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Straw Bale Gardening (Part 15)

Wake Forest, NC

Here's a link to Part 1 - Part 12 - http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/724771/
Here's a link to Part 13 - http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/729253/
Here's a link to Part 14 - http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/734190/

Put your garden on the map: http://www.frappr.com/strawbalegardeners

Welcome again to all the first-time bale gardeners. You're in for a great ride!

Kent

This message was edited Jun 30, 2007 9:39 AM

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

My bales are doing pretty pitiful. Will have to take a pic and post it later. I haven't been feeding properly though. Bad veggie mommy.

Lana

edited to say: The beans and corn in the ground are doing super...except for the jap beetles on the corn :~( I hope I can get the bale plants going better.

This message was edited Jun 30, 2007 11:55 AM

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

LOL Lana, I was going to ask you how your plants were doing if your bales looked so bad. Didn't you plant yours with the Watersorb??

Jeanette

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

I did but I think they got overwatered while I was out of town. Plus, I haven't fed the bales much. My plants are what looks pitiful. I expect the bales to look that way ;~)

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

jnette; I'm still not the happiest with our bale garden either. The Tomatos are doing great. The peppers I put in the ground after the ones in the bales, are produceing. but the ones in the bales are just starting to set tiny peppers. and they are real short. I know practice practice. I didn't use any watersorb either, don't recall that being mentioned. ( Guess I'm just a dirt gardener) The litle melon is still very little, Not sure it will catch on in time to do any good.
I am planning on covering the bale garden with plastic this fall to prolong every thing in there.
I have a big tank of horse poo tea I have started feeding every thing in the bales and that has helped. I think I am going to use that on some ground that I had to dig up rather quich as a friend gave me 9 tomato plants that he decided not to plant. They are suposed to be a super sized tomato. Well I couldn't throw them away. I also had more peppers to plant. So dug up more space. I had garden there last year, but had not planed to use it this year, so I didn't put any mulch or poo down in that place. If the price of gas don't come back down under $2.00 I think I will plan on useing it. Then I can set up a stand and sell some produce, to offset some of the cost.
Should be able to sell some this year as I have 2 dozen tomato plants besides the dozen in the bales. The same with the peppers. I ran out of time. and didn't get every thing in I wanted. but with all I have in. I am going to be very busy come canning time. I think the storm celler will have all it can hold. I'm not down playing bale gardening, I probably just messed up somewhere. But at least I don't to weed those tomatoes.
Well better go pick some peas tonight as There are some that are too ripe , they will mix in but I like the young tender ones best, for flavor.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

No Russ, don't worry about Watersorb. That is just something between Lana and I. I don't remember when you got started in the bales Russ. You are zone 4 and I am zone 5. I always cover mine with visquine (plastic). I have a hoophouse. I just took that off Thursday. But, I didn't plant them until the last week in May. My plants are real big and healthy with a lot of blossoms. I didn't plant peppers. The cherry tomatoes have fruit on them but still green. I haven't looked real close to see if there are any on the others. My little melons are loaded with blossoms and a few taking hold. I also will cover the hoophouse with plastic around Labor Day to see if I can't get a last kick out of them.

I don't know as the bales are suppose to produce any bigger, better or faster, just that they aren't as much work. I'm sorry if they set you back in your production. I can't believe you are aiming at getting your gas lower than $2 per. I will be happy to see under $3. Maybe you should try using the gas instead of the horse poo. Actually, that is what I thought you meant. Or, maybe you meant that you should use the horse poo instead of gas. Now I am confused. LOL

Hang in there Russ, pretty soon you'll be so busy with ripe fruit and veggies you will wish it was snowing.

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

Yeah a little snow, OH no!! No I use the poo to fertilize the garden.
Al though , a few ER ah quite a few years ago. When I raised rabbits, to help out on meat. I did seal three barrels with rabbit poo in them, and just for fun, I had an old JD water boy, pump engine. I would run off of the methane that was being produced.
But I don't think, I would like to wait for the horse poo to convert to methane, in order to make a run into town for supplies. Chuckle chuckle.Might have to stop a few times and let the pressure build up.
Then when the poo was done making methane, it made super garden fert.
I really wasn't looking for super monstrous plants from the bales, just thought that since I planted them first they should be further along , than the rest. I do think I will get a good harvest of tomatos from the bales. Most of the plants have a lot of small green maters on them. Almost ping pong ball size. The plants are about 3' tall. and use a quite a bit of water, which I will keep up on delivering that for them. The maters that I put in the ground are looking a little more sturdy and are almost as tall, and they too are starting to set little tomatos. And you are 100% correct. I have to get on hands and knees to pull any weeds. However since I mulched them heavily with grass clippings, there are very few weeds that come through. But I did not have enough clippings to do all the garden. Tonight when I picked the peas, I also pulled weeds. And yup I was on all fours. As I can't stoop over for very long at a time.
Oh and, I don't think that it is an impossible dream for gas to get below $2.00. Maybe not very probable, as long as people have to use gas to get to and from work. The oil companies will try hold out for the highest $$. But I won't buy from EXon Mobile. untill the price does come down.
And each trip to town, has to be for several things not just a few groceries. or one little part. Maybe if it is for the well, but not just any little thing. But I do find that I have to make lists, so I don't forget anything. There I go rambling on again. Shut up Russ. Happy gardening and Have a wonderfull week.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Well Russ, when it is just you and me on here I guess we can ramble all we want. After all it is Kent's dime. LOL You know I think the best raspberries I ever had was when I used rabbit poop. Whoops, poo. After Easter one year I went down to the feed store and asked them if I could clean out under their rabbit pens. I went home and put that directly on my raspberries, and then I covered it with about 6 inches of sawdust and watered like crazy. Those berries were wonderful.

I noticed when I watered tonight that my other tomatoes, other than the cherries, have fruit on them also. Sure do wish they were bigger tho 'cause it is suppose to get over 100 degrees later in the week comin' up. We have been having the big thrunder and lightenin' storms the last couple of days. Very noisy. You'd think it was the 4th of July around here. What with the thunder and all of the rest of the fireworks from those people from other counties that ban the darn things.

Well, headin' off to bed. You have a nice day tomorrow.

Jeanette

Tonasket, WA(Zone 5a)

Happy July !, and to you Canadians, Happy 4th celebration.

It is early just after 6:00 and I hear the neighbors setting off a few firecrackers.

The sky is partly cloudy and supposed to be quite warm today. Jeanette we too had Thunder and Lightning a couple of days ago,, and some needed rain.

Here is a photo I took a couple of days ago when out for a short drive into nearby hills-mountains. There is a small private lake about 20 miles away that I like to drive to just for the scenery and what birds or animals I might see. Here is what I see looking to the south from the highest point before going on down to the lake, about 3500 feet I think.

Donna

Thumbnail by rutholive
Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

Beautiful, Donna! I really miss WA. Almost like being homesick but not quite. I did get homesick for WV while I was there but if I had my family and friends out there with me I'd never leave! No humidity, no allergies, lots to do, beautiful scenery, what more could you ask for? I lived in Lakewood outside Tacoma for a year. Loved it.

Lana

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

Donna; Beautiful pic. Think I would like to be a little closet to the lake. But that is intriguing. Would be nice not to have all this humidity. But yet that is what promotes some of the growth in our gardens. Just the other day though I didn't have to do anything and I sweat profusely. Needless to say I didn't do much in the garden.
Jeanett; It's been a while since the last thunder storm. But we usually get one sometime the first week in July. I can almost count on it.
It can sometimes be bad though. as some times it gives a lot of hail, and ruins a lot of crops. But I won't go out and try cover my nice looking maters, as the hail bouncing off my head isn't that apealing.
We have yet to go to WA. But we do have a Granddaughter and family at Goldbar. We have only seen their little one twice. Would like to visit there at least once. Of course I would have to bring my fishing gear along.
It is pretty dry here right now, I'm watering every couple days. I spoke to the gent that I got the bales from. about some of the loose straw in his hay loft. He just said you know where it is. so I'll have to get out there and load some up. I need to mulch some more where I ran out of grass clippings. There is a place about 50 miles from here, that I can get all the saw dust I want, they make pallets so most of it is Cottenwood, no walnut. But a 100 mile trip for what a S10 will carry, I'm not sure it's worth the trip. Ummm yeah it would be. I just can't do it right now. Oh well.
We are trying to help our youngest daughter right now. She lost her job and has some medical problems. We have been trying to keep her
" COBRA" ins. up for her for all the tests she has had to have. The Dr. is nearly positive she has a blockage in an artery. They done an angeagram ( sp) yesterday, and we haven't heard the results from that yet. But she has been having really bad headaches for the last 5 or 6 months. and something needs to be done and soon. She is schedualed for surgery on Tue. But this last test may have changed things ???? Not sure she told us every thing!!!!!
I will ask of every one to offer prayers for her though, as this is serious stuff, if not taken care of. Thank you for listening. ~~~~~~~~~~` Russ

Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

Donna was that all grown in bales? lol

Oldsmar, FL

Hi again,
Figured I'd post my questions again since it ended up at the end of part 14. I would REALLY like to find out the following:
1) How many of the folks who I read about their 2006 bale garden are doing another this year?
2) Any conclusion that organic produces as good, better or worse results than the non-organic method?
3) Did the onion and potato crops produce well at harvest?

Thanks Cajun for your answer, would love to hear from other folks who might know.
Thanks

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

homemom1 wrote;"Any conclusion that organic produces as good, better or worse results than the non-organic method?"

Well, I don't really know. Helpful huh? What I do know, is that so far I've gotten Golden Jubilee, Marglobe, and Pink Ponderosa tomatoes, and the Golden Jubillee and the Marglobe taste wonderful. I'm reserving judgement on the PP, I've only tried one, and it was very small. It wasn't bad, just not as good as the others. I think the next one, picked this a.m., will taste better. I'm kind of surprised, as I've never heard either of those tomatoes described as very tasty. I'm not sure if it's just that they're so very different than the "store boughten" ones, or if they're really that good :). I think tomorrow will tell, as my first Cherokee Purple should be ready. I have had great yields from the squashes, cukes, and green beans, and the melons are coming along nicely. Everything has tasted wonderful, but it's all so fresh, so that has something to do with it, I'm sure.

OTOH, my pototoes seem to be a bust. I planted late, so maybe that's why. I'm only getting tiny, tiny potatoes, with one that was "creamer" size. I've only pulled the ones that seemed to be dying, and so far those have been the red Pontiacs. Haven't looked at the other three varieties, but I'm not expecting much :(.

I wasn't here last year, so can't help you there, but I'll be here from now on...

Oh, forgot to say that I am "going organic"

Margo

Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

I don`t know either I`m a nuby. Inquireing mind want an answer and we want it now dang it. lol

Wake Forest, NC

homemom1: this is my 3rd year doing the bales.

It was my 1st year doing potatoes in the straw and it was a success. Prettiest red potatoes you ever did see. Here's a repeat photo taken back in early June.

I'm not much of an organic gardener. Miracle Gro man. I need to buy some stock in the company! :-)

Kent

Thumbnail by KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

Shoe: my trombocino vine is about 18 ft now! How long does this sucker get? :-)

Kent

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

Pretty good taders for just giving it a try. I haven't checked mine yet.
It's early yet for here, as far as taders go.
I'll have to get some pics for you. I'll just have to take the time I guess.
Not much grass growing but still have to mow as the lawn weeds are just as heathy as always.

Raeford, NC

homemom1 This is my first year and I am ever so pleased. My squash is growing like crazy. I am getting cukes, tomatoes peppers and zuchinni. Have been so pleased with the first started more bales about a month ago, am just about to pick my first eggplant from that and I have more tomatoes. Next year I plan to have 50 or more bales going. It is so pleasurable to do I tell everyone. Deanna

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Hehehe, Kent, that "trombo" vine will keep growin' and growin'! Let 'er roll! I picked a nice-sized one yesterday for a neighbor to try...it was nearly two feet long. Will be throwing some on the grill soon!

I'll try to take pics of my bales today...I have tomatoes coming on, lots of peppers, two kinds of cukes that I'm harvesting. Also have the trombocino and watermelon vines climbing the fence!

homemom, I bought some bales last year but never got around to planting them, so this is my first year and can't compare to last year but can sure witness that it works great from what I see this year. Regarding which is better, organic vs non-organic, you'll have good results from either method you choose.

Happy Gardening, Folks!
Shoe

Lawrenceville, GA(Zone 7b)

Hi Everyone:

Been awhile since I checked in.

My bales are going great guns. The eggplants have really taken off and are looking like they will produce heavily. I'm convinced that adding a more frequent feeding regimen was the key to bringing them back from the brink.

This is my first year with the bales as well so I can't compare with last year. I have noticed that the peppers and eggplants that I planted in my raised beds are larger than the ones in the bales but this could be due to the fact that the raised beds had plenty of nutrients while it took me awhile to get the hang of how to feed the plants in the bales.

I grow using as strict an organic process as I can but don't have any control crops where I'm using non-organic methods so I can't offer any comparisons

I will post some pics later

Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

Man I should look at this in a different light after reading that book, What they don`t want you to know, Natural cures... It`s backward but I should be only eating what I grow.

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

today, only a month late due to ill health, i put some transplants into my straw bales. only the tomatoes so far, but others to do tomorrow after yet ANOTHER ct scan late morning. 8 more bales, the last of them, will be ready in 5-6 more days and they will get fall crops, butternut squash, chard and the like. i might even try broccoli which i love and always manage to kill.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Homemom, my 2nd year. Yeah, for my yard/area, I would do nothing else. Don't know organic. Sounds good, my daughter says since she has done that with her whole yard that she has plenty of bees, birds, etc. She doesn't do much veggies other than tomatoes, cukes, peas etc.

Russ, how is your daughter? Sure hope it isn't too serious. Keep us posted. Just got out of the hospital myself yesterday so I don't envy her at all.

Jeanette

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

Jeanette; We are waiting to hear from, another specialist. A Dr. that deals with strokes. If we don't hear very soon. we are planning to try getting her to Rochester. She is in a I'm not concerned, about anything mode. She only has the off and headache's otherwise, you wouldn't know there is any thing wrong.. Right now it is that we now know what is causing them. The Dr. that was going to do the surgery, was surprised that she is still walking around. Her left carroted artery is the big problem and the right is 85% blocked. For some reason or another she is still getting a very small amount to blood flow, to the left side of the brain. The Angiogram showed that the left was 100% blocked. Don't think any of them know why, she is still up and around.

This waiting pattern is not easy. She don't need any stress, as I'm afraid that would tip the scales, and give her a stroke.

On gardening news I have picked 4 cukes, 8 peppers and one tomato.
None of the peppers in the bales are that far along. We have been using the spinnich and swiss chard for some time now. I just finished weeding our iris bed. In this heat I could work on that a couple hours at a time each evening, so it took me a while. I am going to put down news paper and wood chip mulch down to keep the weeds to just a minimum. I don't want to have to work that hard to keep it clean again.
My pellet gun and I have disposed of three rabbits that seem to like cuke vines. even after spraying them with rabbit repellant.


Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Gosh Russ, sure hope they get her taken care of soon. Give her my best.

Be careful working in the heat. She doesn't need you down too. I used the newspapers and mulch last year and it has been a lifesaver.

Sounds like good repellent for the rabbits.

Jeanette

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Has anyone else found that some of their veggies hide in the bales *g*?. I found a monster cuke yesterday that had grown down into the hay, and only the top was showing. Looked farther, and found a zucchini doing the same thing, and a couple of melons on top of a bale that are sunk in. They seem to be fine, just not very visible. I'm wondering what else I'm missing.....

Margo

Wake Forest, NC

Margo: same thing happens to me, too. Since I use a double bale row for my cukes and zucchini/squash, it's easy for them to get lost in the cracks.

Kent

Wake Forest, NC

Shoe: my trombocino vine is now at 20 ft in one direction and 4 ft in another. No sign of it slowing down whereas my traditional zucchini and squash plants are petering out.

Also, I have a trombocino that is 42 inches on the vine and growing.

I have had a ball with this plant.

Kent

Wake Forest, NC

Folks: this is/was my supper tonight. Two fantastic sandwiches from this German Johnson tomato that just melted in my mouth. I've had tomato sandwiches each night for the past several nights and they keep getting better.

For those whose tomatoes haven't turned yet, hang in there. It'll be worth the wait.

Kent

Thumbnail by KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

Here's my tomatoes so far. The German Johnsons are in the middle.

Kent

Thumbnail by KentNC
Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Kent you are evil. You keep telling us about how long that Trombocino plant is, but does it have any fruit on it???

Margo, I've hever had that happen, but it must be like an Easter egg hunt.

Jeanette

Wake Forest, NC

Jeanette: back in part 14/June 25 I posted a photo of what I get off the trombocino plant, except the one I now have is at least 7-8 inches longer.

I still haven't cooked one up yet, but I gave one to a church member who said it was great.

Kent

This message was edited Jul 7, 2007 11:47 PM

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

I think I have Killer Bales :(.

I used bales from two different sources, both supposed to be hay.The first ones were very fine hay, and soft, easy to plant in. They "seasoned" quickly. The second, rye hay, was very heavy, dense, and took longer to soften/decompose. I had to rip the stuff out of the middle to plant in them. I had two different planting times in the first ones, first beans ,cukes, myriad squashes, tomatoes and peppers. The next set of tomatoes also went in these, but later. The second set of bales I planted half with some very special (much wanted, and expensive but very late in arriving) tomatoes. I left the rest empty, to plant a later season of different kinds of eggplants, squash and who knows what.

The second set of bales seems to be killing my Maters. They've been in about a month. All went well at first, I put lots of soil/compost in the bales with them, to give them a good start. About a week ago I noticed that one of the plants was doing strange things. All the new growth was emerging all curled up, and staying that way. Doesn't even look like a tomato. Blossoms are indistinguishable from foliage, except for tiny bits of yellow. On three forums with real tomato "experts" no-one had much advice, except that maybe someone had been using Round-up or similar in the neighborhood and it had "drifted". Well, none of the other plants were having problems, so I didn't see how that could be. I sure hadn't used anything, and my neighbors don't seem to garden at all. I looked at every tomato disease website, no luck.

Then I remembered that in an early part of this thread, there was discussion of hay grown with herbicides, like a weed and feed product. I'm afraid that's what has happened. The roots are now big enough that they are taking up the chemical, and it's killing them. I don't think that there is anything that can help, but thought I'd see if anyone else had seen this. Can anyone think of anything that might grow in these bales? Corn occurred to me, might that work, since I think it's basically big grass?

I'm so disheartened by this. The one bright spot, it's probably not going to affect the other tomatoes. I've been waiting for it to "jump" to them. Means my predominant tomatoes will be black and green, but at least I'll have those...

Margo (the sad MaterMurderer)

Thumbnail by catmad
Raeford, NC

Margo, you bring up an interesting point. We need to ask more questions about our hay. I got part of mine from a nursery and the other from HD,never thought about herbicide( or something else) being in it. So I guess next time I will ask if they have any info. Because it would be so disheartening( as you know) for this to happen never mind the expense, if this happened to all you planted.So sorry about your tomatoes That excitement looking everyday or so to see if something is growing and than to see it is dying but hopefully all the rest will be okay. Deanna

Wake Forest, NC

I know ya'll are getting tired of me talking about my trombocino, but I'm just having a ball watching this plant grow.

I'm going to see just how long this one will get.

It's at 49 inches right now.

Kent

Thumbnail by KentNC
Wake Forest, NC

Here's a wider shot.

The trombocino vine is over 20 ft long now and if I had a clue it was going to grow like this, I would have started it on the far left of my trellis.

Kent

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

i got a few more things planted in my bales yesterday and today. but between the heat and still having pain from my recent gall bladder surgery, it's slow going.

i don't expect much of anything from summer crops since i have been so late getting them in the bales. however, the support posts and cattle panels are in place and will be great for next year too.

i guess it's time to start seeds for fall crops. i had a few fall things started already but my brother's grandson nicely removed all the labels while i was in the hospital. they look like crap anyway.

Wake Forest, NC

darius: I have neglected to wish you well in recuperating from your surgery. I pray you'll mend up shortly and the pain subsides soon.

Kent

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Kent that is some squash!!

Darius, what do you plant for fall crops? Too bad you didn't get things going your cattal panels and bales look super. Like they need something growing in them.

Sorry to hear you are still hurting, but you know that is not minor surgery.

Jeanette

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