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Alternative Gardening: Cement blocks and straw garden

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Mantua, OH
(Zone 5a)

October 25, 2007
1:44 AM

Post #4120541

New subscriber to this straw bale forum. Two years ago, I had enough old
cement blocks to form a rectangle shape garden area. I had bales of straw
left over from mulching another garden area. I placed the straw bales inside
the cement block area, two rows, three bales each row. Bales were cut loose, spread out and some dairy compost added on top. Planted zinnias,
marigolds, and dahlias as an experiment. The plants grew nicely! Cement
blocks held moisture in the bales for a long time. Skipped this year to make
compost in the cement block area. Will enlarge cement block area next year
and try other flowers.
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

October 26, 2007
4:55 AM

Post #4124648


That sounds pretty good. The only problem I can see is since the straw is loose that you wouldn't have any way to stake anything like tomatoes or pole beans, that need the support. Other than that, I don't know why you couldn't grow things like cukes, squash, etc.

Mantua, OH
(Zone 5a)

October 28, 2007
12:41 AM

Post #4130359

Plan to try scarlet runner beans and malabar spinach next
year that will need staking...maybe pound stakes in ground
between the bales...we shall see...
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

October 28, 2007
5:08 AM

Post #4131139


Wait a minute. I thought you said all of your bales were loose. If not, you should be able to stake in the bales. Also, if you are only using the cement blocks as a framework then you should be able to put the stakes into the ground. Is that possible? Maybe I missed something. Terribly sorry if I did.

Mantua, OH
(Zone 5a)

November 1, 2007
9:39 PM

Post #4148014

Hello Jeanette...thanks for the reply...I think I will be able to put
the stakes in the ground...The cement framework will be half uncut
bales and half loose bales...will have to come up with some sturdy
stakes other than the bamboo ones I have been using...thanks!
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

November 2, 2007
11:28 PM

Post #4151766

The "T" fence stakes are pretty sturdy but awful if you want to take them out. I think there is a tool that does it. Not sure.

Hornick, IA
(Zone 4b)

December 30, 2007
2:00 AM

Post #4339335

Jeanette I have seen better ones but this should give you an idea what they have.
But you already know the size of my post puller. LOL It has four wheels and a bucket. LOL Add a short chain with the cut out piece of iron on the end of the chain, The post don't stand a chance. A little pressure on the bucket control, and the post is out.
What can I say I go for easy!! Edit to say enter post puller in the key word box, click on search.

This message was edited Dec 29, 2007 8:03 PM
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

December 30, 2007
6:16 AM

Post #4340116

Russ you are so smart. You remind me of my dad. In the "smart" department. He was too. I was always amazed at what he came up with. In the early days of automobiles he invented the windshield wipers, but he didn't have enough money, what with 5 kids, to patent it. There were several other things that went that way.

I've seen that link before. Can't remember what I was looking for. Lotsa things there.


Hughesville, MO
(Zone 5a)

January 15, 2008
5:27 AM

Post #4404141

I have concrete block frame raised beds but am thinking of raising them even more with the bales of straw or hay. First I have to find some at a reasonable price. Not sure just what to raise in them tho. Maybe my tomatos and pole beans. Those beds are along the birdyard fence & only one is raised. But the bales would really get the pole beans up onto the chain link fencing. I'll have to think about it. Do carrots do well in straw bales? Our soil here is so compact it is hard to raise carrots of any size.

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