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My first post. What is the best way to stake tomatoes in straw bales? Straw bale gardening is new for me this year- read a lot prior to starting. It looks great so far. Tomato plants are 10-12" high. Thanks for any help. I'm in NC.
currjejr wrote "What is the best way to stake tomatoes in straw bales?"
I put fence stakes on the sides of the bales, and attached field fencing to that. For me stakes have never been enough, but I'm growing big, indeterminate plants, so that may be different. My bales are hay, and decomposing pretty fast, so I don't think they'd hold stakes up, unless they were well into the ground, as well. I put the fence on the east side, as my predominate winds are out of the west, hoping they would be better supported. This is my first attempt, so may be all wrong:) The Strawbale forum has some good pictures in the early threads.
Great picture, catmad! A good friend of mine recently converted to "bale gardening" exclusively for her veggies, and that picture clearly demonstrates her reason. Hard not to notice all the happy, healthy weeds running along the base of the bales, but NONE in the bales themselves. A simple pass with a weed-whacker every week or two sure beats bending down and pulling them by hand! But how do you handle vining crops, particularly heavy-fruited ones like Melons and Cukes?
StonoRiver wrote; "But how do you handle vining crops, particularly heavy-fruited ones like Melons and Cukes?"
I'm new at this, too, but here's the plan:). The cukes have their own fence, and will be trellised. The melons, pumpkin and non-bush squash will be allowed to crawl down the sides, and sprawl on a bed of hay. My potatoes are in the middle of a bale square, and the melons, etc. on top. We'll see how it goes.
I'm actually counting on the weeds to keep the bales cooler during the hot summer, and maybe the tomatoes will be happier.