Dumb newbie question here. I have 14 straw bales - 10 I purchased at HD 2 1/2 weeks ago, and 4 purchased at Lowe's a week ago. I started prepping the 10 bales right away and the others after I got them situated. I keep reading where the bales get hot and start cooking inside. I don't see this happening with mine. I do see that the older bales are getting a kind of slumped look down the middle and looking rather gray, also sprouting green stuff. If I push on the top, the straw will "give" much more than on the newer bales. When I water the older bales, the water no longer seems to run out the bottom as quickly as it did before nor as quickly as it does with the newer ones. Are they cooking/cooked and I just missed it or (more likely) don't know what I'm looking at?
Temps are in the high 70s here now, and our last frost date is about April 8. So, I am anxious to get started planting my bales, but I don't want to do it too soon. I took a temp on the bales today with a soil thermometer and got a temp of 78-80 degrees about four inches down.
I'm in the PNW and I just called our local farm and garden place (not a lot of choices here) and they only sell barley bales. Should I drive a long distance to get the wheat? The barleys will be $7 a bale! I'm only going to do 3 tho. 1 with reg tomotoes, 1 with cherry tomatoes, and 1 with the little melon/cantalope things.
Karen: what type of straw and what are you treating your bales with? And how often do you water?
Gwen: interesting question about the barley. I googled "barley straw" and got alot of articles about their effectiveness against pond algae as mentioned above. One article says that barley straw has no detrimental effect on other aquatic plants, other than the algae.
My guess is it'll work for bale gardening. Try a bale and see.
Thanks for the reply. They are wheat straw bales. I've been treating them with ammonium nitrate, and I water once a day thoroughly -- twice if I have the time. I've been trying to follow your 10-day instructions. They are looking "soft" down the middle, but, as I say, I expected to see or feel some heat and I haven't.
Do you think it is all right to go ahead and plant them anyway? Or should I keep treating them with water only for another week?
Karen: in the prep stage, only water when you're adding the ammonium nitrate. The extra watering brings the inside temp down. The higher the temp the more active the decomposition. Try letting the bales sit for a day or so without watering and see how they feel inside. If they start heating up, then just keep them damp until they cool back down. If they don't heat up, then plant when you're ready.
The bales I am getting have been out in the elements for a couple of months now. Do you think they have already cooked and I can plant right away when I bring them home?
I started some seeds last night in one of those little plastic mini green houses with the jiffy wafers in it. I planted 4 Aunt Gertie's Gold, 4 Burracker's Favorite, 4Dr. Wyche's Yellow, 4Galina's Yellow Cherry and 4 Yellow Brandywine. (Thanks a million, Earl !!!!!!) I also planted 4 California Wonder green bell peppers. Would love to harvest enough to stuff a few. Then I could stuff myself. LOL
If your bales were not stacked on each other, I would think they'd be ready to go.
By the way, I left all of my bales out over the winter to see how they would do. Alot would have been usuable if I had kept the wheat sprouts cut back.
Instead I just let them sprout and didn't give them any hair cuts. In doing so, the roots from the sprouts took up too much room inside the bale with a root ball that makes it harder to work with the bales.
This was especially aggravating when I was preparing my potato row and using a pitch fork to break up the bales.
Oh you guys!! I am so jealous!! We still have a little snow and here you are growing. They look wonderful. And those mushrooms look familiar. I never got any weeds or grain sprout in mine last year. Just the mushrooms.
Gwen & Rond, I got your seeds in the mail yesterday. Good growing!!
Another question for everyone - I found out I can get alfalfa bales or timothy bales or plain old straw bales or orchard grass (whatever that is). It occurred to me that with everyone using alfalfa 'tea' and pellets and whatnot for fertilizing, that maybe growing the tomatoes in alfalfa bales might kill two birds with one stone. What do you think?
I think it might be worth a try. We all felt that you will probably get a lot of seeds, but I don't know how bad it would be. Alfalfa is good nitrogen. If you don't get to growing it trhoughout your garden. I THINK alfalfa has a long tap root doesn't it? Don't know what to tell you.
Oh Boy!!! Thanks Darius. Guess you might want to re-think that idea Gwen. Now, what did you mean about the others? I kind of passed right over those when you started talking about alfalfa. What do you mean about plain old straw bales, Timothy, or Orchard Grass?
I think you would be better off going back to the "plain old straw bales". Does anyone else have something to tell Gwen?
See, this is why I ask!!! Lordy, 10 feet deep! That's all I need. Passing on the alfalfa, thank you very much.
I don't know what they meant by plain straw. I know timothy is a type of grass. And they also sell something by the bale they call orchard grass. (The timothy is a bale too.)
This is horsie country and they sell these for people who have horses.
I also have the name of someone in town (means a ferry ride across the sound), a place that sells bales,so I'm going to call them. I assume because they serve a larger area they will have more variety. Dang, who knew it would be so hard to get wheat bales?!?
Gwen, why are you specifically looking for wheat bales???? Why aren't you going with the plain strawbales? Last year I bought my first ones from a feed store and didn't ask what it was. I didn't get anything growing them but the mushrooms that I think everyone got. Then I got some from another feed store and didn't ask. I did get a few oats come up in them along with the mushrooms.
But, Gwen, I think you would probably get seeds with the Timothy and the orchard grass. So, if it were me I would go with the strawbales unless Kent says to definitly get the wheat. But, to drag bales of straw across on the ferry is really going beyond the call of duty. LOL
Gwen, I doubt you could get the alfalfa to grow significantly in your garden. I use alfalfa cubes, pellets, etc (and alfalfa hay when I had horses) and never had a pproblem. It takes a lot of work for an alfalfa farmer to get his crops to grow roots deep enough to come back every year. My alfalfa hay grower in NC was doing a pilot program for one of the state universities so my information on growing it came from him.
Well if that's the case, then maybe it would not hurt her to use it instead of the strawbale Darius. I think she was thinking that the nitrogen would be good for her plants. Correct me if I am wrong Gwen.
Yeah, I don't think she was actually planning on growing it.
Because I planted a huge amount of seedlings and don't have enough space in my raised beds, I will also be planting in about 100 straw bales. I will be planting primarily eggplant, bell, sweet and hot peppers.
How many pepper plants should I put in a bale? How about eggplant?
I would probably use alfalfa bales if I could get it for reasonable price, very spendy in this area as not a very good supply . The bales rarely have seeds of alfalfa because is baled before going to seed. I bought 2 bales of some kind of straw yesterday, at local feed/hardware store. they did not know what it was, very loose bales, so I wasn't really impressed, already had a larger wheat straw bale, probably weighs twice as much,. Anyway the three are lined up in a row on 10 layers of newsprint to keep the weeds down. Soaker hose ran 20 hours along center top. Will check today to see how they feel. Really too cold here to plant anything other than seeds in them. 29 degrees this morning. It is clear so should warm fast.
Okay, I'm jumping on the bandwagon, ordered 20 straw bales that are being delivered Tuesday. They are $4.00 a bale here in the Ozarks. We needed some straw to put over our newly seeded lawn anyway, so it was a good excuse to order extra for the veggies.
I had resigned myself to no veggie garden this year as we just built this house and moved in November, and the soil is terrible and would have required construction of raised beds. Thank goodness I stumbled across these threads, my problem is solved!
Thanks for the advice. I now realize my last post wasn't as clear as it should have been. I watered only with the ammonium nitrate once a day until it was time to stop the nitrate, then watered twice a day if I could. The last four bales still need nitrate for another day or so, then I will water without it. However, the older bales are really squishy when I stand on them, which I was doing yesterday while helping my grandson put up the wire hoops between the bales. I only weigh about 100 pounds so they would take my weight, but not much more than that. While I never did see heat or steam like others talk about, I do think they are decomposing, so I will plant next week as temps are already 75-80 here. In case I am wrong and they are not decomposed enough, I am planning to add some potting mix in with each plant. Time to get going, I think.
Man, I've been busy with double duty and out at the shooting range all day, today, for annual qualification. Just now breaking for lunch, so I thought I'd take a quick look. Alot to read!
Bronxboy: I did 3 peppers/bale and that worked out great. Be prepared to stake them. At least 2 eggplants/bale. 3/bale will be kind of tight. I've got a short row of potatoes going that I'm trying out this year. Still wating for them to come up. I'll check over the weekend and see what's happening. I want to see a pic of these 100 bales!
Gwen: I'm still convinced any organic bale will probably work. Cajun likes hay. I like straw, but it's what is grown in my area. With the straw you just don't have the nitrogen like you do in the hay and grasses. So you just have to think out what type of fertilizer to add to the bales.
MaryinLA: good to have you with us this year!
Donna & Darius: haven't said hello to you yet. The way things are going, we'll be in Part 88 by the end of summer!
alyrics: hadn't heard from you lately. Where are you? :-)
Oh Donna, everything in your yard looks so cold but I'll bet it is beautiful when everything is all leafed and blooming. I can just see it against those hills. Beautiful.
Your bales look good but you need to prep them before planting. Did you read the first part of the forum? It will probably take a couple of weeks in your cold weather. Ours looks as cold as yours only we still have snow here and there.
What did you end up paying for your bales and where did you get them?
I am trying to prep the bales now. Got two large wheat straw bales at Tonasket Feed Store, $5.50 each, last fall, used one for winter mulch protection. Got the other two at Oroville, hardware/feed store, smaller and don't know what they are composed of, store people didn't know, they are smaller and lighter.
So what are you going to put in them Donna? Wish I had mine. Altho, I think I started prepping mine the last week of April last year. But that is because that is when I found Kent's forum/thread, whatever. I don't think they decompose as fast when it is so cold tho, so I still have plenty of time. I am going to put the visquine over my hoop house soon and that will start warming the ground anyway. My old bales look like they are headed for the compost pile.
Maryin LA: yes, BigRed planted some onions last year, and had a good giggle when some newspaper article about strawbale gardening included a caution against growing things like corn (which makes sense, I could imagine them blowing over) and root crops (which doesn't make sense as it works great) -- I also put in a few bunching onions and they're doing fine.
I don't know about the corn blowing over. I planted corn, 3 to a 3 gallon bucket last year, and they did great. Got about 7 feet tall from the ground, and each plant had about 4 ears on it. It was Parks new Mirah or whatever. The ears are about 7 or 8 inches long. All filled out etc. However, I do confess. I pollinate them by running my hand thru the tassels and then rubbing it in the hair on each ear. Anyway, I would think that the bale of straw, especially if they are watered, would be heavier than a 3 gallon bucket of soil.
Mary: 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."
Jeanette: Those 3 gallon buckets full of soil or whatever you had in it does alot better job at holding that corn than a bale would. Corn may grow well in bales, but I don't think corn will have a chance standing up without being staked or tied some way. The wet bales may weigh more but they just don't provide the stability/anchor that soil and a flat-bottom bucket does, especially as they decompose through the season. I had to stake my peppers or they started looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Same for the okra.
Of course, I'm talking straw. Cajun with his hay, may have seen better anchor-holding-ability.
Kent, did you have to stake your peppers and okra, or the bales? btw, were you able to use, re-use any of your 2nd year bales for tomatoes? I think maybe the 2nd year bales could be used for smaller things like the spinaches, lettuce, etc. Maybe even cabbages since they get a long tap root don't they? They might even anchor a 2nd year bale.
My problem is that I want to have my bales in a different place so don't think they will be able to be moved except to the compost pile. They were just structurally unsound. However, I was surprised that the inside of my bales were not decomposed as much as I thought they would be. Do you know why that would be?
Jeanette: if you keep the grass/wheat cut back on the bales and they haven't caved in too much, yes, I believe alot of them will go 2 years. All of mine were rooted by alot of tiny roots and moving them will be problematic unless you're very careful.
I tried to see how easy it would be to move a few and I really had to pull to get them de-anchored (if that's a word) and put them in my wheel barrow all in 1 useable clump.
If I really wanted to go for 2 years, then I probably should have covered them with something. And it would certainly be cost-effective to get 2 years out of them.
I wonder if the wheat roots are what are holding yours together? On these particular bales that I am looking at, the only things I had grow besides my plants were mushrooms. Only snow in the winter. LOL Wonder why that is Kent. Why would I have nothing else grow on them? That was 4 bales that I got from one place, and they had the tomatoes on them, which were the best I have ever grown. I got 2 from another and had oats. Do you think maybe a different harvesting method got more of the seed from the grain out?
If you are going to use very many then, with the way the price is going up, it might be worth it to try to salvage them.
Jeanette: my guess on not having alot of growth on your bales is the wheat or oats were cut pretty clean and little was left in the bale to sprout. My daddy's bales were like that; virtually sprout free.
BB: Squash does great; I'm on a laptop so I don't have a photo, but go to my diary and you can see them there. I haven't done melons but they should do well, too, if you can accomodate the runners.
Some of my bales are just overrun with mushrooms now. I'm watering twice a day to keep the bales moist, but the mushrooms have just taken over. Does this mushroom explosion die down as the weather gets hotter? My herb bale is bubbling over with mushroom caps. This must be confining the roots. Does anyone have a home remedy or a fungicide recommendation? I appreciate any info.
Just knock them off. It might be hard to do if they are coming up in the middle of your herbs? What are the herbs? Will they get bigger than the mushrooms? If so, I would wait if it will hurt your plants to do it now, and then when they are bigger, like maybe parsley? Then knock them off and it won't hurt the plant.
Maybe take your gloved hand and do it unless of course, again, if it will damage your herbs, wait.
Kent, back to the type of bales. In a much earlier thread (first link), when you were talking about types of bales you had mentioned plain straw as one possibility but then you also said, "As long as the host bale is some sort of organic matter, then it should work." So would that mean that plain straw wouldn't work as it didn't have an organic host?
Remember, I am the one who has posted above about not having a whole lot of choices as to which types of bales.
I'm running out of time to condition my bales - please help.
Hi: I think you are getting too cought up in the "type" of bale - Go to the horsie set and ask if they have any "damaged", "dusty" or otherwise bales of hay unsuitable for horse feed, and buy a few...Use what you have available in your area, do not dwell on the specific kind of bale: The bale is the means to an end, the nitrogen treatment accelerates the decomposition process and provides nutrients to the plant - the fertilizer you add provides balanced nutrients to the process and the water, well that should be self-explanatory: Just go for it! perry
Gwen: I don't remember the "plain" straw remark, but Perry's right on target, use what's common in your area whether it's hay, wheat straw, oat straw, grass, or what not, just don't use Pine Straw. Totally different animal.
You'll do fine. Start a diary here at DG. I bet we'll be hearing all sorts of good reports about how well your garden is doing.
Perry: and a good morning to you my retired friend. Thanks for that concise reply.
All: Part of a recent email I received: "Hi! I enjoyed your article in Carolina Country, and I'd like to try straw bale gardening myself, since I am a cancer patient and am not able to get out and dig in the dirt."
Warms your heart to hear from these folks!
I also received this one: "Thanks so much! As it turned out, my husband went somewhere and they were perfectly happy to sell him ammonium nitrate--except they'd run out because SO MANY people had come in to buy it for their straw bale gardens :D Good job on the article, eh?"
I knew I should have bought some stock with the folks who make ammonium nitrate! :-)
I think the StrawBale Phenomenon is going great guns. Yesterday My SO was talking to our Waste Management man, and saw him looking at the bales on the hill. Joe was starting to tell him all about it, when he said, "No, I know what you're doing, my DIL grew tomatoes in them last year. Best tomatoes I've had". I'm hoping I have the same results. Do the bales stay hot as they decompose? I guess what I'm asking, is, if they've been hot, and cool off, are they ready to plant? Not that I'm impatient or anything, but it's been so warm here in SC, it seems that the little plants are trying to crawl out into the sun...
Margo: if you're pre-treating the bales then they will heat up and then cool back down and stay cooled.
For anyone who's interested, here's a pretty good article on the basics of decomposition. I posted one previously but it was really a little too technical. This one was alot easier for me to understand.
You know. It was here when we brought the property. We've been here almost 3 years.
Me and my wife are really laughing as we look at the picture. Never really saw it from this perspective before. It's really uneven isn't it?
My next door neighbor is an old-timer in the area. He told me the story of that shed about 2 weeks ago. Seems the previous owner helped out some old couple and they gave him the shed. The way he told it, it was an absolute mess and this guy cleaned it out and the couple gave it to him.
I always wonder how long the cinder block foundation will hold up.
Someone wise once warned me never to just "put it here for now" when moving into a new house because it will be in that same spot forever & a day. In that particular instance it was a papier-mache parrot we hung from a tree on the way in with boxes. I said no, no, I'll bring it in soon.
Danged if it didn't rot in that tree.
Can't wait to see how your bales look in a few months. I have 110 myself but am a little intimidated about putting them out because of some of my neighbors' attitudes. They already call me "the Psycho."
Hey Summerkid, just get a few of those stick ponies and put them around the bales. Go out in the morning and let out a loud whistle to call them in as you feed and water the bales.Lets give the neighbors something to talk about!
Weedlady, you have a terrific sense of humor. LOL Good idea.
I can't believe all the activity we are getting. It is wonderful. Love the pictures BB. Can't wait to see what you get out of those bales. And, I sure could put that shed to good use. Even if it is a little cockeyed.
"a little intimidated about putting them out because of some of my neighbors' attitudes. They already call me "the Psycho.""
Use it to your advantage. At least no-one will be trying to steal your Veggies, at least not for a while. I love the stick pony idea, I'd play it for all it's worth. Wear odd outfits and hats (the wilder the better). Move the ponies around, or lead them to the "feed", and be sure that the appropriate noises can be heard...
On a more serious and on topic level, has anyone direct seeded into "finished" bales? I'm debating on the cukes and squashie types, whether to start in pots, or just stick them in the bales. I think I'll try both, I have enough seeds, and it will keep me busy :).
Margo (AKA Crazy CatLady)
Weedlady and Catmad, you two have some really cool ideas for Summerkid. That is hillarious!!!
Catmad, yes there have been some I am sure that seeded direct into the bales last year. Hopefully they will tell you. Altho, there are a lot of last year's people that haven't been on here yet this year.
Why don't you go ahead and try it, you still have time to replant if it doesn't work, but do be sure and let us know how it goes.
I recently planted seeds in my last years bales. Just put alittle soil on top and sow the seeds. Make sure you keep that soil moist, because the sun can dry it out fast.
Here are a couple of pictures.
Oh, I called the cops when the drunk across the street set off some sort of dynamite, and I wander around in the morning with my coffee & bathrobe, plus I collect old Airstreams & have lots & lots of things like mulch & strawbales lying around & don't keep my dog in a cage.
"plus I collect old Airstreams & have lots & lots of things like mulch & strawbales lying around & don't keep my dog in a cage."
Hah~! If I wasn't a happily married man I'd fall in love with ya, summerkid! Love it! (Plus I need an old Airstream for a "guest room"!!
My bales (only two of them this year, for research!) have been at it for nearly 3 weeks now. Using blood meal I have measured the temps so far as ranging from 82 to 94, depending on depth. Dare I plant in them soon? I don't know but think I'll wait till I see the temps drop a bit.
(♫ Greeeen acres is the place to be... ♫ Farm living is the life for me... ♫ etc) *grin
So I'm off to a good start. Three plain straw bales got soaked through today with blood meal added. I hope to have them cooked enough to plant around 4/15, which is our last frost date, but may have to wait a few days since I got a late start.
Is that all? At least you wear a robe. I just do the gown. Airstreams are great. I would love to redo an old one for road trips. We have a group of ladies in this area that redo old trailers and go out on the road camping. They paint the outside with various art and it is great. As for my dogs "I have 5 " two outside when Im not home. UPS driver decided to open drive through gate to make a delivery. He got out and my dog got in his truck and would not let him back in. He called the sheriff. My neighbor heard it on her scanner and called me at work 40 miles away. She says "Frankie has taken over a UPS truck. You need to come home" .They waited till I got home to get the truck. The NO Trespassing sign does work. Now they pull to the gate and honk..The dog was doing nothing wrong!
As for mulch I have two mountains the electric company tree trimmers left me down by the road. Spring Break some kids took their grandads golf cart out in the night and thought they could drive over the mulch. I loved that one. As for pay back on dynamite I would blare Green Acres is the place to be. Farm livin is the life for me. At sunrise for days on of course. Good Luck P.S. I am kinda known also.
Hey Shoe, how you doin'? You sure do get around now don't you? Every once in a while I take a look at other forums, and by golly, there you are. Puttin' in your 2 cents worth!! It's fun to see what advice you are offering to the other folks around. Keep it up. Love it. (It's always good advice too)
Late night in the strawbales are kinda fun aren't they?
I am on day 8 of my prep time. First 3 days I just watered each day, 4th day I put a cup of bone meal on each bale and watered. Day 5 I just watered and day 6 I put half a cup of bone meal and watered. Day 7 I just watered and today I put half a cup per bale and watered. Before I treated today I took the temp of each bale and they ranged from 70 to a hundred degrees F. If there is any pattern it is that they are hotter at the NNW corner and cooler at the SSE corner. I somehow expected them to be further along in the decomposition stages. Are my expectations off? Is this the "norm"? Has anybody thought of how funny we look to old time farmers out there with our grass shears giving our bales a haircut? Here are my 9 bales, green hair and all!
Sandie, that is so funny. The way you took the picture it looks like a regualr bed. I never did take the temps of my beds last year but I would be pretty pleased with the ones you got. Especially using straight bonemeal.
Kent will probably be along soon and tell you what to expect from here on. I would think that they would get possibly a little warmer, not sure, and then cool off to plant.
One thing I was surprised by, and maybe Kent will know why, is that today I took last years bales apart to put them on the compost, and they weren't really very decomposed. After all that time and all the tomatoes I got off of them. But they weren't solid enough to re-use this year.
What kind of straw do you have Sandie? Oats, Wheat, or??? Or do you know?
Shoe, how old is your daughter? That is one thing that I think would be fun is working with the school kids in their raised beds. Have fun!!
I think they're wheat but of course when I went looking through my notes I couldn't find that info. I am gradually copying my notes in to my diary on DG so I can't lose the darn things. Hopefully I'll figure it out. That really is warm enough? I thought they got much hotter before cooling down.
I'm in Upstate SC, and I used blood meal. I got it at Walmart, and while there is some, ah, "aroma" it isn't too bad . It's been very effective, and I think next week (depending on the weather, of course) will see me starting to plant in them. The "last frost" date is still 2 weeks away, but I think it's safe, and I'll be able to cover if need be.
I miss typed. I'm using blood meal not bone meal. Sorry about the mistake. Temps today are between 72 and 84 degrees F. Many of my seedlings are out in a portable greenhouse in a protected part of the yard to begin to harden off. I'm keeping a close eye on weather temps.
Well, I went ahead and set my bales out today. One of neighbor's kids helped me get my trellis set up, and with the great weather today, I decided to get the bales going. No hurry to plant, but I'll watch the long range forecasts through the middle of April and go from there.
Planting string sides down this year for the first time. No reason, just being different.
Around 60 bales this year. Got 4 under the shelter I never got to.
Sandie: I'm not sure what makes some bales "cook" better than others. I had some bales last year that were 30 - 40 degrees different.
Just lined bales up the bales up this afternoon. 7 in each row and one in the end in the middle. for a total of 15 bales. Next I stuck 1/2" pvc pipe in the strings of each bale, outside strings. bent the pvc over to the other row and put in the outer strings. Thus making a mini row cover frame, to cover both rows , after I set plants out.
I will use 6 mill clear plastic for the cover.
I spread the Blood meal on the bales. but stoped there, as it started to storm. Rain and hail. Oh well I didn't mind. The good Lord decided to do the watering for me. Glad I didn't have anything out other than the garlic that had been out all winter, as the garden turned white from the hail. I guess I can say it's a start.
Still need to put the posts in for the cattle panels, for the cukes and the maters.
It's still early here, however with the row cover, as soon as the bales cook. I can start seting out some maters. This all new to me, but I like the idea.
I think I finally figured out why my bales didn't get hot -- although they did decompose fine. I was trying to water them "until the water ran out the bottom" which it never did. It ran out the middle, but not the bottom. So, I think what I did was water my ammonium nitrate right out of the bales. Maybe that's why the weeds around the bales look so happy.
I have 8 more bales to cook. Going to try a little different method this time. Water the bales thoroughly, then put on the ammonium nitrate, then water the AN in until it melts into the bales, and stop watering at that point. I'll see if I this helps the bales to get hot.
I got my hoophouse put together this weekend except for the ends. I took the bales from last year and am using them in the compost pile. I still don't have my bales as I am waiting for the local feed store to get them in. Her husband has another job so he has to go get them when he can.
The other place has bales but they are 3 string, so that tells me they are bigger than I want. Rand, I used 4 mil plastic on my hoophouse. I wonder what the difference will be other than, of course, 2 mil. LOL
Yes, Rand, Gwen asked that you post a picture. I am very curious. I will also when I get out to do it. Can I ask you Rand, why you did not use cattle panels rather than the pvc? Sure is fun the different things people are doing.
Gwen & Jeanette
I did take a picture, but with the thunder storm I unpluged our computer so did not down load any pics yet.
also The pvc is just a temporary thing to protect the tomato & pepper plants untill after our last frost date. and to help harden them off to withstand the temp changes and the wind. I will put up the cattle panels , after the last frost.
What my plan is, I will set the panels on top of the bales, attached to the posts on each end of the tomatoes. If I need to stake the peppers I have some rebar that should work for that job. Also looking back at one of Kents pics where the tomatoes made an arch, where he used, I think concrete wire . I have some left over hog wire, ( not as stiff as concrete wire) I will arch that from one row to the other, and I will once again use the pvc pipes to help hold the arch so the weight of the maters won't colapse the wire. I will have a 2x6 at the top of the cattle panels to hold the ends of the pvc pipes. I know a picture is worth a thousand words. so when I can get the posts put in and the boards up I will get pics of that also. The pics of bales and the pvc hoops, I should have down loaded later today.
I was trying to work ahead of the storm and now am thinking I could still go ahead put up the cattle panels. and use the bottom of the panel to hold the pipes for the mini dome. that would also work. Also the reason for a mini dome is less area to heat up . and easier hold the ground heat over night.
If I had tomatoes out last night they would have needed all the help they could get as it is now 8:15 and the temp is still 37 degrees, not too good for a young tender plant.
OK Church, Sunday School and Birthday party for 2 of our one year old great grand children, are all taken care of. Almost need a nap. lol
Now to see if I downloaded the pics, just two . one is a side view the other looks down the rows.
And one more looking down the rows.
But as I said I may go ahead and put the posts in and get the panels up before the bales have cooked. The rain did soak most of the bloodmeal into the bales. I think I will just wait till tomorrow to water it in the rest of the way. It may rain more tonight.
I have access to all kinds of. farm service, hardware, nurseries an so on. Just have to make the trip to the city. 25 miles away.
Between those stores I can come up with most any thing needed, of course I like to make some things my self. For several years I've been thinking it would be nice to have an irrigation system for the garden. I have several water tanks that I can use for holding tanks for water from the pond, to water the garden. Not too hard to figure out, but getting my ducks in a row is sometimes a problem. It seems that a few people know it's hard for me to say no. So I end up doing a lot of plumbing and electrical work, fixing some kind of gadget or another, instead of getting my stuff done. Oh well retirement really isn't boring. Now if I can throw fishing into the mix I'll be all set ha ha ha
Now as for the skid loader we could get into a skuffel over that. he he
Are you kidding about the squirrels. I have 5 walnut trees still alive, one got hit by lightning and blew bark all over the yard. I will be happy to get that one cut down as that one is / was at the one end of the garden. So that and the old shed and inclosure I had for chickens will be gone. Then I can square off the garden and that end of the garden will probably be used for the straw bales for a while as that ground don't grow some things very well because of the walnut tree.
Don't have my rain guage out yet but just heard that yesterdays rain was 2-1/4" That should have been a pretty good watering for the bales. The weather man is still cursing, he said we could have some "white rain" on Tuesday.
Russ, I just read a post about walnut trees and what they put out to discourage other plants from growing. I hate to be the one to tell ya but it says the roots will continue putting out that chemical for years :~( I'm pretty sure it's in the trees and shrubs forum. Tomatoes was one of the plants sensitive to the chemical the black walnut puts out.
Yeah I know that is why I thought that end would be for the straw bale garden. although there are quite a few flowers that do well under a walnut. but after a few years I would think that with the natural course of nature, like surface water soaking in and earth worm activity that eventually the top soil would clear up.
Somewhere in all the material I have looked up I have a list of plants that do well under a walnut. and no tomatoes is not one! lol
I have a ring around another walnut that I have as a partial shade garden. here is that pic, with corelbells, hostas, EEs, and even some jack in pulpit.
Ah Jeanette You did. The B part of this partnership uses this as much as I do.
In fact sometimes ( says something ) if she don't get her share of time on here. ha ha ha. But we did discuss weither or not to ask for the mellon seeds. So if sometimes you see it is signed with a B that is Barbara. We are both 70. I do most of the gardening, an I listen to her as what not to plantl LOL She hates shelling peas. so I don't plant too many. If you were able to come to the IARU in Cedar Rapids you could meet both of us. I guess you could say I'm the one that don't know how to spell some words and have trouble with commas. Sometimes she will tease me and ask, now who are you writing to?
The name is what DG gave us. R/and/B/ ponder. as we have a pond right off our patio. And yes I talk to the ladies as well as the men. I will even joke with either. Barb is a little more shy. but we get along great. Some times we sit together by this thing and just enjoy what someone else has done in their garden.
Hope we didn't confuse you too much. Russ
Jeanette: I was thinking the same thing about using "rand". Glad we cleared that up. It's Russ and Barbara from here on out.
Russ: The pic with the bales in the back yard and the almost treeless hill side threw me. Figured the whole countryside was like that, but I see quite a few trees from your last pic.
All: Bought some ammonium nitrate from Southern States today; the product's made by Green Charger Fertilizer Co, Richmond VA, 1-804-281-1000. 50 # bag about 10 bucks
My usual source didn't have any this year; said he couldn't get any; he had ammonium sulphate, but I'm not familiar with that, and I'm totally happy with the nitrate.
Anyway, I called another source who swore he had ammonium nitrate, but when I got to the store, it was ammonium sulphate. He chirped up his "expert" who said that you couldn't get ammonium nitrate any more, that "they" quit making it. You gotta watch those "experts".
That's when I went by Southern States who had plenty of the nitrate.
Now get this, the clerk requested my driver's license, which is no big deal because I know nitrate is regulated now. The cash register program wouldn't even let the clerk proceed with the transaction until she entered my name, address, etc.
Well, guess where the nitrate was stored? Outside the building next to all the other mulch and fertlizer products under NO supervision.
My point is that with all the rhetoric about how "bad" ammonium nitrate is and how you have to track the folks who buy it, but yet it's non-chalantly stored in an unsecure area.
Hey Russ/Barb, you didn't explain why you had to discuss asking for the melon seeds. Did you think you didn't want to try them? I do hope you like them.
And Kent, I too was wondering about the trees, or lack thereof. But that beautiful EE took the place of several. LOL I really like those things. Russ do you have to take them in in the winter? I suppose. Sure would like to make the IARU and meet you folks, but it is a bit out of the way goin' in to town.
Interesting about the ammonium nitrate Kent. That is what they told me also when I was trying to get some at the feedstore last year. Like it was some big deal to give them the info. (probably just use it for mailing lists for ads anyway) Got a kick out of the storage.
Kent, i saw your article in Carolina Country... it gave me hope. I'm a 71 year old transplant patient & the soil is toxic to me because of the mychorrhysal (sp)fungi. I stay immune deficient & I thought I would have to give up my beloved gardening...my son Rob is helpful, but I can't pull weeds or plant in the soil(he does that part), but I can water, feed, tie-up, & baby those plants all I want...straw bale sounds perfect...Could I put an edging of newspaper or weed cloth just around & slightly under the bales to keep from having to trim?
I will follow your directions from the article & have a great place for the bales, I'm starting with 9...it is not too late to start preparing them I hope...I am South of Charlotte, near the SC state line...
You sound like a wonderful bunch of folks & I'm thrilled to have found you...
Getting a new heart was great, but it was hard having the most fun thing in my life taken from me...wish me luck!