conditioning bales

Menasha, WI

Hey All, I just put 50 bales along a 8' fence at our work place. Im in day two, Im following the books directions. I'm using cheap law fertilizer on 25 and blood meal on the balance, trying 50% organic.

Questions: With this many bales I wish the book would tell me how many gallon of water to saturate a bale..?? Wow, blood meal is expensive, any other ideas for nitrogen? For the none organic I'm wondering why there is no talk in the book about liquid nitrogen options. why not? Lastly, day two is a rain day, 2 inches so far, do I need to water?

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I think the recommended amount of water per bale is up to 5 gallons of water. I stop at 3 if we have had rain and the bales seem wet enough. But with 50 bales that's a lot of water!

Yes, blood meal is horribly expensive. Years ago I bought a large bag of urea (quite cheap) and have some left over. It is not strictly organic but better, in my opinion, than ammonium nitrate. I also found some organic fertilizer in the shed with a high nitrogen number compared to the other two so used that a couple of times. Thus I didn't use as much urea. Use the urea at half the recommended amount of blood meal.

The best thing to do is put your new bales in place in the fall and let them sit for the winter. If you do that you avoid having to add much of anything. They will break down nicely on their own and be ready in the spring or summer. Since you are in Texas your times will be different. I have not read the book you are referring to because years ago I got all the information from this forum and then created a synopsis which I follow. I have also added my own fertilizers and potting mix when planting.

If it is raining heavily you can probably skip the watering for that day. Two inches is a nice bit of rain!! We are having the opposites problem here - very little rain in the last two-three months which has made preparing the new bales a challenge. I didn't have time last fall to put out enough bales so had to prep in this dryness. I have vowed to not let that happen again. Next year let them prep themselves!

Good luck and let us know how it worked out!

Mount Sterling, KY(Zone 6b)

Gardadore, can you direct me to the thread (if there is one particular thread) that gives the specifics on straw bale gardening. And which plants are best suited for this type of gardening? I am interested in trying this , but am not sure what the best way to go about it is. Thanks!

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)


I have sent you a d-mail with the info you want. I created a synopsis of the method culled from all the threads on Strawbale Gardening. There are hundreds of pages from the beginning and I went through all the tips and created a one page version that anyone can use. It is not the last word on the method but it works for me. So check it out.

If anyone else would like a copy of this synopsis on straw bale gardening with info on what to buy, conditioning methods, etc just d-mail me!

I have posted it on previous threads but couldn't tell you how to find it again!

Mount Sterling, KY(Zone 6b)

Thanks again for the info! I appreciate you taking the time to sort through it and give me the highlights. I would still be reading and trying to figure it out.

Fort Worth, TX

Pond sludge is a cheap nitrogen source, all of my gardens end up with too much nitrogen.

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