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Well - aren't you just a little ray of sunshine :-p
"if you would only take time to read them:
Funny that you should say that Perry... as I mentioned, I was sure the subject had been discussed before and that I requested mercy.
I even said "please".
Perhaps if I said pretty please...
The fact is I have been wading though the posts all morning, none of the questions are addessed in an organized or labled thread.
Gleaning a bit here and there all willy-nilly was consuming more time than I could afford and making my head spin.
If you happened to know the answers to any of my questions a simple yes or no would have taken you less time to write than you snippy reply and would have made my day a little sweeter too.
Dove: if you say pretty please WITH a tomato sandwich on top, I'll play with you! :-)
1. Anything that has some nitrogen in it should work. I love ammonium nitrate. It's easy to get in my area.
2. 6 - 8 weeks should be more than enough to prepare your bales without any additives as long as you keep them moist. I'd check the bales after 3 weeks to see if they have soften up some in the middles and have started decomposing.
3. 2 to 4 tomatoes, 2 - 3 peppers, 2 hills of okra, 2 hills of squash, 4 to 6 hills of cukes; no experience with the others.
I didnt use the ammonium nitrate to cook my bales either.
I used about 3 applications of blood and bone meal (1cup per bale, about 5 days appart) and some strong home made horse manure tea, chunky bits and all.
It took about 3 weeks untill I could plant them.
I put 3 tomatoes/peppers per bale. And about 4 cucumber sets per bale. So far so good. I am half way through my growing season at the moment, everything is getting pretty big and ripening by now.
I do all my gardening strictly organic, and intended to do the same with my strawbales. After planting I continued to feed with b&b meal and the manure tea. I gave an application of store brought organic seaweed tea, which was great. But very costly. I couldnt keep up. I think Kent said to feed about 3 times per week!
I have since given a few additional applications of comercial general purpose fertiliser to only my bale tomatoes, because they just werent keeping up with the others in the ground, and I didnt want to see them do poorly and go to waste because I was to stubborn to feed them. Home made organic preparations (in liquid form) take alot of time and effort as you will know. Feeding my soil with compost and manure every year is alot less complicated.
For a universtity student, I possibly took on a little much by growing 115+ heirloom tomato plants, organically! About 50 of them are in bales, as well as a few peppers and cucumbers.
I think it is possible, but alot more work. Maybe ill grow a few less next year and get it right... Let me know how you go!
Lena that was a very good comprehensive instruction you gave Dove. I think we all could use some of that advice whether we are going completely organic or not. I used to use manure tea, also alfalfa tea is good.
Be sure to take pictures Dove. Lena's are wonderful. Especially this time of year with the snow for most of us.
Here are a couple of pictures I took today from my windows.
Dove: how soon can you get that sandwich down to NC? :-)
Lena: as Jeanette said, great post back to Dovey.
Jeanette: man, look at that snow! We've had just 1 dusting so far this year. Temps have been at record highs. I guess it'll eventually get cold here. I've been riding around with my patrol car windows down all day for the past 2 days, and even had to put the a/c on a few times.
Great outline, very helpful.
I have always prepared my garden beds using the lasagna method and, with a little patience, had fabulous results.
Now I can't wait to try straw bales. During the summer I pretty much have a continuous batch or Alfalfa Tea brewing, depending on the plant, I water with it once or twice a week. If I plan on using the whole batch at once I add Fish Emulsion, kelp meal and other stinky stuff right before "serving" the tea.
Oh my gosh that's an impressive layer of snow!!!
What part of Washington do you live, it looks a lot like pictures my brother sent of his house. They live in Weston, OR, which I guess in on the boarder of WA & OR.
Is that normal or has it been one of those strange last days weather like of years?
I used blood meal to start mine cooking. I think it took about 3 weeks. I live on Whidbey Island in Washington. Last year was my first time for strawbaling. I had the best tomatoes I've ever grown.
I put 3 plants per bale. I did tomatoes, green peppers, and a very small cantelope. The cantelope was an experiment. Someone sent me the seeds and we weren't even sure if I'd get fruit. (I did!)
This year I am actually going to 'teach' a very short class on straw bale gardening at our new 4H Food for Thought project. Each month they are going to give a cooking demo and a short gardening class and then we eat the food cooked and talk about sustainable living. This is a new project and my Master Gardener group has hooked up to help with the gardening portion as our intern project. I'm excited about it as I love to cook and garden.
I know what you mean about reading all the posts and finding the info you want. I have followed the strawbale posts for over a year before I tried it last year and it was difficult to get the info you need from the many many posts. The great thing about DG is that we can ask questions and someone will pop up to help, even if the questions have been asked over and over.
I belong to another forum like that, the Green Eggers forum (www.greeneggers.net) and we get the same questions on a daily basis. Yet the same great folks pipe up to help out the newbies and have been doing so for years. Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?
LOL, Gwen, I sent you the cantaloupe seeds. Did you actually get melons??? I got one!! And, I picked it so it wouldn't freeze because it was so late and I had it on my kitchen counter where it fermented. Gross!!
What are the green eggers? I will look. Yes, the internet is great.
Your teaching the strawbale gardening and also the cooking sounds like a lot of fun.
I got a couple of melons. I didn't eat them because we left them on too long but my husband did pick them off and bring them in. It's hard to say how tasty they would have been. After you told me you didn't think we'd get fruit, I sort of left them alone and by the time I read that people were getting fruit, it was too late. LOL At least now I know I can do melons here! I thought perhaps our weather was too cool. But I'd try the smaller varieties again in an instant.
The Big Green Egg is a ceramic kamado style bbq made by a company called -- what else? -- Big Green Egg. Fabulous group of people. I have met many of them in real life and they are as nice in the flesh as they are online. As have been the DGers I've met!
Learning a new gardening technique and then teaching others is fantastic, good for you.
I find most people who love gardening, love sharing their knowledge as well. (A trait I'm most grateful for)
I bought some Minnesota Midget cantaloupe seeds I plan to try this year, I have high hopes for the little cuties.
Dove, where did you find those seeds? For the little melons? I don't recall seeing them, but then I don't look real close at the fruit because I am so short on space. But those sound like something I might be able to grow here in our short season.
I will. Right now I have a lot of seeds, purchased, and given to me, and I am running out of room. I don't know how anybody gets 3 plants per bale, unless their bales are bigger than mine. The ones I work with will only handle 2.