Bales partially decomposed; can I shortcut process?

Phoenix, AZ

I set six straw bales in my backyard where they've been through several cycles of flood irrigation. Now, I've moved them to another location and turned them upside down. Meaning, the sides that are now up have been flood-watered to a depth of at least six inches. (The water stands in the yard for nearly two days.) The dry sides are now on the ground. So... Can I shortcut the prep process since decomposition has already begun? What would you advise?

Wake Forest, NC

With the scenerio you just gave I'd wet the bales down good and keep them damp for a good week and then see if there's any heat build up inside a bale. Stick your hand down in a bale and see how it feels. If it's not heating up, then I'd say you're ready.

I'd still use some potting mix when you transplant.


P.S. - Don't be in a hurry to transplant into the bales. The more time they have to soften up with the decomposition, the better hosts they are.

This message was edited Sep 13, 2007 10:11 PM

Phoenix, AZ

Thanks, Kent; I'll do that. Believe me, I'm in no hurry to plant; it was 108 here yesterday and *might* start to be tolerable to man and beast in a week or two. Even Home Depot had the good sense not to put out veggie transplants!

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