What is straw bale gardening?

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Shouldn't there be a brief description below the title of the forum, or a sticky? I came here out of curiosity, and I guess I'll just look through all the posts. There's no definition in Gardenology or Botanary...I'm guessing it's just planting in bales of straw???

Greensboro, AL

I agree KYWoods. A sticky would be nice. As it is I did a search to find Strawbale #1 and Ive been plodding through in my spare time ever since. So far Ive figured out that you don't just plant in the bales of straw--you have to "season" them first. And, I don't think it means with Worchestershire Sauce.

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

LOL, Gloria! Somehow, I think you're right!

Wake Forest, NC

Bale Gardening: NO weeding, NO hoeing, NO tilling!

That's what it is.

Kent

This message was edited Sep 18, 2007 10:57 PM

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

No kidding?? I like that idea!

Wake Forest, NC

KyWoods: hey, if it was complicated, I couldn't do it. :-)

Kent

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Hi Kent,

Haven't heard from too many of the gardners. Wonder how Bronx Boy is doing with his produce selling. I suppose most of them are like me and winding down in the garden. I am just picking the tomatoes as they ripen now. I sauce about every 2 or 3 days and then when I have enough to bottle I combine them all and hot bath them.

Russ, I am going to pick that lone melon one of these days. The weather lady says we are going to get cold soon so I guess I will bring it in and ripen it on the kitchen counter.

Gwen how are your melons doing? I would think you have quite a lot of time left before it gets real cold, but don't know if it will be warm enough to ripen them.

After I clean up the garden then work on the compost piles for a bit. Have to clean up my plant room. I have run out of room in there so I am going to take all of the pots outside and turn them over, put a tarp over them for the winter. That will give me some room to winter over a few of my touchy plants.

Jeanette

Wake Forest, NC

Jeanette: yep, things are cooling down on the gardening front for most of us. I'm not even watering my garden, just letting it catch the rain (when it rains!). I've got tons of peppers I need to pick.

I'm getting more used to the FORUM, with the different threads for different subjects, which lessens the reading one would have to do if you're just joining us.

As time passes it should help those looking for info on certain aspects of bale gardening.

I guess I'm OPEN for the new changes.

Opps! There's that word, again.

Kent

Greensboro, AL

SB. Howabout writing a brief sticky for people just starting, so we don't have to go back to Strawbale 1 - 18 just to learn the basics?

thanks,

gloria

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Gloria I think you need to email Terry about that. That is up to ADMIN to do that. They make the decisions here, as has been pointed out.

Jeanette

Wake Forest, NC

gloria: here's a link to an article that I wrote for Carolina Country magazine, the March 2007 issue. If you lose the link you can go to www.carolinacountry.com and look in the past issues.

This link is also somewhere in one of the threads.

This is about as concise as I can make it.

http://www.carolinacountry.com/cgardens/thismonth/march07guide/StrawBales3.07.pdf

If I had to write it again, I'd make 2 changes:

1. I'd rather have natural twine than the plastic strings. The plastic strings are a pain when you're trying to take up the old bales.

2. I am now in favor of planting with the bales string-side DOWN, which is what I did this year. No where near the water runoff. With the string side UP, the orientation of the straw acts like hundreds of tiny tubes and the water/nutrients go right on through at a faster rate.

Kent

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Kent,

I am confused. If you have the strings on the ground, wouldn't that put strings on the top also? UP? Or, do you mean the strings on the sides? I think I know what you mean, especially when you say they act as tubes. Which they would with the strings running around the sides.

Now if you didn't confuse Gloria, I am sure I did. LOL

Jeanette

Tucson, AZ

Is this what you mean by having the strings on top?
Should I have my thread moved from the southwest gardening forum to here?
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/766827/

went back and re-read Kent's post and now I'm confused too. If the strings are up that also means they are down? No? Clear as mud?

This message was edited Sep 19, 2007 11:37 AM

Thumbnail by rayman6422
Greensboro, AL

I think it means that the straws are oriented up and down rather than horizontally?

SB, thanks for the link. Much to study.

I usually get a bale or two of hay for my rabbits this time of year. Hopefully, there will be a spare one for experimentation.

Wake Forest, NC

Everyone is correct, I should have said OFF the ground, rather than UP.

I was in somewhat of a hurry when I wrote it.

To recap, I have come to prefer the strings ON the ground rather than the strings OFF the ground.

Rayman:the way you have your bales is the way I prefer to plant. Strings on the ground. I see your bales have 3 strings per bale. I'd cut the middle string once I got ready to plant if it makes it harder to make a crack in the bale.

Sorry, ya'll.

Kent

This message was edited Sep 19, 2007 6:59 PM

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Great article, Kent--thanks for the link! I noticed you plugged DG, too. :)

Tucson, AZ

Thanks for the advise Kent. I'll be cutting the strings tonight.
Ray

Wake Forest, NC

I encourage all of the "new" folks to put their location on the map:

www.frappr.com/strawbalegardeners

Kent

Plano, TX

gloria and kywoods--did you find our what strawbale gardening is? i agree that it is not clear and i did not find the article in carolina country website--i grow lots of flowers now and use the lasagna method and do a little with composting but i would like to maybe try the strawbale gardening for veggies if i can figure it out

Adelaide, Australia(Zone 10a)

If you had a sticky at the top of the forum, you could call it "Start with a Bale of Straw..." LOL! Seriously, it's not a bad idea to have a sticky for newbies. It can also double as a welcome to our forum for the curious gardeners out there. The important thing with a sticky is not to get too many chatty posts on it or it will get too long to load which defeats the purpose of having it there. A polite note at the bottom from the thread maintainer usually does the trick, similar to what you have been doing with the change overs from part to part. The sticky thread is the place for all the useful tips and ideas, so that people don't have to hunt for them - not everyone has the time (or the energy) to do what I did and start from part one and read the lot. LOL,
TTFN KK.

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

I did--the link Strawbaleman put in a previous post explained it. I haven't tried it, since I live in my parents' home, and don't have a lot of freedom to try new things here. But it looks interesting, and I will keep it in mind if I ever do get another place of my own.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I guess Kent's explanation is too simple for a sticky.

No weeding, no hoeing, no tilling. LOL, did I get it right Kent?

Decide what you want to plant first to determine if you are going to need stakes, i.e. support, trellises for vines, or let them sprawl. If you want them to sprawl do you want to keep the grass and weeds from coming up through them? Then cover the area with either weed block, newspapers, whatever. Season the bales per Kent's directions in part #1. Make holes for the roots if you are going to use seedlings. Use potting mix if you are going to seed direct.

That's pretty much it.

Simple

Jeanette

Plano, TX

thanks all--i don't really know what a "sticky" is--kaelkitty, you said the sticky is a thread so people don't have to hunt for ideas--so it is what i see at the top of some of the discussion groups? the first entry ? well i did hunt and found some info from strawbaleman and i guess i get it for the most part--i wonder if it is hard to keep the bales wet in a dry place like texas? also--it seems that with our hot long summers maybe the roots would be too exposed?

Adelaide, Australia(Zone 10a)

yes planolinda they are "Stickies" because they "Stick" to the top of the forum. CHeck out the Aroids forum for a couple of good examples. Usually one of the people who started the forum (Kent in our case) collects the appropriate information, then they ask Admin to make it into a sticky. KK.

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

I think of them as cyber Post-it sticky notes. LOL

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Linda, I don't know about Texas, but even in Washington in the summer I water every day. Some of the people asked about wrapping the sides with plastic. Don't know if they did and how it worked out if so. No, the roots will not be exposed. Most plant roots will stop when they reach air. And probably grow in a different direction. LOL I said most so I wouldn't get a whole list that don't.

I think Kent said a lot with no hoe,weed,or till. But then people had questions, some had good ideas to try, and everyone just used their imagination and knowledge. Personally, I think you would learn a lot by reading through all of the parts. A lot of it is just chat, but that was fun too.

Jeanette

Plano, TX

thanks --i read part and some of it was really funny!!! quite the clever group!! by the way- i love washington state--spent a few summers there with relatives and just love it--i was in marysville, everette, puget sound area--liked seattle too--the only problem i have with the bale system is that this summer i finally fixed up my yard after living here 18 years!! it looks pretty now and so i don't know if i want the bale look!--sounds snobby maybe but i sure worked hard this summer --for the last 18 years it would have been fine!!! only problem is i wasn't into yard work then!!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Linda, don't feel bad. Bale gardening is not for everybody. You have worked hard on your yard and it looks nice, then why would you change it? There is a reason why we like the bale gardening. I have arthritis and can't get down to weed, search for fruit on the ground, I can't dig this ground I have, it is like cement. Everyone has their reason for why they do what they do. Some people are in wheel chairs and it works out wonderfully for them.

Enjoy your garden and just keep your mind open to new things. Then if they aren't what you want, reject them. For yourself. Not everyone.

Jeanette

Plano, TX

good way to see things--i think teh idea is a great one tho--and i have enjoyed learning about it--gardeners sure have some neat ideas!

Wake Forest, NC

planolinda: here's the link to the Carolina Country article:

http://www.carolinacountry.com/cgardens/thismonth/march07guide/strawbales07.html

and a 2nd link to the article in pdf format: http://www.carolinacountry.com/cgardens/thismonth/march07guide/StrawBales3.07.pdf

Kent

P.S. - Jeanette: no weeding, no hoeing, no tilling! ya got it down pat!!!

This message was edited Nov 11, 2007 1:49 PM

Plano, TX

thank you kent--i am a bit (well ok-more than a bit) computer challenged so thanks for making it easy for me to find!!!

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