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Straw Bale Gardening

Matthews, NC

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.

Central, LA(Zone 8b)

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

Moscow, TN(Zone 7a)

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

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

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
Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

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
Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

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
Ripley, MS

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

Hayesville, NC(Zone 7a)

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??

Moscow, TN(Zone 7a)

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

Ripley, MS

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

-South Central-, IL(Zone 6a)

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.

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

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.

Booneville, MS

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

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

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

Moscow, TN(Zone 7a)

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

Booneville, MS

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

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

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

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

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

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

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.

Lakeland / Memphis, TN(Zone 7a)

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.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

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!!!

Lakeland / Memphis, TN(Zone 7a)

Thanks PC - so you are saying that most "straw" bales ARE wheat ?

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

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

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

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!

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

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

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

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

P

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

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....

-South Central-, IL(Zone 6a)

So, Carol, how are you after your dental surgery? Is it gonna affect your weed pulling on Friday???

Northeast, LA(Zone 8a)

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

Ripley, MS

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

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

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!

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

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

P

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

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

Feel better soon, honey...

Semmes, AL(Zone 8a)

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

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

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

Quoting:
Straw bale gardening: no weeding, no hoeing, no tilling
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

Semmes, AL(Zone 8a)

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

-South Central-, IL(Zone 6a)

Welcome Barbara. We hope you'll stay and be one of us. -- Pat

Semmes, AL(Zone 8a)

Thanks Pat

Barbara

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

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

Semmes, AL(Zone 8a)

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

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