hi-we live a hot and dry climate - once the bales have been seasoned and planted-
Any thoughts on the best watering system for straw bales? Lazer drilled hoses versus the black spongy soaker hose? We have well water. I wondered if others have had problems with the lazer drilled hoses clogging?
I started seasoning my bales- Day 1-3 lots of water. Days 4-5 blood meal watered in. Today is day 6. I can't feel any heat in the bales. How long does it usually take until I can feel the heat ?
I'll hold off on cooking the bales for now and move on to setting up my watering system. We have hot and dry summers-(80-90). I'm trying to setup a hands free watering system, on a timer. Once the bails are established and the plants are growing, will they require more water than veggies grown in a traditional garden? I'm trying to decide which diameter of soaker hose to go with.
Once you get those bales soaked good at the beginning, it should only take about 1 gallon to 1.5 gallons to water each bale and you can get the water directly where you need it, around the plants.
I use my watering wand for about 10 seconds per bale - give or take a second or two.
Until the bales really start decomposing and softening up it's probably good to water each day since the young plants don't have a good root system.
It may seem like more watering than a traditional garden, but it takes a lot of water to saturate a dirt garden unless you have soaker hoses going down each row, which most people don't.
They generally use sprinklers which are very inefficient since you end up soaking the whole garden including the middle of the rows, and them may only get moisture down in the ground just an inch or two.
I don't water the sides of the bales, just from the top.
Hey, that is the fun of it. Letting the neighbors wonder. Once you get a real nice crop of veggies (I hope you are going to plant some tomatoes) growing they will be jealous. Don't forget to support anything like tomatoes.
I am in Northeast Washington so am probably colder than you. I just started mine, only this year I am trying hay. I don't know whereTerrebonne, Oregone is. Are you east, west, or central Oregon?
We cannot use the county supplied water for gardening and use rainwater, so it is at a premium until we can create more rainwater storage. We wrapped a 12" strip of black plastic around our bales last evening with the hopes of conserving moisture, holding them together better, and helping to raise the temps. I may be fooling myself though.
Bev: I think the plastic will definitely help with moisture retention and keeping the heat in, which is great during early planting when temps are still relatively low in your area, especially at night.
Doug's experiment with bales IN an enclosure seems to validate that idea.
The county does not restrict our water use. The water has too much of something in it that upsets my stomach and weakens the plants. I think it killed my new grass sprouts and some veggies last year, too. If I still had well water I would definitely consider the use of gray water! Thanks for the suggestion though.
2 questions re watering requirements (arid climate).
Do I need to water the veggies with the "normal" amount of water that I would use for a traditional raised bed garden, or do I need to increase the water to keep the bales wetter? I'm new at bale gardening, and new at veggie gardening. Seems like I want to put more water on the bales to keep them wet, but it seems like this is too much water for the veggies.
I'm setting up an automatic watering system to help water if I'm not around. I'm installing 1/4 inch soaker hose, connected to 1/2 inch mainline plastic hose, which is connected to thea pressure reduce that reduces the well water pressure from 60 to 25 .
Here's the problem: The 1/4 inch soaker hose is unpredictable. There seems to be a lot of water coming out of the first foot of soaker hose and less water thereafter. It doesnt matter how long the run is- the first foot does a better job of watering.
I just re-read Kents comments above: " Once you get those bales soaked good at the beginning, it should only take about 1 gallon to 1.5 gallons to water each bale and you can get the water directly where you need it, around the plants."
Kent- doesnt the rest of the bale dry up? Since you are concentrating the water on the plant-the remainder of the bale dries out. Is this okay?
Maybe I'll do away with the soaker hose and use the button waterers that deliver a fixed volume of water on each plant, instead of trying to keep the entire bale wet.
What are other folks doing, the folks who are using automated systems?Thoughts?
GG: when I say "getting the water directly where you need it", I mean all on the WHOLE bale instead of a traditional sprinkler that has to send water over the entire garden area including the middle of the rows which is a waste.