happy and sore tomrorrow.)

carol
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2007
5:56 PM

Post #3298939

Not necessarily wheat - I think it probably has a lot to do with what is grown in your area.

No, Carol - I used hay to condition my soil in Phoenix one year with semi-disastrous results. But I'm currently putting up a fair amount of seed in my bio-domes with incredible (for me) results. They're all flowers and herbs, so veggies are the next experiment!
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 19, 2007
6:32 PM

Post #3299104

yes was quite impressed with the bio-domes too. Hope Sharon sees your hay warning. I'll tell her when I see her. I am playing it safe and sticking to wheat straw.
carol
bigred
Ashdown, AR
(Zone 8a)

March 20, 2007
7:49 AM

Post #3300869

awwww..jfk,ya make me blush*G*

P
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 20, 2007
10:17 AM

Post #3301337

Carol, just an FYI from the original post by Strawbaleman - "You can start your garden with seeds if you use some topsoil on top of the bales, but I transplanted all of my vegetables from flats and trays purchased from local nurseries."

I'm still shooting for the Bio-domes, but maybe if I have extra room (now that I know I can't do my corn there, sniff) I'll try direct seeding. Why not...
FlowrLady
-South Central-, IL
(Zone 6a)

March 21, 2007
2:49 PM

Post #3305668

So, Carol, how are you after your dental surgery? Is it gonna affect your weed pulling on Friday???
Riverland
Northeast, LA
(Zone 8a)

March 21, 2007
10:30 PM

Post #3307189

They must have knocked her for a loop cause I've never seen her quite this long. LOL

slcdms

slcdms
Ripley, MS

March 22, 2007
8:16 AM

Post #3307897

I d-mailed Carol yesterday and she is in quite a bit of pain, under docs orders to not do anything for 4 to 5 days, so she has to miss all the fun.
Maybe she will show up today.
Sandra
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 22, 2007
4:42 PM

Post #3309281

here I am. Didn't think so many people would notice I was gone. lol
Stuck inside doing office work for Dennis and still can't close my jaw or eat solid food. Getting sick of yourt shakes so I had some chicken and rice soup and split it with Big Mac.

Weed party is out. :-( Looking forward to the pics.

Sheryl - you go girl! Good luck with the strawbale seeds!
bigred
Ashdown, AR
(Zone 8a)

March 23, 2007
8:06 AM

Post #3311082

jfk,
OUCH! I had gum surgery some years back but I still remember it like it was yesterday.

P
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 23, 2007
9:58 AM

Post #3311431

Well, still gotta get the straw...lol.

Feel better soon, honey...
babs4garden
Semmes, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 23, 2007
1:39 PM

Post #3312013

Hi, I find this very interesting and was wondering where I could get more info on the subject. I have never heard of it. Thanks for the help.
Barbara
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 26, 2007
7:34 PM

Post #3323238

Hi Barbara and welcome to Misdsouth Gardneing Forum. We're real friendly here so I hope you stick around to make some new gard'nin friends! Most of us are trying this for the first time too this year. I first heard about it from Strawbaleman a DGer that has huge success with it. He is a Sherrif's Deputy in North Carolina and a real nice guy. So far there are 7 long long long threads about it...but nearly every question you can think of has been addressed. So get yourself a cup (or a pot) of coffee and settle in to do some reading. lol Here's the info entitled [quote]Straw bale gardening: no weeding, no hoeing, no tilling[/quote] How's that for an eye catching title? lol
http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/584625/

Do try it with us and keep us posted about your results. And again welcome!
carol
babs4garden
Semmes, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 29, 2007
2:54 PM

Post #3333187

Hi Carol, thanks so much for the info. and the welcome. I enjoy the forum so much. It makes me feel at home. I am from Corinth, MS but have been in Mobile for over 50 years. I guess Corinth will always be home. lol. I think we will try at least one bale to see how it works. Thanks again
Barbara
FlowrLady
-South Central-, IL
(Zone 6a)

March 29, 2007
3:57 PM

Post #3333374

Welcome Barbara. We hope you'll stay and be one of us. -- Pat
babs4garden
Semmes, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 29, 2007
6:52 PM

Post #3333976

Thanks Pat

Barbara
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 31, 2007
9:11 PM

Post #3341333

You are quite welcome Barbara. (That's my momma's name. Barbara Josephine but if you really want to get her going, call her Bobby Joe lol) I just drove thru Corinth this week. Lovely area! Beautiful time of year to be driving anywhere in the south. I've never been to Mobile but I have family in Alabama and they love visting your fair city and speak highly of it.

I have those bales and haven't started heating them up. Bad Carol! Who has started theris? We need to inspire one another here!

carol
babs4garden
Semmes, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 31, 2007
9:57 PM

Post #3341470

Well Carol I can relate to your Mom. My name is Barbara Ann and I really dont like to be called that. Yes, Corinth is a pretty place. Especially in the fall when all the trees turn yellow and gold. Mobile is really pretty now with all the azaleas blooming. I think they are prettier this year than they have been in a long time. Because we have not had any rain to knock off the blooms. I will try to make some pics and put on forum if I can get my grandson to help me do it.lol I am not too good at some of the functions of this puter.
Mobile is an ideal place for plants, if you get the ones that like the heat and humidity and there are lots of them down here. We just had the Festival of Flowers which is a nice event. It is usually in March each year followed by the Mobile Botanical Gardens plant sale. there are a lot of old gardens here. Love to have you come visit.

Barbara
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

March 31, 2007
10:33 PM

Post #3341600

oh my...now that does sound like fun! How nice of you to invite me! I can usually get a few of our fellow midsouth DGers to join me in a road trip. In fact we may be headed down to Huntsville to visit with Elaine (outsideplaying) before too long. We'll keep you posted about that date and perhaps you can join us.

Next up for most of us though is the Tupelo Round Up May 5th. Do check out those posts and perhaps we can convince you to come. I promise you'll leave loaded down with goodies!
http://davesgarden.com/forums/f/region_mids/
carol
FlowrLady
-South Central-, IL
(Zone 6a)

April 2, 2007
9:23 AM

Post #3346344

Carol, I love Mobile. I've been there a few times. They have a knock-dead killer flea market near the Trent Jones golf course. I spent a whole day there once. Plants, plants, plants, flowers, flowers, flowers, veggies, food, stuff, junk... and there are a lot of tropicals because it's a coastal area.

And if you get to Mobile, you might as well go down the east side of the bay to Foley. It's probably an hour or so (?) from Mobile. There are jillions of nurseries, antique stores, and interesting places along the way. When you get there, I believe there's a mall there. AND, they've got a Lambert's Throwed Rolls Restaurant there. And just south of Foley is the Gulf... AAaahhhhh I've had wonderful trips to the Mobile area :) (Can you tell?)
babs4garden
Semmes, AL
(Zone 8a)

April 2, 2007
9:45 AM

Post #3346407

Well the invite is for whoever would like to come. The flea market is just up the road from me. It is large all right-has about everything. The plants are nice. I got a hummingbird plant and a butterfly bush a couple weekends ago. I live in the back door of lots of nurseries. I am as close to the country as I can get and I love it. As the old saying goes you can take me out of the country but you cant take the country out of me. lol
If you haven't been to Foley in a while- it has really grown. I don't get over very often. They have a huge discount shopping center there.
Barbara
FlowrLady
-South Central-, IL
(Zone 6a)

April 2, 2007
9:52 AM

Post #3346414

Barbara, okay. The next time I might get to go there, I'll look you up. I LOVE the back doors of nurseries!!!
Shasta8
Saltillo, MS
(Zone 7b)

April 7, 2007
10:41 AM

Post #3364869

Any idea where I can find some straw bales around Tupelo MS? Lowes, Home Depot, Tractor Supply, Phillips, and Mid-South Nursery don't have any. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Also, about how big (sq ft on top) are they? If I ever find any, I need to estimate how many to get. I want to put a garden about 3 bales deep all along the back of my house.
FlowrLady
-South Central-, IL
(Zone 6a)

April 7, 2007
10:54 AM

Post #3364913

Shasta, check with some of the farmers, or go to your co-op. If it doesn't have any, they will probably know where to send you.



This message was edited Apr 7, 2007 9:55 AM
justfurkids
Toone, TN
(Zone 7a)

April 11, 2007
9:45 PM

Post #3381292

Hi Michelle! Fancy seeing you here! Where ever have you been keeping yourself? I got my bales at the co-op. ALso check the feed stores. You have to ask, as they frequently are stashed out of sight.

Good Luck!
carol
SuzanSkylark
Pipersville, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 1, 2008
2:48 AM

Post #4738350

Are y'all going to try the bale gardening this season (hay or straw)? I'm from PA and have been emailing and reading all the blogs on the subject and am so psyched about gardening again. Read your posts from last year and thought I'd see if I could find out what YOU ALL found out!

Also, with potential water shortages, we should all keep rain barrells around (with BHT discs to keep the skeeters down!) I'm going to try some hay and some straw, to see what works best (and also because straw's scarce here this spring).

Happy spring! Suzan
FlowrLady
-South Central-, IL
(Zone 6a)

April 1, 2008
2:19 PM

Post #4740080

Suzan, good luck. Keep us posted on how it's going, okay?
deanna8
Raeford, NC

April 2, 2008
12:02 AM

Post #4742969

Last year was my first time with the bales.You can use any straw just not pine straw.If you get any grass sprouting on your bales just cut it off with a knife or scissors.The watering is not that bad just don't let them dry out but don't over water.(This pertains to after they are cooked(ready)to use.I grew tomatoes,squash,zucchini and green peppers and eggplant.This year I plan to have 30 to 50. $3.00 is a pretty good price. Most places they are about 4.00.Lowes has wheat straw, here it is $4.25 I believe. I don't know alot but from what I saw last year I Iiked it, still learning.I have some cool weather things growing now. Broccoli and brussel sprouts. For the cool weather I put mine on boards that I put on cinder blocks so I would not kill all the grass. Last summer I had them on the ground.I follow Beg Veges,Tomatoes, etc forums to figure out the fertilizers to use. deanna

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