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Straw Bale Gardening (Part 14)

Wake Forest, NC

Here's a link to Parts 1 - Part 12 - http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/724771/
Here's a link to Part 13 - http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/729253/

Put your marker on the map at: www.frappr.com/strawbalegardeners

And as Mr. Gleason used to say: "And away we go!"

Kent

marshville,, NC(Zone 8a)

hello All!

how did this happen? Im just a lurker!.....

had to break down & buy some eggplant...my straight sown all succumbed to die back.....everything was started so late it'll be October before i get anything to eat!

After seeing all the great produce & lush gardens i feel like a slacker, but I want to thank you for this form of gardening!
I am actually able to feel like I'm working in the garden again......I can't imagine how delightful it would be to someone in a wheelchair. I never have anything to add to the discussion, but even "lurking" is fun on this thread....bring on the pics and icons!

Foggy

Wake Forest, NC

Yeah, Jeanette, how'd that happen??!! :-)

Foggy: join in any time.

Kent

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Well, now I'm waaaaay behind. Haven't even gotten my bales yet although I did get 5 cedar posts 8' tall to hold up cattle panels once I can get someone to dig the holes, or my incision heals enough, whichever comes first.

I lost a lot of seedlings during an 8 day hospital stay so this year may be sparse in production.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

WOW Darius, 8 days? That's awful. How are you doing now? It takes a while to get your strength back so take it slow. A surgeon once told me that your body takes at least a year to get over even the smallest surgery.

Good luck, Jeanette

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

I don't think Darius knows how to take it easy :~( Wish I had some extra veggie plants to send you, Darius. Which ones did you lose?

Lana

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Lana, mostly heirloom tomatoes. I do have a few more seeds that I can get a late start with, although not as much produce before fall.

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

Oh, that's too bad. I'm so looking forward to the yummy heirlooms like I haven't tasted in years. Wish I had some plants small enough to send you, Darius :~( They're all planted in the bales now.

Lana

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Darius, if you'd like, I can try to start some suckers for you. I've never done it before, but it can't be THAT hard :). I have lots of different kinds, and would be happy to share them with you. Is there a particular kind/color you like? If I can help, let me know...
Margo

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Thanks, but I'm okay on tomatoes.Turns out there's a family greenhouse (small) that raise and sell heirloom tomato plants. and still have some left.

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

Great news, Darius!

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

Well Kent; I'm not gettin taders yet. But do enjoy the fresh garden salads. Spinach, Swiss Chard, green onions an radishs.
We do have some little maters forming, but I won't count them yet as I usually loose a few of the first ones to blossom end rot.
I set up my horse tank, put about 4 bushel of dry Horse poop in and filled it with water. I'm going to let it steep a little. and then see if I can get the bale garden going better, with the tea! Heh Heh((*-*))
It has a little catching up to do. That is compared to in the dirt. I know it's no till no weed no stoop. but I guess I have done a pretty good job of amending the soil year after year. with grass clippings, saw dust, leaves in the fall, sand,lime,and a lot of horse poop. I even got a 30 gallon garbage can of chicken manure on it this spring, before tilling it under. I'm not giveing up on the bales. I am however going to try harder to stick a little closer to good even watering and using some tea a little sooner. and will probably set up a row cover much earlier.
I do get some weeds comming up in the rows. but the grass clippings over wet news paper does pretty good between the rows. still have to do a lot on my hands and knees. But when I consider the bales, the amonium nitrate, or something comperable, to cook the bales, blood meal. It is kind of a trade off of work for expense. ( just my experience for a first timer so far.)
A question now; do you use a drip system, or soaker hose or the like
running constantly, or how do you do the watering? Thanks in advance.

Part of my problem is I always have a large garden. Hopping to supply us for a year, plus some for shareing with friends and neighbors.
That would take a quite a few bales. Gotta do some more research yet watching what the bales will do for me yet this year.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Russ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Raeford, NC

Someone had put directions on how to make plant covers cannot find it. Please whoever it was put them again. Deanna

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

Deanna,
It wasn't me. But I'm trying to send a hyperlink, that will give you some information. I don't really remember how to do this. so if it don't come through, try google. gardeners.com/Garden-fabric.
Or just type in ,garden row covers. They have a lot of info. on type of material for heat, shade/ and how hot fruits will not set.
Russ

[HYPERLINKwww.gardeners.com/Garden-Fabric/default/5111.page?SC= ]
edited to add.
I see that it didn't work, but try the google approach to it . There is info there that could help a lot.

This message was edited Jun 14, 2007 7:33 AM

Starkville, MS(Zone 7b)

A few shots from central Mississippi. Black Beauties are getting there.

Thumbnail by dbarbrady
Starkville, MS(Zone 7b)

I'm having to fight the birds for the Juliets.

Thumbnail by dbarbrady
Starkville, MS(Zone 7b)

The Betterboys are coming in too.

Thumbnail by dbarbrady
Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Those are beautiful. dbarb are those eggplants? The first picture. I have never seen them grow. I didn't know they were purple while growing up!! I don't know that they don't grow here. I just have never eaten them so never tried growing any. I would have thought they would have had to ripen, grow purple, after getting their size like other things. Tomtoes don't get their color until they are their maximum size. Or about there. Very interesting.

Jeanette

Raeford, NC

dbarbrady Black Beauties are beautiful. am growing some white eggplants as I heard they were good. Thay are just starting to form. Deanna

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Jeanette wrote;"I would have thought they would have had to ripen, grow purple, after getting their size like other things."

Even the flowers are purple. Well, lavender at least. You've never eaten eggplant? I'm so sorry! You poor thing, so sadly deprived :(. I hope someday you will get to try some. If you're ever in SC. let me know, and we'll fix you right up!
My eggplants almost succumbed to flea beetles, but seem to be rallying now. I even have one fruit set. It's really the only thing I've had much trouble with so far (knocking madly on the desk).I think I'll plant some more, to go with all the zucchini and tomatoes I'm hoping for.
Margo

marshville,, NC(Zone 8a)

finally got a couple pics of my wee little garden..the white buckets hold herbs & salad greens.....

the daylilies & posts were there already .....I just moved the strawbales in & added the fence wire......

It was going soooo slow & suddenly it took off.....great fun!

Foggy

Thumbnail by foggywalk
Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Looks really nice, Foggy! I think the daylilies give it a nice touch :)
Margo

marshville,, NC(Zone 8a)

Thanks Margo, wish I was as far along as you are...all I've got are salads so far...my eggplants got dieback so I ran down a couple of already started ones, you can see them in the pic......I've got a really good veggie lasagna that uses the eggplants.

Jeannette, when you drop by Margos...stop here too & bring her back & we'll all picnic......you, too, Deanna...

Gosh, with all the folks in NC & SC & Ga doing the strawbaling why don't you ALL come......LOL



Foggy

This message was edited Jun 15, 2007 7:38 AM

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Oh!! Sounds like fun :). And now I know where Marshville is, not far at all. Amazing the things I learn here. I tried to put myself on the "map" but never had any luck. Think I'll try again.

Foggy wrote;"wish I was as far along as you are"

I'm really surprised it's going so well. I had problems getting the tomato plants I wanted, so they all got planted at different times, but maybe that will space the harvest out some. I'm getting more than I'd expected, and I'm crossing fingers and toes that it continues. Every time I hear the forecast for severe thunderstorms and hail, I cringe, and wonder if I could protect anything, and which I'd choose to save. Sigh. Always something to worry about, but if that's the worst I have to deal with, I'm in good shape, I guess :)
Margo

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Margo & Foggy, your gardens are doing so good. It isn't that I haven't seen or been able to get eggplant. It's just that it looks so much like zucinni when cooked. Slimey. The only thing I use the zucinni for is bread.

I have seen the cooks on the food channel cook them both and maybe you cook them different. Another thing I have never tried, and I really would like to are those things that Kent grows. Can't think of their name. I have heard that if you don't cook them just exactly the right amount of time that they are slimey too.

Just thought of it. Okra. How do you all cook these different things so they aren't slimey?

Jeanette

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

Jeanette, the only vegetable I refused to eat growing up was eggplant. Now it is one of my favorites and I actually get cravings for it! When cooked, eggplant will be soft and mushy but if you slice it thin, dip it in a seasoned flour/cornmeal mix and sautee it in olive oil until crispy but soft (I don't like undercooked eggplant) inside, they are fabulous. I learned to eat them fried in Greece. You can do the same with zucchini. I also cut both zucchini and eggplant a little thicker, brush them with a seasoned olive oil mix and roast them in the oven. That still might be too mushy for your taste.
I don't know how to avoid the sliminess of okra. I don't eat it except fried. I grow it for my husband and son. They like it cooked in a little water until soft, pour off the water and add butter and seasoning.
The straw bales are coming along nicely. My okra is actually doing better in them than in the EB's. Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and melons are happy too! I am grateful for all the input on this thread which helped get me started! I had to replace just one tomato which "cooked" in the one bale (even though it had cooled down, during the heat wave the bale heated up enough the first few inches during the day to destroy the seedling) but its replacement doesn't seem to have any complaints! Adding shade cloth solved potential tomato losses in two other bales.

marshville,, NC(Zone 8a)

Jeanette, they are used in Mediterranean cooking.....Italian, etc. & are usually fixed with lots of other veggies.....so you may never taste the eggplant all by itself......they are luscious because they pick up all the flavors they are cooked with...Italian tomato sauces & cheeses & basil.....Yum!

but.......like olives, it's probably an acquired taste....



Foggy

This message was edited Jun 15, 2007 12:45 PM

This message was edited Jun 15, 2007 12:49 PM

Wake Forest, NC

Russ: you asked a question about watering. Were you talking about general watering, or what?

dbarbrady & foggy: looking good.

All: speaking of frying up some zucchini or squash or green tomatoes, if anyone has a better mix than House of Autry, I want to hear about it.

http://www.house-autry.com/

Kent

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

Yes Kent, just the gereral watering. I was thinking that maybe I'm not watering enough. The bales are always damp inside. but starting to dry out on the outsides. and top.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

gardadore, I am going to try that with the eggplant. I really will. I love fried green tomatoes Kent, what is House of Autry? You guys have a lot of products in the south and on the east coast that never make it out west. Do you put that on the green tomatoes to fry them? I normally just use an egg wash and seasoned cornmeal and flour.

Foggy, I have heard of people deep frying the okra but I don't know how they prep it.

Jeanette

marshville,, NC(Zone 8a)

Jeanette, I don't know either, I can't eat anything fried...but I bet Kent knows!

Foggy

Wake Forest, NC

jeanette & foggy: House of Autry chicken breader is what I grew up on. http://www.house-autry.com/retail/category.aspx?id=BREADER

Beat up some eggs to dip the squash, etc, in and then turn it over in the mix and put that puppy in the frying pan with some Watkins products garlic and parsley grapeseed oil. mmmmmm .... so good.

I have used pancake mix in place of the breader. That adds a little different flavor.j

russ: my bales are dry on top, too, when I get home each day, but are always good and moist inside. I don't spend but about 15 seconds per bale, if that long, watering.

The key for me is to make sure my plants are fed enough.

All: I met a S. Korean family tonight and showed them some pics of my bale garden from this year and last. They said that where they live the ground is very hard and rocky. I told them to send their relatives the info on bale gardening. Maybe we can make an international connection, finally!

Kent

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

Jeanette, glad to hear you would like to try the eggplant. Another cooking hint: eggplant can absorb a lot of oil so to shorten the frying or sauteeing time and have them thoroughly cooked I slice them and pre cook them in the microwave till they are soft but still manageable. I don't put a true batter on mine because it bothers my stomach. Just dip the moist eggplant from the micro into the flour and cornmeal mix until lightly covered, then sautee until crisp and brown. If you can eat true fried foods then Kent's recipe sounds heavenly!
I think I will have very good eggplant this year. The plants are getting quite large with no flea beetle damage - a big change from last year but I have a bottle of Neem K ready to go if needed! They are about equal size in the EB's and bales. I'll have to try some pics soon as this is getting pretty exciting!

Starkville, MS(Zone 7b)

Eggplant is a flavor delivery vessel. The only problem is that the natural eggplant flavor can be a bit bitter. The best advice I can give for eggplant is to salt it well with kosher salt and then let it sit on a rack for a while. The salt will draw moisture out of the eggplant and make it porous like a sponge. Then brush all the salt off. At this point whatever marinade you choose will be sucked right up and create the perfect medium for delivering that flavor. A little teriyaki soak and then a quick stir fry is my favorite. Eggplant is also one of the most prolific plants in the garden. Pound for pound an eggplant will out produce a tomato plant. If you have any interest in Italian cuisine eggplant is a must. I think it would do fine even up there in the great white north Jnette.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

One of my favorite eggplant dishes is ratatouille (sp?), a combination of eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic onions and peppers. It's really a vegetable stew, and seasoned (at least by me) like spaghetti sauce. But, I really like eggplant fried. Just sliced thick, dipped in egg and bread crumbs, and fried in bacon drippings. Needless to say, I don't do it very often. I've never thought of it, or zucchini, as slimy, but maybe it's just the very soft texture. Okra is truly slimy, but I like it fried and in soup and gumbos. Don't think I've really eaten it by itself, but if I ever get any planted, I will *G*.
Margo

Wake Forest, NC

Here's a pic of our oldest bale gardener, Mr. Troy Kennedy, from Winston-Salem, NC.

Mr. Kennedy is 93 years old and enjoying his first bale garden.

Kent

Thumbnail by KentNC
Athens, AL(Zone 7a)

A friend of mine who is also bale gardening for the first time this year came to me with a problem this morning and I couldn't answer it for him but knew one of you could......

He has got worms IN his zucchini. They bore a small hole into the fruit and appear to be light green in color and about 3/32 of an inch around and no idea how long. He has noticed it in every Zucchini on the vine.

Any ideas what they are and how to get rid of them?

Thanks

Ron

UPDATE - We think we've figured it out. Apparently its a pickleworm and he's hoping a dose of Sevin will help remedy the problem. These Pickleworms prefer squash but have no problem infesting any of the Cucubits. I'll let you know how the battle progresses.

On another note...a couple of doses of Escar-go and the slug problem seems to be under control....:)

This message was edited Jun 20, 2007 9:49 AM

This message was edited Jun 20, 2007 9:49 AM

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5a)

Hello straw bale gardeners!
I've been lurking in fascination for the last couple of days. This seems like such a dandy way to go! I haven't read through all of the threads yet, but I looked at the map and saw only a couple of daring souls down here in Arizona giving this a shot. Any pointers on straw bale gardening in high heat and dry air? I'd love to give it a shot for a crop of fall beans and maybe some broccoli.

Also, way back in the beginning, Strawbaleman posted his general guidelines for agrichemical use. Has anyone put together something similar for organic use? I'm pretty new to organic growing, and still need all the pointers I can get.

Thanks!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Tucson, I don't know if this is viable, but have you thought of wrapping the bales in plastic? Just the sides? Straw doesn't cost that much so anything is worth a shot.

Ron, "Pickle worms, UGH"!!! Now I know why I never eat squash. LOL

Jeanette

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Hi tusconjill,
I prepped my bales (hay, not straw for me) with nothing but bloodmeal, which is about as organic as you can get. We're hot here in SC, and it's been pretty dry, and I water with a soaker hose daily, unless it rains. Started in April, and this was yesterday's haul. except that I forgot the 4 juliet tomatoes in my pocket...
Margo

Thumbnail by catmad

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