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Alternative Gardening: Tomatoes in Straw Bales

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Forum: Alternative GardeningReplies: 7, Views: 155
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West End, NC

May 19, 2007
3:50 PM

Post #3514026

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.

Saint Helena Island, SC
(Zone 9a)

May 20, 2007
1:55 PM

Post #3516519

The articles I read said to just insert tall bamboo poles all the way through the bales while the plants are still young. You will have to tie the plants to the poles as they grow.

I am trying two plants in bales this year but I do not have a reliable source of water where I have them so I am not optimistic. If they do halfway OK I will try them in a better location next year.
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

May 20, 2007
2:55 PM

Post #3516630

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.
Margo C

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Saint Helena Island, SC
(Zone 9a)

May 20, 2007
3:59 PM

Post #3516787

Good idea Margo, thanks.
Johns Island, SC

May 21, 2007
12:29 AM

Post #3517988

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?
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

May 21, 2007
12:59 PM

Post #3519312

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.
Margo C
Grantsboro, NC
(Zone 8b)

May 21, 2007
3:37 PM

Post #3519763

Look under propagation, I think thats the name of the forum but I can't spell and you will see a guy from Wakeforest who is doing this and has been in a few magazines.

Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

May 21, 2007
9:14 PM

Post #3520746

It's under "StrawBale Gardening" on the Vegetable Gardening forum, it's up to #12:). It's very popular, and busy. Not to mention, FUN!!
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