Jeanett; Do you have a Farm home type store like Menards? Its like a big box store that mainly sells lumber . They have the larger Poly or like rubber maid. they have them all the way up to walk in to store a large rider mower and all your garden tools hoses, and still have room for a picnic table. An I saw one in Sams Club. ( just another division for Wal-Mart) If that isn't any help I can check next time I'm in town. as to the manufacture. so you could look them up on the net. Home depot might even have them. We have a friend that works at HD in the city, so we can ask her. Good luck
Just found the ad that Menards sends out in the Sunday paper. One of the brands, ( the only one in this ad) Is Suncrest.
The advertised ones are 7'6"x5'L $444.- - -10' W x 7' 6"L $658. and a 7' x 7' $549.
The Menards ad is also on line. Not real sure how to access it though.
Jeanette. I just run onto some usefull info for me. This was in another segment of DG on tomatoes. It interested me because of one or two of my plants in the bales. that had BER. And that mine were the san marzano ( a paste tomato ).
All of the early tomatoes on those plants had BER But now that summer has come in, almost with a vengence, the newer tomatoes that those two plants are produceing, are looking much better.
The ones that I didn't take off the vine, and had ber are still ripening. but have the black damaged area on the bottom. but while picking the ripe maters, when I find one of those I can nibble off the top part, and have a tasty treat while picking and save the good ones for the table, or canning.
Also I do agree with her on the taste part. My other tomatoes are not ripening yet so I have to be satisfied with what are ripe. LOL
While it's true that paste tomatoes as a group are more susceptible to BER it varies from season to season and I don't think that's reason enough to give up on paste tomatoes.
However I'm one of many who encourages folks to use great tasting meaty, non-paste varieties for taste since again, as a group paste tomatoes are not that tasty.
One of my 4th of July plants has BER. I had seen something in the Gardens Alive catalog for it so looked at it and it said the cause was a lack of calcium. So I got out my Cal-Mag and gave all the plants a dose of that. We'll see what happens.
4th of July is not a paste. I don't think.
Thanks for the heads up on the storage units Russ. I'll keep looking. I googled Rubbermaid and didn't find what I was looking for there.
Thanks Russ, I will take a look tonight. I have to go out and tend the tomatoes right now. Also, that melon sure does not look like the one that I had and kept the seeds from. It is still not very big but it is taking on more the look of a watermelon. LOL. That is the biggest one. I will have to take a look at the others. I think most of the strength from the plant is going into the largest one. The others didn't seem to be growing very big.
Maybe in a day or 2 I will take a picture of it and send.
Russ, I found one on Suncast at Sears that is kind of what I want. Thanks. I have to do some measuring first. But I think that might work. I also have to see if I can't find some gutters and parts to go around my kitchen deck. Because of the way the roof is, it gets awfully wet in that area. Just awful. But, I have to get gutters that will clip off for the ice. I think. Anybody got any ideas???
Have you checked out if gutter helmet would work? Their advertisement sounds good. I think that you might be looking for something that may not be there, I don't know this. I'm just guessing. That be the case, It could be done though. You would probably have to design it. I have a problem area as well, that is causing some settling of the foundation. I need to do some dirt work to change the natural flow of things. so the run-off will not stand in this one spot.
WHEW! I just spent an unreasonable amount of time reading ALL 16 threads. I absolutely cannot wait to try this next year! It's way to late in my zone 5b/6a area. I was planning on moving my 3 raised beds to a sunnier, easier to water area but I'm going to do the bales instead.
I'm at work, it's an incredibly s-l-o-w night, except that the meteor shower seems to be effecting the crazies. My good friend that is also at work with me (her hubby is a farmer) told me she can get me as many bales as I need!! Wooo hoooo.
On another note: to combat Blossom End Rot (it's a calcium deficiency) put a Tums (antacid) in the hole when you plant your tomatoes. Been doing it for years.
No really I will have to try that, as I have quite a few ( first tomatoes of the season) have BER.
I also Would like more info on the ( Box car willie) tomato.
I have a couple of those that I picked up at the IARU this spring.
The fruits are huge, Softball size, and meaty. The seeds are very small. I picked my first one last week. and had to wait till today to show it off. Then we shared it for dinner. I saved a bunch of the seeds. an am wondering if they will reproduce true or are they going to be sterile?
I also picked a couple that had the name , Mule team, They are also a large tomato. Haven't cut into any of those yet. Size wise they compare to the box car, but slightly lighter. I will save some of those as well, but don't know if it will do me any good. I have to try tho.
I only had one Dr. Caroline, and the long eared rodents got it. so I don't know how it would have been. I may be asking on the wrong forum since these weren't in straw bales sorry.
edited for correction, Mule team, instead of train. Oh what tricks the mind can play.
Michelle: welcome, aboard. Looking forward to hearing about your 1st time with the bales!
lovedirtynails: wrote in Part 12: "I am so excited about this thread - I had just watched a garden show where they demonstrated growing strawberries in bales of straw, but they didn't say how to do it. I noted that you recommend watering the bales very well. Do I add soil in little pockets before putting the strawberries in? Do I cover them with more straw in the winter?"
No experience with strawberries, but I wouldn't use any SOIL; I would add some potting mix. The soil could have all sorts of problems with it that would be harmful to the plants.
The craziest thing is going on with that melon. I thought it was a melon like a cantaloupe. But, it is getting a smooth exterior and stripes kind of like a watermelon. Then today, we went over to the Farmer's Market where my friend got the melon that I sent you the seeds from, and from which I planted seeds, my daughter planted seeds, and Glenda I think planted seeds, and guess what!!! The ones that look like mine, are little watermelons. I would have sworn they were cantaloups.
I am thinking that I am going to keep seeds from this one, it might just be a throwback from the Genetically Engineered seeds????
What do you think??? Should I spend another summer next year feeding and watering that hybrid weed??? LOL
Michelle in Michigan, HI!!!! Good to hear from some new people too. The tums idea is great!. Gotta start making a list of these good ideas for next year.
Jeanette; It sounds like a plan to me. As long as you are going to have a garden any way. All you would be out is actually the space it would take.
The one that germinated for me, never got past the two leaves. So I had no way of telling what came up.
Now as for the tomatoes that I was wondering about. One of the ladies that was helping spearhead the IA. RU this spring, gave me a name, as to who may have brought those particular tomatoes. So now I need to check with her, to see where she got them. Or I'LL just have to save the seeds and hope for the best.
I know that next year I will relocate the spot for the bales. They will not be so close together either. I will also pinch off any suckers. I have trouble getting between the peppers and the tomatoes, without some fancy high stepping. Some of the suckers are leaning over and filling up the space between the two rows of bales.
I planted ( something) in the last bale in the row. I was remembering it to be muskmelon. They are starting to develop little fruit. But it looks to me more like butternut squash, setting on. Trouble is I didn't label them, and now I don't remember for sure what the seeds looked like.
How dumb is that??
The watermelons that I planted, are doing ok. Though I got anxious, and picked one. It was good but the rest are going to stay on the vine a little longer, at least untill the stem starts to dry. The one I picked was more like the store bought ones. Otherwise I can say we had our first watermelon from the garden this year. LOL
I picked enough tomatoes today to do some canning. It is a mix between the San Marzanos and some of the other ones I got at the RU.
If I can get the seed for those softball size maters I'll share with you.
If those little melons are round and small, kind of between tennis bal, and baseball. They may be the vine peach that I remember eating skin and all. That is almost to many years ago to remember. I must have about in the 2nd or 3rd grade at the time. Anyway those seeds didn't looke like watermelon seeds. so we will just have to wait and see. Post a pic, I'de like to see what they look like.
So far every tomato that has ripened on my plants have been HALF almost exactly, eaten by something. I can see the teeth marks. Some of them are high on the plant so the culprit is fairly small and climbing up there without breaking the plant. At first I thought it was a rabbit, we have Snowshoe rabbits wild. But, they would break the plant if they tried going that high up.
Anyway, today we wrapped a lot of the plants in netting. So, if whoever is doing it gets inside that netting they are going to have one fine time trying to get out. Probably will tear up a lot of plants, but so far I have not gotten many tomatoes so it might be worth it.
Will take a picture of the melon for you. Maybe a captive animal too. LOL
That's weird . Do you have chipmunks?
That was just the first little thief I could think of.
I sprayed around all my plants, early, with deer and rabbit repellent, as the rabbits were eating some of the plants right to ground level.
Some birds might eat the tomatoes, but you said they had teeth marks.
Another thought; fruit bats! We have a few of them around here, but they mostly stay near the creeks and rivers. There is enough wild grapes and such for them there.
From what I have read the squirrels are only after the moisture in the matters and if you fill a birdbath for them they will drink from there instead. I think but am not sure that it was in "Mother Earth News" that I read this.
We do have chipmunks Russ, but I would be more apt to think these might be squirrels. We were driving past the tomatoes, down the driveway this morning and one went running out from that area. These squirrels are very territorial and I have a fountain on my deck, I also have sunflower seeds in the feeder and sunflower plants. One squirrel 'cause it won't let the others on the deck.
We do have a river across the 2 lane highway. I just don't know. This is the first time we have had this problem.
Don't know anything about the certified weed free straw. I would bet if that were the case it probably is treated with herbicide. Don't know how they would certify it otherwise.
I'm like Kent tho, I have never, NEVER, had any weeds in my bales. Last year I had a few sprigs of oats that were easily pulled. I think placing the bales with the strings on the ground help a lot. Don't you Kent?
Certainly appreciate all of your opinions on my tomato thief. If I find out what it is I will sure let you know. I ran out of netting (gosh it is expensive) (the bird netting, not the deer) so I didn't get all of the tomatoes covered. The guy at the farm and seed store says, "well, I guess it depends on how badly you want your tomatoes." Creep. LOL
Jeanette With what you have seen so far. I think it would be a safe bet that it is squirrels. Chipmunks are little thieves too, but they like to carry what they want to a safe place. There are several things you could try, However squirrels are very hard to outsmart. Once they have found something they like, or think it is theirs. It is like getting congress to take a pay cut. I had a friend at work, lived in town, parked on the street by his house. He had let his car set for a week. went to start it, It would only hit on three cylinders. His wife brought him to work. Checked the car over , the spark plug wires were chewed up, Well easy repair, got it running. very next morning, car would not start. Same problem. I told him to get the hottest pepper sauce he could and smear all the wires on top of the engine. Only one more wire was chewed. end of problem.
But hanging aluminium pie pans around in the garden so the turn and flop with a light breeze, may help. I don't know about those fake owls. Possibly a scare crow with some clothing that you haven't washed. and change clothes with it every other day or so. might work. Unless you have been feeding them by hand. I heard of one person using the pinwheels on a stick. She thought it it was doing the job, but wasn't absolutely positive.
I am afraid I would be a little more the get even type though. I would probably sacrifice a couple tomatoes, at about the ripeness they have been chewing them. and inject them with the hottest pepper sauce i could get. But possibly spraying the plant and the ground around it with squirrel repellent, might do the trick. Then of course give them another source of water. One of the neighbors down town trapped a bunch of them. I think he used a live trap. and relocated them. His boys raise pigeons and chickens. The squirrels were raiding the pens by chewing through the cages just to get at the feed. I will have to check with him to be sure of how he caught them. Anybody have a rat terrier you could stake out there for a few days???? Hmmmm.
On the squirrel repellent, I'm not sure if that is powdered only and in a bag or just one that you sprinkle around every so often. I've got squirrel's here too, but then I raise enough extra tomatoes, that I don't really miss any. I think I have had one or two that got chewed, but I always had enough, and never really pursued the cause. I don't know if any of this is any help but I do hope you get some tomatoes. and I will check on how the guy downtown caught them.
Here is a little added information. Who knows it may work. Some say that there isn't any such thing as a squirrel repellent that works.
Tree bark, fruits, and nuts are important food sources for squirrels. Although squirrels can cause damage to vegetation they also have their advantages, as natural tree trimmers. They prune branches & twigs when feeding & making nests which promotes vegetation growth.
If, however, you want to keep squirrels away from your plants, try the following ideas:-
Plant your bulbs in a coating of cayenne pepper.
Spray squirrel repellent directly on the plants.
Place a 2 foot band of sheet metal (forming a cone, large opening downwards) around the trunk approximately 6 ft. off the ground. (For this to be effective, the tree needs to be at least 10 ft. from other trees.)
To deter squirrels from buildings -
rags soaked in ammonia
socks filled with mothballs (be careful with children/pets**)
cayenne pepper squirrel repellent
Recipe for squirrel repellent:-
1) 1 bottle (small) hot pepper sauce
2) 1 gallon water
3) water retentive (available from plant nursery) or 1 teaspoon of mild liquid detergent such as dishwashing detergent.
Spray this repellent on plants or anything you would like protected from chewing. Many commercial products designed to repel rodents are not effective. In fact, some say the animals actually eat more of the plants after the repellent is applied.
**Please remember that mothballs are toxic when ingested. Children's curiosity and bird's lack of smell can increase their chances of ingesting mothballs. Children and birds should not have access to the mothball filled socks.
Gardeners can make their own repellent by placing a handful of hot peppers in a large container and adding a quart of boiling water. Allow the peppers to soak overnight. Strain the peppers from the water and add a few drops of mild dish detergent to make a spray to protect the plants.
I grow my tomatoes in hog wire cages supported with metal stakes. This year because I was afraid the guineas would start pecking into the tomatoes when they got ripe and develop a liking for them, I put old bird netting around the row of tomatoes ( I only have 11 tomato plants) so didn't try to cover each cage, just up each side of the row. I know I have many cotton tail guys, and lots of quail who will eat tomatoes. So that worked for this year, the netting is only as high as the metal cages, about 36". So I either reach under the netting or over the top and down to the maters.
Thanks Kent; I will remember that one too. I couldn't put all my tomatoes in bales. I was talked into planting more than I had bale room for. Also next year I will have to prune more of the suckers off, even if there planted in the dirt. In one garden, ( thank God I put a thick mulch down) I left 4 ft. between the rows. the tomatoes grew up over their cages and the steel posts. and kind of grew together at the tops. Since I can't reach all the maters from the outside of the rows I get to crawl on hands and knees, to pick what is the middle. I am not complaining I just have to laugh about it. The tomatoes in the bales are doing just as good. as the sucker branches have filled up the space between the rows as well. as the other side of the cattle panels. Last night I took a bunch down to the restaurant so every body could have some. I will have plenty to share, up until we get a hard freeze.
Next year the suckers get pinched off though. I was doing it for a while, but then I slacked off. Oh well!!!!!
Russ: Yeah, this year I suckered all of my tomatoes until they got about 6 ft. tall and then I slacked off. I've had a great crop. Just picked a 5 gal. bucket full earlier. Just about everybody else's tomatoes look terrible due to the high heat and no rain. My tomatoes are stressed but still producing.
Any suckers coming out now I'm letting go to see if they will produce anything.
Thanks for all of your suggestions Russ. That was a lot of work for you. I appreciate it. I have my fingers crossed but I might have taken care of the problem with the bird netting.
I did it the same way you did Donna.
I never sucker my tomatoes because I get just as many tomatoes on them as the main plant I did cut back the lower leaves this year tho because it made it easier to fertilize on the bales. In another week or 2, depending on the weather, I will cut a lot of the leaves off to let the plants know it is about time to get their act together and get those tomatoes ripe.
By the middle of Aug. I usually clip off all the tips of the tom. vines as I know any blooms after that will not have time to ripen. Today feels like fall is about here. Rained a little, thankgoodness, in the night and smells wonderful outside.
I got a huge yellow tomato, off of a plant labeled Dr. Wyche's yellow tomato. I'm not a big fan of yellow tomatoes. Although it was good, we ate it for dinner today. For me a little salt brought out the flavor. It was milder but then I guess that was the idea of yellow tomatoes. By huge I mean 3-1/2 to 4" across. I am going to try save some of those seeds. just to see what happens. There are more coming on but are still green. I just have to get my tomatoes out earlier.
rutholive; Was that you that made domed tunnels over your tomatoes to protect them form frosts? I am only asking as I think I will try that next spring. We had such a goofy spring this year, an I waited and waited for better weather. So my tomatoes didn't get planted till nearly June. I don't remember the exact date, just that it was later. I may try cutting back some of those tops, too. I do know someone that wants some green tomatoes though. but I think there will be plenty.
I only made one cover over one early tomato in a cage to protect from cold, used Remay netting-cloth. I had grown that particular tomato in the greenhouse, seed planted late Jan. I kept repotting it until reached about a two gal. size, then after hardening off planted it out in garden the end of April. It did grow 6 or 7 smallish tomatoes before going into a decline. Not very satisfactory.
I use large vented plastic hotkaps for all my tomatoes , most planted out in garden in late April. Had ripe tomatoes on 2 varieties of cherry tom. and Stupice, plus the few on the Mortgage Lifter (the one in the cage above) around July 4.
Donna Every plant that is supposed to have large tomatoes, has produced one. There are not many green ones left to ripen. Several of the other plants that produce a moderate sized tomato, are loaded. The big beef being one of them. I will call that a very good tomato.
The sweet Charlotte is a small tomato, ping pong ball size, is darker than any red tomato, has a very good taste and as its name sugests is sweeter than most. and more to them than the cherry. I would deffinatly grow it again. The giant tomatoes are good but I a'm not convinced, That they will give as much fruit per plant. They have time yet to prove me wrong. But I have enjoyed them so far, just don't know if they are a producer.
I do think that I will try going with a row cover next year any way. It just seems like a good idea.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~` Russ
Russ, I'm not sure what your problem is. You have had ripe tomatoes for quite a while haven't you? I have had a few that the critter ate. But, you know this is still August. We almost never get ripe tomatoes until almost Labor Day. You are zone 4 and I am 5. Now my sister down the road from me, using her greenhouse heated just about 40 degrees year round, she has huge tomatoes that she has been picking a lot off of for about a month and a half. But she tries a lot of different kinds. They are very big plants when she plants them out.
I'm not sure that it is a problem. What I was thinking is that the ones I have may not be a heavy producer, just what it does is some very large maters.???? I really don't know. But then this has been a funny year. Started out wet and cold then dry and hot. We are finally getting the moisture we normally get in June and the first week of July. That may have been a part of the reason. The ones that started bearing early were the San Marzano. They are still bearing and still a lot of green ones there. It is just these two plants the Box Car Willie an the Mule Team. I'm not worried about it, I was just noting that there were only a few green ones left and I only got one off either plant, so far. You are right too we still have all of September and a little of October. Plenty of time yet to show what they can do. But then we have had frost hold off until after Halloween. Then we have had an inch of ice and 13" of snow on the 19th. So who knows.
Ok, I am going to try to post a picture of the melon. I put bird netting round it to hold it up so it wouldn't break the stem.
Here it is. I fertilized it again today so will see if it gets any bigger or starts to ripen. Think I will keep the seeds and try it again next year. Maybe I can hybridize the hybrid out of it???? Or the Genetic Engeineering? LOL
love dirty nails: I have no personal experience with the sulphate, but I know alot of the ones who have emailed me about bale gardening have used it, and if there were any negative results, they probably would have let me know.
Or you can just let the bales prepare themselves naturally, with no help. Just start keeping them moist for about 3 weeks before you transplant. That should give the bales plenty of time to "get ready".
darius: couldn't help but laugh at your story about your brother's grandson messing with your ID tags.
I know this is a little late, but next year you may want to use DG's journal, or blog is what they call it now, to log in what you planted and where, in case you have another stick-fingered visitor.
Ok jnette that is a melon and not the vine peach I mentioned earlier.
I tried to grow what Gurneys called a vine peach about three years ago. There must have been some gourds close enough, as they definitely were not a vine peach. I couldn't tell the size by the picture. If you are using cattle panels it is probably 3-1/2" about now.
Yup I'm going to save some seeds too. just to see if they come close to what they grew this year.
I was also thinking of you when I was saving some of those mater seeds. I gave one of the ministers here in town several Sweet Charlott.
He really liked them. So I will save some of those for you, as well as some others. only the ones I really like.
I've been told , it is time to eat, so gotta go.~~~~~~~~~~~` Russ
Ok Russ, I would have said the melon was 4 1/2 inches but I just asked Bob who saw it after I took the picture and after I had fertilized it with liquid fertilizer and it had worked overnight, and he says 6 inches. Maybe it was the angle I took it at, plus the size. I cut it in half. So, here is a different view of it and full screen.
I would love to have seeds from Sweet Charlott. AND, I will send you some seeds from this melon if you would like to try it again. If it is as big as Bob says, it is just about the size as the one I took the seeds from originally.
I have been gone all day so haven't seen it. Now, see what you think.
Do you all know that Terry has given us a forum (thread) of our own? We are no longer under vegetable gardening now. We are under Strawbale gardening. So, now we are going to have to find it and be sure to mark it so it is on your thread watch or you will get lost.
I will try to keep it close to the top for a while on the list on the home page.
Hope to see you all there. Let me know if you can't find it.
Jeanette, I followed instructions to get to click on add this forum to your favorites, but I am so confused I can't find any place where Favorites in right hand corner is on my screen. There must be something to click on to show me favorites.
It isn't found on THIS page, but on the FORUM page. This is a "thread" for the strawbale forum ... At the top of this page on the LEFT side - you can click the link to take you to the FORUM. On the forum page - on the upper right - is the "favorite" option.
Maybe Mac does it differently than PC - but UNDER the yellow file folder is the hot link for favorites - on my Macster. On the other hand - I DID just click the yellow folder and that works, too in marking fav's...thanks for opening my eyes.
I certainly wish they hadn't made a mess of this. Even without having a problem I don't like it. I suppose this is the "new" people?
I have been emailing Terry but I am afraid we lost Donna. We haven't heard from her for a bit. I told Terry this was going to happen with a lot of people. They even could have given us a little bit of heads up before just doing it.
Finally, a pic of my bales... they really ARE under all that vegetation. I have learned a lot with this first year's trial, mostly what not to do.
Next year, the tomatoes will be spaced better, and the squash VERY separate. Perhaps I will put down weed fabric covered with mulch next to the bales with squash just to keep down grass 10 feet from the actual planted bales... the squash vines travel SO much.
I've been following this ever since I joined DG and find it fascinating. I currently use EB's for growing tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. I can't help but wonder what all I could grow in my "little piece of heaven" waaay down south. Think I'll show this to the DH and see if I can peak his interest a bit. Otherwise he might think I'm off my rocker if I start talking about growing a garden in bales of straw! LOL
Susan: many of the folks I introduce to bale gardening give me the "deer in the headlights look" alot. No matter how vivid I describe my garden, they just think it's another fish tale, until they see the photos!
And especially if they come by my house and see it first hand, up close.
So, just direct your DH to this site and have him see for himself.
Thanks for the welcome Kent. :) I'm reading and rereading. I'm telling ya ... this * really * has me thinking. I would love to try an experiment to see which would be the easiest ... EB's or strawbale gardening. I love to garden but need an easy and accessible way to do it.
Jnette wrote;"I have a cantaloupe hanging about 3 or 4 feet off the ground. I used bird netting to keep it from breaking off the stem."
I'm going for that next time around. It'll make them safely "self harvesting" I think, as when they're ripe you just need to touch the vine and it falls off. What a guess/work saver!! It will also keep them away from those nasty little things that ate holes in them, I hope...
Well, so far so good. It appears that it might be turning color a bit. Margo I am going to let you know how it does with coming off the stem bit. It isn't getting any bigger so the netting should work good.
And yes, the netting is keeping Mr. Squirrel away from the tomatoes except for one end that I was short of it. Today I reworked it so that should take care of it. He sure did like those nice big pink ones with the red meat.
I think that is what Brandywine does Margo. Pink with nice red meat inside.
I would put a little thumb pressure on the blossom end when you think it is ripe, if it don't give, I would wait a few days or a week. When you have just one you don't want to pick it too early, Right???
Which reminds me. I forgot to put some straw under my watermelons. Better go do that right now. Before those crawly things start working on them. They arn't quite ready yet.
What crawley things go after watermelons Russ? I would think their rind would be too thick for anything to bother them.
I will do that to the blossom end Russ. I worked in a fruit stand when I was 15 years old. A mighty looooooong time ago. I remember the smell of a ripe cantaloupe. gooooood. Now, I just pick the worst looking one in the store and leave it on my kitchen counter for another couple of days or a week and then cube it and put it in a plastic container in the refrigerator.
I guess that is what we love about this time of year. All the fresh fruit, and produce. Definitley worth the work.
Not very many other than stink bugs and I have had a little black and yellow bug get into them It may have been because of wet earth on the bottom side causing it rot first.
The stink (ie squash beatles) attack the stems.
I think if you catch that melon when it gets ripe, you will probably be growing more melons next year.
I guess we have to watch for those critters too. The netting would not keep them out. LOL
Also, my sister had a bear in her yard last night. Broke the top out of her plum tree. Darn it. It was the best one she had. Plum tree that is. It is so dry in the mountains that the animals are moving down looking for food. Even the berries up there dried up. So, the bears need to put some fat on for winter.
Yesterday evening before dush, we saw several deer in 3 locations... it's so dry and such a lack of food that housing doesn't deter them in daylight. Opossums and raccoons are getting my back deck when I haven't taken the compost to the bin, and into the dry food for my outside cat. Now I only feed her when she's actually on the deck.
Copperheads and Rattlers are being seen in the tiny trickles in the roadside creeks... no water anywhere else. I expect bears and big cats in my woods before long although there's no food supply.
Don't think I would try telling that bear that is my teritory- get out. At least don't think I would want to pick plums the same time it was there.
We don't get bears around here, I guess there a couple of black bears in the timber North of the city. But there would be too much open space between here and there.
I know Russ, I will never forget when I was a kid I went huckleberry picking with my cousins. I was picking on a pretty big bush when all of a sudden it shook and there was a roar coming from the other side. I didn't know I could move so fast. Locked the doors like I thought it could open them.
Something that feisty can get the adrenalin pumping right quick huh.
I'm almost ready with the seeds , I want to dry one more variety for you. The big beef. As I said I'm not sure about the melon seeds, but we have experienced some failure before. But if they work I think it will be worth the effort. Barb and I both liked the flavor, and we don't necessarily care for honey dews. That may have been the only ripe one we have ever tasted too. Not sure. Gary bought it at wal-mart. We were there the other day and saw they still had some. We still had a couple melons at home, so didn't pick any up. Oh well next week I get paid. If they still have them I think I will get a couple. I also want to get some small envelopes.
Interesting to read about the bears. I don't need to worry about them coming close. It is also very hot and dry here but absolutely no cover for big animals and no food either. Haven't even seen any deer lately or coyotes. Just birds. i think the hawks are doing their thing going south as have seen more than usual . My favorite hawk is the very pretty little Kestrel. I have a nest up for them but only birds that are interested in it are the darn starlings. A pair found or made a nest somewhere near as I see them on the power wires every day.
Yup Donna . It seems that house sparrows and starlings seem to take advantage of every thing, a person does for birds.
We do get a few Kestrels here but mostly red tail and a couple others We have some bald Eagles I have seen 5 that were all soaring in the same circles one day. Then of course we have the turkey buzzards too. There is always one or two of those that get hit by cars as they like to scavenge along the highways. I don't know all the hawks but I have seen a really big reddish brown one that seemed to be bigger than the bald Eagle.
Jeanette. I got a little bit smaller tomato and I did remember to weigh this one. It is 2lb 10 ounces, so I am more positive that the one I gave to the lady down the street, was indeed around 3 to 3 and a half lb. As that one was much bigger. However next time I state the weight I will weigh it first. I will be sure to send some of the seed. in hopes that you can grow some of those monsters too. It is kind of fun to give one or two of them to the shut ins who are even our senior. especially when you know they really appreciate it. And you see the look on their face like did you really grow this one. and they say something like I have never seen one this big before. She never lets Barb or me out of the house without a hug either. It makes me feel good that she appreciates what little we do for her.
Are the fires all out by you Donna? We even get the smoke clear over here when the wind blows. Almost every year when it is so smoky people say it's from Omak.
You know Russ, those eagles are scavengers too. One day we had to stop on the highway because there were crows, a turkey neck buzzard, and an eagle eating on a deer. They all flew away when we drove right up to them except the eagle. We honked and everything before that guy would leave. Must have been hungry and had a lot of nerve.
Do you guys have the Piliated Woodpecker? Looks just like Woody Woodpecker. About 18 inches long? I had never seen one until we moved over here from the coast.
That's a big tomato Russ. Would love to have some seeds from that one. Yes, people who just cannot garden anymore especially appreciate the produce this time of year just like we do.
Guess it was about May when we wanted the taste of a good tomato so bad and the produce manager in a store we normally don't go to suggested we try a local hydroponic grower's tomato. He said it was the next best thing to your own home grown tomatoes. So, I took him up on it and forked over $3 per pound to try them, and you know they were so good that we bought those until my sister's came on and then ours. Too bad to because it kind of ruined the long wait thru August and the anticipation for our own. LOL, but they sure were good.
I have to admit I haven't seen a pileated woodpecker since we left Missouri. I haven't seen as many of the red headed woodpeckers here as in MO. either. And yes Eagles are an opportunistic bird. The last few years that I worked I drove for a delivery company. I saw the most Eagles out in Nebraska somewhere around Neligh And they were usually sharing a meal of deer with crows and a hawk or two. Although they were not all eating at the same time. The crows kind of kept their distance.
We had someone that tried to grow tomatoes hydroponically for a while but quit when they lost the whole greenhouse full from some virus. They were good while he lasted but they were too expensive for me. I make a pig of myself during the season though. The rest of the time it is well, lets open a jar and have stewed tomato. Once in a while I will break down and buy two or three for a salad. But am getting more and more Leary of any salad greens that have been shipped in.
Know what you mean Russ, but I cannot eat those cardboard things they sell in the markets during the winter. The hydroponics place is about 20 miles from me. But, I see they have put a stop to the spinach again.
Yes, the local wildfires are out now. Had a couple of smoky days last week. i think the worst fire was near Chewelah. We have been really lucky not to have had more fires in this very dry summer. No lightning lately and of course no rain. Nice day today only got to 80 degrees.
I think I will go to Okanogan tomorrow to the OK. county fair. For more than 50 years i entered things in the fair, baked goods, canned things, flowers, garden produce, sewing and decorative stitching and won many blue, and grand champion ribbons. Got so disgusted with the internal politics of the fair the past 3 or 4 years that I stopped entering. Didn't go to the fair last year, the entries are way down. But thought I might take a little time and go tomorrow and see if things are better. A friend and I for many years judged Adult Arts & Crafts, but haven't in a couple of years, there was hardly enough entries to be judged.
Sure am glad the fires didn't bother you Donna. They were pretty bad everywhere.
That is so sad about the fair. There is so little for rural folks to do that when a few people ruin it for the rest it just isn't fair. You need to go though and see, maybe it has gotten better. If you haven't been there in that long you might be pleasantly surprised.
You might even get involved in it for next year. You do all that work anyway so you might as well enter some of it. I always thought it would be interesting to see on what basis they judge the arts and crafts, and even the animals. I would think it would be so difficult.
A couple of years ago there was a big issue with the Pend Orielle County fair here because the PUD purchased one of the animals. People cried foul, and they said they were just participating in the auction. Can't remember if it was a friend of the family who purchased the animal or even how it came out.
I just thought that was poor judgment for a publicly owned utility to selectively purchase an animal from one youngster.
Went to town today, primarley to get some juice for Barb. They only had 2 of those melons left. I typed in the name on the melons and this is what came up. I don't know if you can do 110 day melons or not but I Will include some of the seed. I guess start them early and then move them outside later.
Piel de Sapo (Toad Skin)
110 days. Oval, 8" long fruit, skin mottled green and yellow, somewhat like a toad’s skin. Sweet, white flesh has a very good taste; one of the earlier maturing winter melons, but still rather late. Very rare, from Spain.
For all of those who are so persnickety about their straw bale gardening, I want to show you something. This pic is of my compost bin last winter. It's 2 bales high & probably 5 bales x 3 bales around. The pic is taken from an upstairs bedroom window.
Late this spring, I filled it with everything I could find, stomped it all down & covered the whole mess with a thick layer of straw. I planted a dozen tomatoes: Sungold, Tomosa & Lemon Drop, a test sweet pepper plant, plus a few melon-y things, most of which died.
This is the sum total of my maintenance: No prepping of bales, some water-soluble crystals in the planting hole, water the 1st two days after planting, one application of organic food, and 2 foliar sprayings, one of kelp & one of Epsom salts.
THAT IS IT. Here is what the compost bin looks like today, looking back toward the window from the previous photo. (This was the only viewpoint from which you can even SEE any straw):
oh heck no. i just bought a liquid kelp bottle from somewhere or other, and the epsom salts you can buy at the drugstore (it's either a laxative or something you put in the bath, can't remember which). what the epsom salts do, mainly for peppers, is get key ingredients, magnesium & calcium, directly to those leaves. i only did that because i always do it for my peppers. The granular fertilizer was an organic one from Gardens Alive.
i was just trying to make the point that some people get a little anal about the straw bales. I don't prep, water, fertilize or stake. I just gave them a little attention the first 2 days & moved on to other things.
i'm still puzzling over why other people have needed to water their bales constantly. even in drought conditions that lasted till august, my bales were wet inside.
i didn't want to do the wholesale straw bale thing but thought i'd work with it on the compost "bin," which is dead space once it's topped off (i also do not turn or layer or measure my composting stuff, plus throw dead animals in there, so i let it sit 2 years).
i do NOT like working HARD in the garden, just working, can you tell?!
... and a few tomatoes. My tomato plants are still loaded (I was late in getting them planted) and bed sheets protected them for our one night of frost. If the forecast is correct, we will have about 10 more days before another frost.
I guess I missed that one too Catmad. Darius, we haven't had a frost yet, but I tried eating one of the tomatoes on the vine that looked so good and the skin was so tough that when I tried to bite it the juice squirted at the stem end. Never did get my teeth into it. LOL Guess I should have tried harder but thought I would have juice all over myself and the tomato wouldn't be worth it anyway.
I have also noticed the tougher skin on the tomatoes as the days grow shorter and cooler. But they still slice up just fine. The big ones don't seem to be getting as large as they were earlier either. I still can't complain. All too soon I will be longing for the flavor of a nice fresh home grown tomato! Speaking of tomatoes- - -I think we will go slice up a couple and call that supper LOL
Hi... a question a little bit off the topic... (sorry)... but is barley straw ok to use? Im trying to source straw bales a bit cheaper through wholesale, and this is what ive been offered.
I can't imagine any reason the Barley bales wouldn't work. You may get a few seeds germinating and coming up. I did with oats. But, they pull easy. I don't get many when I put the bales with the string down.
I use barley straw bales and they work fine. I don't find any problem. I do drip irrigate them, one hour a day. I also have a fertilizer injector along with my drip system.
The tomatoes have done great. I have picked green ones and have them ripening in the kitchen.
If anyone wants to know about my drip system speak up and I will write a report.
God Bless you, Lonejack.
Darius, I hope you're doing as well as your garden, it looks great!
Russ you haven't said what they found out about your daughter...thinking about it a lot...good luck to you
J'nette...the spinach recipe was great!
all you melon folk...try the little charantais melons...they did great for me this year & were sooo good!...they climbed the fence & were so small they didn't need support( about fist sized)...
But...My gardening ended early when the well went dry...now we're afraid to use the new one for the garden at all & so because of the water problems...we are setting up something new for next year...
First...we're moving the bales out into the field where they'll get more sun (barely 5 hours of sunlight a day in the old site) & its out of reach of the hose.
I am taking one of the solar panels from the pump house & attaching it to 2 small solar pumps ($30 ea.) fixed to a buried 100 gallon lidded plastic container & feeding into a drip system to the bales...
(waiting for instructions, Lonejack),
...the bales are being underlaid with waterproof plastic which feeds into 8"plastic sewer pipe sawn lengthwise which carries excess water back to the container...
No water waste...I have a water carrying golf cart which lets me refill the strawbale tank when It needs it from salveged roof water...no heavy lifting or well water required...the pumps are timed to go 3 times a day...haven't tested how long they'll need to be on...
Added Hep C to my list of maladies & my health has begun to interfere with the amount I'm able to do so things must be easy for me to keep gardening...& I
LOVE my strawbales...thank you, thank you, thank you Kent for spreading the word & all your great instructions...
Kent...do you think I could add Miracle Grow to the tanks water & maybe that would take care of the feeding?...Anybody?
have enjoyed watching all your input, folks...you really feel like friends...maybee 'll be able to add more next year
Foggy; Well we didn't like what they found.
Connie has 100% blockage from the carotid artery to her brain on the left side. That side of her brain is getting some blood flow from another source. Perhaps it is another vein trying to compensate for the loss of blood flow. She also has 80 to 85% blockage on the right side. They don't even want to do any surgery, because she is still getting along good. As the surgery don't have very good odds. But if she has a stroke, or starts going blind in one eye, She is supposed to get right in. But with blood thinners and amitriptlyn they have her headaches slowed way down.
She is staying with us and her children. and working two days a week, for some friends. Just keeping away from as much stress as possible.
I just dug the last of our sweet potatoes this morning. I think they done pretty well, except for not as many uniform sized taders. Many of the tubers wrapped around one another. Giving me some weired shaped ones. I did get a few uniform ones and one very big one. It didn't beat last years biggie tho, this one was only 6lb. 4oz. last years was 6lb, 8oz.
I am not sure why so many were twisted around one another unless there wasn't enough loose soil, or the plants were in the pots too long before planting, and I didn't straighten out the roots????
Sure feel for you with the water shortage. We had problems a few years after we bought this place. Was still working and getting lots of overtime.
I had a new well dug with a submersible pump instead of the sand point and an old pump jack. So I haven't had that problem. Not every body can have a 100ft. deep well though. I will just have to sympathise with you on that. I do like your plan for a water system. I use some water from a Koi pond we have. I would like to have PVC pipe between the rows with small holes drilled in them. to keep the water down low, so I could water even when it is blistering hot, and not hurt the leaves any.
So far the major problem I have is The nozzle keeps getting plugged with some of the trash that comes through the pump in the pond. But I'm sure the pond water has a lot of nutrient's in it that the veggies like.
I have a long soaker hose on the bales but it don't work as well as it should. Some places get no water and other places the water sprays out. But after the bales got really soft I didn't have to water any more as they stayed wet inside, between the rains.
Where did you get the Charantais melon seed. I would like to try some. I will put them on my list for next year.
Well I've rested enough I better get back out and try picking the last of the tomatoes. It is going to freeze this week sometime. so might as well get in what I can. I also need to dig all my ornamental S/Ps too. Hoping to get slips from them in the spring as well.
Summer, That sounds good. I already had my bales cooking when I saw your post before, So I wasn't going to try moving them. I may give it a try next year though.
I will be taking down the cattle panels and posts that held them as I will be increasing the size of that garden spot. as I had 3 garden spots this year. It would be a little easier to have it all in one " less hose draging".
I will be putting the bales over an area that some of the previous owners had used for a place to get rid of tin cans and other junk. When trying to till it up before my tiller got caught in an old bucket handle, I also dug up a part of a feed grinder. so for what I can plant in bales that might be a good place. Russ
Jeanette; Connie has had more than a second opinion. The artery is in her brain and the problem is if they do anything It could dislodge, a part of the plaque and death or paralysis would probably nearly instantaneous. Also that part of the artery has shrivelled up to a point where it is no longer an option. I didn't come to this conclusion very easily. but I feel she is doing the right thing. She is trying to get every thing in order. and enjoy what good life God will offer her. I believe that the problem may even correct its self by forming a new route to get the blood needed to that side of her brain.
Supper time gotta go
Thanks Kent In my heart I know that prayers is her only chance, to see her grand children graduate. which is what she would like to see. Only one has started school as of yet. I don't think that is too much to ask of the Lord. At least not after some of the things he has done for us, that could not be explained any other way.
Summerkid: thanks for the compost suggestion, I think I'll lay it out that way...we had some terrible windy conditions that dried the bales a lot & 104 degree heat which just burnt everything to a crisp this year...our little corner of the county was particularly bad off...LOVE those charentais!
I'm turning to solar pumps & salvedged water for next years garden...& I have several rolls of shade cloth & light row cover ...I am going to keep them rolled up on top of my posts so I can roll them down in the hot afternoons & on windy days & when the beetles are active...wish me luck.
Was raised in Springfield , Ill, this area is similar but really bad droughts for the last ten years are killing the forests & emptying the wells.
Russ: so sorry about Connie, my prayers are with you, too.