OK, Jeanette, here ya go!
Straw Bale Gardening (part 18) - General Discussion
No problem Lena. Thanks Kent. Wow that was fast.
Lena I found your mum's house. The very one. It is beautiful. What a nice home town to be from.
What are you going to do with your tomatoes while you are gone for a whole month Lena? Now the neighbors are going to think you actually built those fences to keep them out of your tomatoes while you are gone.
Russ, I never could figure that stuff out, and I live only about 40 miles from Canada. They have that up there.
I don't think Kent is actually a flyer Russ. Do you? He did say "land" instead of "park it" though. Maybe... . . . . . .
I'll bet Donna could navigate. She seems to be pretty good out there in that desert she lives in. Guess Barb and I could throw the peanuts.
Hey couldn't sleep, so just got here. Yup definitely have to have the peanuts for a flight like that. Course being an old Navy man, I've seen a lot of scenery like that. Almost got to go to Australia once but the carrier I was on. had to take the place of another that had the boiler blow up. Never got another shot at going anywhere near the Southern Hemisphere again.
On the time thing I was referring to was that I hadn't heard of metric time . Although some companies do have time clocks that keep track of tenths of an hour.
I'm gonna have to go back to the pic to see if I can find the house.
Beautiful scene, absolutely picturesque.
Jeanette: no formal flying lessons, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express once! That should do it.
I'm not sure I want to fly with Kent, my husband many years ago, owned with a friend, a small Cessna that they used when it was legal to hunt coyotes for pay. I was learning to fly that plane when I got pregnant with my youngest son and Dr. told me to stay on the ground! so never got my pilots license. Course that was about 57 years ago!!!!
Jeanette., i do keep my little gh at about 50 degrees in winter, and have heated pads for under seeds and cuttings. I finally ordered a new 120 volt heater from Charley's as the one I am using is an old one and I don't trust it.
Never been to Australia or NZ but always wanted to go there.
Jeanette; If Kent can fly on a stay at Holiday Inn Express. I guess I could Co-Pilot with my experience at keeping up with truckers from Sioux City to Tulsa Oklahoma. Yes Kent, That was peddle to the metal.
I did fly with, a famous pilot, from Pensacola to Jacksonville in a helicopter. He let me take the controls, after we were in the air. I done pretty darn good too. That still don't help with landing Right ???
Unless you consider What Goes Up Must Come Down!!!!!!!
Sounds like we've got a full crew. Lena where is the nearest hotel? Do you guys have any of those little hopper things there? You know the Marsupeal (isn't that right?) things. Little kangaroos. Not the big ones, they look like they could kick pretty good. 'course the little ones could probably pack a good punch too.
Or are those in Australia? No snakes. I don't like snakes. Or spiders.
When are the tomatoes suppose to be ripe?
BTW Russ, I have 4 tomatoes up today!!
Jeanette; If I read it right, NZ. has no poisonous varmints. spiders or snakes. As Australia does, I don't know about the little hoppers
( Wallabies) Maybe we should all buy lottery tickets. Win our way there. Ha Ha HA :>)
Good idea Russ. With my luck we would all win on the same lottery, one million less taxes and to get it now, split how many ways? We would have to hitchhike.
Hey it's your elbow that's bad not your thumb. :>)
When I was younger and dumber. I would hitchhike, from Pensacola FL. to Denison IA. to see Barb, on long weekends. Of course I had a Flight back. It may have helped being in uniform. The best time I made it in 20hrs. Worst time was 36hrs.
Now I imagine I would have to walk all the way.LOL
No we have no poisoness nasties here, no snakes or biting spiders, and no little hopper things either. little hopper things, thats cute, made me laugh alot :-)
Like Australia, NZ has very unique biodiversity, it sepparated from the big main continent gondwana land over 80 million years ago. Just birds, fish, and insects. No native mamals, just a small forrest rat I think. and fruit bats.
People have changed that a little.
Cool you found my house! I havent been home since June, I miss my Mummy and Daddy a bit. And the cats. And the little beach just down the track from the house...Will see them in january just before going to Germany. Dad and i will go together, Mum already went earlier this year. And my sister cant get time off work in jan.
Yes its a worry, what will happen to my garden when Im away. Im hoping I can rely on Igor my flatmate to give it water and keep the plants tied up a little. And Im trying to organise friends to come and do "shifts" of garden work. Mainly watering tieing and feeding. Ill have everything well mulched as well. Cant really expect anyone to come and pull weeds for me. Igor is pretty good though, I chose him well. A Dr of plant biology and genetics.He works at the same univerity I attend. At least he wont let my plants die! Maybe I shouldnt have planted as many tomatoes...
Tomatoes bigin to ripen in jan/feb and keep producing right through to April. I still had one volunteer plant bravely making fruit amongst my peas in may! The frost claimed it eventually
So March is the best month. Nicest weather too. So Ill see you all in march then, yeah? Great!
This is the little beach Im missing. sigh
Russ no wonder Barb married you if you went to all that trouble. I've never tried hitching. We have picked some up now and then tho. Not often, and depending. It always helps to have a car parked and be walking with a gas can.
Lena, don't give me bats either. I have them flying around in my house in the summer.
Your beach is beautiful. So, Lena, what body of water is that? Is it salt or fresh water? Sorry, I do not know my geography very well.
I don't see how you could go wrong picking a flatmate like that one!! Atta girl!! You did good. So, does the weather start to turn cold in April? Like our October? How cold does it actually get? We had 3 degrees F. last night and again tonight I am sure.
Russ, tell Lena how cold 3 degrees is. Me too.
That would be -16.11111111 C
That is a beautiful beach. I can easily see why you would miss it.
Jeanette, I don't think the fruit bats would bother much. They would be trying to get out of our way. and in doing so, the noise would startle you.
We have a little snow on the ground. and it has switched to freezing rain. Don't plan on going any further than the mail box today.
I got the parts I thought I needed for the skid loader yesterday. By the time I got back from town, I decided to just cover it with a tarp. I do have a small propane heater I can take down in the back yard where it is. If it don't warm up enough for me, that is just what I'll do.
This morning the power kept blinking off, then back on. Done that about 8 or 9 times. Over a time period of 2 hours. Seems to be ok now though. We are up to 32 now 0 C for lena.
I don't believe it I got a seed catalog!! Well gonna go see what trouble I can stir up. We decided to go down to the barn, Gary wanted some help with something. That is only about three blocks so no problem.
Russ did you get that skidder working?
What are fruit bats then?
Whenever our power goes out I want to hide, thinking that maybe it is one of my trees that has fallen on the lines. When I call the dam to ask what has happened, they say, "a tree went down at so and so's property so we have to get out there and cut it off the lines". So, everybody knows whose fault it is that they don't have power.
We still have the 4 or 5 inches of snow that we got last Monday. It has been so cold that it hasn't thawed at all. But Monday it is suppose to be 38 degrees and raining. Wonderful!! I'll take that.
Fruit bats just happen to prefer fruit. The do also eat insects. I know around here they can be found down by the rivers and creeks where wild grapes and choke cherries and such can be found.
I wouldn't try picking any up as the bat is a natural carrier of rabies.
That don't mean they all have the disease, but to be safe it would be just best, to let them go on with their life. of riding us of a lot of the night time insects and what little fruit they eat.
No I didn't get the points and condenser put back in. I just decided I didn't need to get cold and wet. Cold not so bad but add the wet, I would surely catch cold. I'll let it quit raining first.
Oh Gary talked me into going to town with him to get a battery for his snow blower tractor. We weren't even a mile out of town, when he spun out, and we were in the ditch. Amazing enough he just put it in reverse and backed right out. But he was definitely more cautious the rest of the way.
Our mail carrier didn't do the route today on account of the weather.
It really wouldn't be so bad but the rain made the ice wet and the snow turned into slush. Just not a good combination.
I think they said it was supposed to warm up a bit next week here too.
What did you say you had for a light, for your new mater plants?
The NZ native fruit bats, or Pekapeka, are very rarely seen. Highly endangered and very small. Heres a picture of one being measured before being released back into the wild. I got it off a conservation site. Isn't it cute!
The water is saltwater, its inside the Bay of Islands harbour. Part of the Pacific Ocean. Can be quite clearly seen on google earth.
-16 that is incredibly cold. Almost to cold to imagine. In Palmy out temps get down to -2 C in winter, thats the coldest. Usually around 1 or 3 at night. So we get some frosts, but they thaw out very quickly. Up in Bay of Islands it barely ever gets frosty. And yes, the fun begins in April/May and lasts untill October. Our last frost was over a month ago now. Today it is so hot again I dont want to go outside, but I want to spend time in my garden, Im so torn...
Bats are endangered here too. Because of how many insects they eat. Mainly mosquitoes. So that is good. I just don't want them in my house. No, Lena he isn't cute.
I bought a HID light on a 6 ft track so it takes I can't remember, seems like 30 minutes to travel the length of the track. I bought it from a Master Gardner that had moved to where she didn't have a greenhouse. To tell you the truth, she probably is going to get a more powerful one. Which is fine. After I use this for a while I will probably do the same.
However, the person that wrote the information I sent you did not use a light. Probably florescents or just daylight.
So Lena, you probably don't swim in the bay much huh? I tried swimming in salt water once and found it to be sticky. But, it sure is pretty.
Yes, it is cold here. Suppose to warm up the first of next week for a few days before it goes down again.
Aww but look at that face!!! I dont think Id want him (her?) in my house either though. Is there not enough food for your bats to eat? Our bats are defenseless against introduced predators, thats why they are on the decline.
Yes, swim in the sea, alot. Some crazy locals even swim right through winter! You have only swam in the sea once before?That is very hard for me to comprehend, having spent alot of my childhood in the water. The Bay is one of NZ top holiday destinations because of its many bays, Islands, and beaches. Calm water, great for families to swim in. The exposed outer coastlines can be very rough. Only experienced surfers would swim there. Sea water is a little sticky, but very good for you.
No, now I will have nightmares. I don't want them in my house.
They have plenty to eat outside, but they have taken over my house in the summer for a maternity ward.
We have so many nice fresh water lakes around here there is no reason to swim in the sticky salt water. Nice to look at, but not to swim in.
Jeanette; I tried to teach Barb to swim, on Florida's Gulf Coast.
She is still a non swimmer. We didn't mind the saltwater. We would go to the beach nearly any weekend we had enough gas money. She was there 6 months untill I was transferred to Key West for a short time. The navy told us that housing was very limited there. While there - - - -Hurricane Donna cut across the keys. Also cut our fresh water supply. They issued us, what they called salt water soap, to take baths. Forget that, it don't work without a fresh water rinse. Nuff said. Barb was home in Iowa for that 3 month period.
Then we went to Rhode Island for the winter. We used that as a joke for quite a while. Just the opposite of the snow birds. :>)
I guess since I have the florescence that's what I will try. I may even try adding a couple of the newer energy saver bulbs. I will probably have to make my own set-up, for that. For first I will try the daylight fluorescence.
Russ, sounds like you had a little bit of all kinds of weather.
Working with whatever you have is best. My little tomato plants are looking pretty good. I gave them some Superthrive and peroxide this morning. That's another thing, have you ever used any peroxide in your plants? I would think that would work real good.
I'm going to ask that guy if I can find him again.
Oh, BTW, here's a picture of the bird feeder on my front deck I just took. This ones for you Lena. Russ & Barb will see it soon enough. LOL
Wow thats REAL snow! And lots of it. Amazing how its piled up on top of the bird feeder roof. And theres a litte bird in there, how cute. Thanks for showing me the picture Jeanette.
Reminds me a little of the bird feeder on my Grandmothers balcony in Germany. Winter must be a tough time for local wildlife, with weather like that.
Reminds me, have you looked at the photo contest winners? I accidentally stumbled across the link to it last night. Cant even remember where. I havent seen it posted anywhere obvious either, was a little surprised. Maybe I didnt look hard enough. Anyway, there are some beautiful shots of wild birds in there. The vegetable pictures are great too.
Jeanette; Ive used hydrogen peroxide, in some of the house plants and in rooting cuttings in water. I would think it would be necessary in a hydroponic system.
Seeing your bird feeder, reminds me. I was feeding the birds. untill I realized that a cat that has staked out our yard as its territory, and thought that it was for his benefit. :>( I have tried to get him to leave. even tossed him in the pond. He just gets back out and hisses about it. Then he is right back under foot. and wants attention. Course I can't toss him in now. The water is hard enough to walk on. :>)
Had a couple mice get in and were playing in the plants near the computer. Barb quickly left the computer. How do you clobber a mouse when it is in among your flowers? I tried breaking up some castor bean seeds, to see if they would meet their own demise. Then I baited a trap with some peanut butter. Caught the bigger one. Now that won't be a test for the beans. But I haven't seen the little one for quite a while, now????? Could it be???They were both eating them.
The only time I was out today was to get the Sunday paper. Walked very carefully as it was very slick. The ice on top of the snow kept me from making any tracks. The roads must have been better than yesterday as the paper was there. Yesterday the mail lady didn't run the route. I couldn't blame her either. Will just have more to look at on Monday.
I called the few people that would have come to church. We all concurred that it wouldn't be wise to have the minister drive 20 miles in this stuff. He isn't a young man any more. So I called, and told him we thought it best just to cancel it today. Most of the board members were in Kansas City any way. Our SS teacher stayed in town last night.
Yup this is enough winter I'm ready for spring Yeah right, its not even the first day of winter yet. I have gotten 2 seed catalogs though. Don't think I will order from them though. No real bargins for shoping early.
Although they do have some gopher purge, that is also suposet to ward off moles and gophers. I may try that. It may be an aggressive plant though as it says , not availible in AZ.
Well so much for my trip to the dr. tomorrow. They are running snow warnings on the TV. All the schools are closed. We have about 18 inches of snow out there. Suppose to rain tomorrow tho so we won't have it long.
No, I didn't see the picture contest Lena. Where did you see it.? I like good pictures. I am surprised you saw the bird in the feeder. It is kind of dark and I don't have a zoom.
I might try the peroxide in one of my tomatoes Russ. I use a lot of it. My daughter used to bring it to me by the case when she worked in a drug store. I would try the food grade but I have heard it is so strong that it could be dangerous. I know some of the DGers use that.
Jeanette: I dont know how to post actual links that work (please tell me how to, if anyone knows!) but I found the link to the photo comp winners in a thread called "It's time to vote for the winners of the 2007 photo contest!" in the "Daves Garden" forum. About half way down the thread, its quite a long one. Hope that helps.
Jeanette ; There are a quite a few statements in the propagation forums about how much peroxide to use. Then too in hydroponics.
Barb & I have a friend in Cedar rapids that uses the peroxide in her pond as it also helps to keep the string algae at bay.
Glad we didn't get the snow you got. Ours was mostly rain but the temp was under 30 so it all froze. We had about an inch on the ground when it started raining.
They are saying Thursday for more snow.
We are suposed to get temps in the upper 30s untill then but each night down in the teens.
Maybe I will talk a little about my bales and their hosts for a change.
Im starting to suspect that my bales aren't actually wheat, but oat or barley or something a little coarser. Thinking back, they were a lot shinier and yellower than I thought wheat should have been. I should ring Prebbles and find out for sure.
The grass that is sprouting is very tough, with wide, almost furry blades. Nothing like the fine bladed tender wheat grass my mother and her friends used to grow for juicing.
I have found though, that the grass is much more effectively controlled by pulling it completely out of the bale rather than trimming it. A firm grip by the base of the plant will pull most of them out, with roots, doesnt even take that long, and they dont seem to be coming back that much. I lay the pulled grass on top of the bales around the plants. Becomes mulch I guess. Just dries out.
A few brave mushrooms are still taking on, and quickly succumbing to, the hot NZ summer sun. Tomato plants are shooting upwards in big leaps and bounds. They got their first proper "feeding" today since being planted into the bales. I fed the ground tomatoes too, special treat. Wont be making a habit of it though, as I actually want to compare the differences (if any) of minimal-feeding soil crops, and minimal-prep bale crops. I usually nuture the soil with manure and compost in winter, then give very little supplementary feeding in summer. Just plenty of mulch and water. It has worked very well for me in the past.
So, my plants got a good watering, then a few cups each of 40 day old horse manure, diluted about 50/50, followed by a little more fresh water to wash it down. Just to make sure Im not burning the young foliage.
Most plants are making flowers by now. The one Black Krim tomato is almost golf ball size, and the cherry types are making lots of early little bunches of green pearls, as they do. Am slowly beginning to feel the tieing and suckering workload I have created for myself this season.
I have placed most of the bales string side down. Some are with the string off the ground, so I can see the difference for myself, and also to make them fit better into a tight corner. I am already observing, the string down bales are holding their moisture, and shape, alot better than those with the sting up.
So far, plants in Bales are just marginally smaller than plants in ground, but today was their first feeding after all.
Everything is looking lush and healthy though, despite the last 3 weeks of continuous hot sunshine. I have seen some uncaring neighbours plants begin to shrivel. And my heavy clay soil lawn is begining to crack open already! That doesnt usually happen till mid-end summer! I have a feeling this summer is going to be a scorcher. This time last year I was still in a warm jacket and gumboots.
Sorry if that info was a little rambly and all over the place. It is 4.27am after all, I just couldnt sleep, its too hot and stuffy inside. Have taken myself and a pillow outside, under the plum tree, where I can breathe fresh air, hear the resident hedgehog, and get bothered by sandflies. and maybe smell the straw and freshly spread manure tea just slightly. Feels summery anyway.
Thank God for wireless internet connection!
Lena; Very good account, on the bales. I too had a little faster start in the ground. but after the first feeding of ( TEA) there wasn't much slowing down of the tomatoes in the bales.
After I saw that they were going good , I dumped the tank of manure tea. I had it in a galvanized horse tank. I had way more tea than I needed. But it went to where I will be growing carrots, and sweet potatoes, next spring, no waste there. Now the castor beans I planted in bales didn't do as good as the ones in the ground.
Another story, I am not real sure of the effect of the beans themselves as to kill mice. We noticed two mice in the house plants. I decided to feed them some of the beans. They kept coming back for more. After a few hours of watching them snitch the beans. I gave up and set a trap. Snap, The larger of the two. was done for. No test results there.
I had also put a sticky trap in amongst the pots with some of the mashed bean for bait. Well while we were down for coffee this morning, The or at least A small one was stuck tight. So my test was a failure. But got the little varmints anyway.
Jeanett; Got the information this morning. I will get a couple seeds started today. By the time they get big enough I should have the system ready for them. Russ
Just a lil note the sleeping outside. Reminds me of when I was mechanic on a construction crew down in Oklahoma. I would take a nap outside by my camper, untill it cooled down late evening. Then go take a shower, and go to bed inside. Without A/C - - -That was about the only way I could get a good nights sleep.
That was about 10 or 11 hours drive south of here.
Nice gardening Lena. I really enjoyed it. Especially with all the snow and ice, slush etc. outside. I found pulling the sprouted ones worked best also and not too difficult. Pretty soon you won't have any of those. Bet it is going to be fun comparing and watching the tomatoes grow. What are you going to do with all of those tomatoes??
I will try to find that photo contest. Thanks.
OK Russ, I have 5 up and they haven't gotten their regular leaves yet, but I gave them the Superthrive and peroxide so the trunks are getting fatter. I certainly don't know why the peroxide wouldn't work with the hydroponics. Will try one first.
BTW Russ, I don't think the Caster beans kill the moles etc. I think they just don't like the smell or something so it keeps them away. I can imagine the mice eating them. BUT, even tho I think the mice and moles are the same family, that doesn't mean that they react to things the same way.
Russ, you should have trained those mice for the circus. Would have been a good way to pass the boring winter days. LOL
HA HA HA. I think Barb was a little concerned about my sanity, for setting here just watching them. The little one was less afraid of humans it would climb the curtain then go back down into the flower pot. There was a couple times I wanted to grab it but it wouldn't stay still long enough. LOL
I am beginning to think you may be right about them being able to eat them. However the whole plant is poisonous. Could be that it may take a while an they would get sick. I thought about giving them some EX Lax, But then I may have more to clean up. LOL
Well I slipped and slid my way down in back. Got the points and condenser put in. So now I have the Skid Loader running again.
Trying to get warmed up now. At least I got done before the temp went
back below freezing. Weather is supposed to be a hair warmer tomorrow. Maybe I can get those logs moved. I'm too late to get the garden tilled this fall, as the frost is about 2" thick. Well I guess that will just have to wait till spring.
Yikes. Jeanette; I just typed in your Zip Code for the weather. You are warmer than we are. I'm almost jelious. But it shows rain for today and tomorrow. So there went my envy right out the window. :>)
Just got around to finding my seeds. getting some small pots for the seeds. I'm just using small plastic drink cups, for this time.
Lean: terrific job with your notes. Are you keeping this in a journal at DG? It'll come in handy and you won't have to sort through threads.
Also, I hadn't considered juicing the sprouts from the bales.
I used to take Barley Green, a product of powdered barley grass, and make a juice from it, but it is expensive.
I'll look into that a little more.
And, if I juice, then cutting the sprouts would give me more sprouts rather than pulling them out. What do you think?
I just found out is actually barley straw that Im using. So no wheat grass for me! But yes, I do think if you trimmed the grass, it would keep growing back bushier. Most plants do that, when you take away the pressures of apical dominance.
I actually chewed on some of my barley grass, and it tastes terrible! Ill just compost it I think.
Igor has been putting some funny ideas into my head, about using a small legumous plant (like clover), to put nitrogen into the bales. It has prompted some further research on my part, and some interesting dinner conversations this week. Clover (trifolium repens) is a very effective nitrogen fixer. I am going to try using it in my soil. Igor thinks it could work in the bales too, if it was sown early enough. So an idea to try for next year.
I dont want to stray to far off the topic or bore anyone with this, so if your interested check out the soil and composting forum. I have been participating in a thread there, its called "using clover as a cover crop" or something like that.
I didnt end up sleeping out side, I escaped inside as it got light at 6. Didnt really want my neighbours to see me asleep in my own back yard! Very tired today though. Oh, and I found out I didnt get the BBQ job. Somebody else had more experience. So back to square one.
Lena; Just a suggestion, Why not check at the School. They sometimes have a work study program. I'm not certain for NZ. though.
One of our daughters Worked at the School where she took her classes. They even wanted her to stay on after she got her degree.
But never fret one door shuts another opens.
Good luck in your search.
Lena, I am going to put Dutch White Clover in where I have a lot of weeds and the dogs are on their leashes there. I don't think it gets very high but I want something to try to take over the weeds.
Yes Russ, it warmed up to almost 40 here today. We had 18 inches of snow yesterday and it is almost gone today. Can you believe that. We got what they call Chinook winds. Warm winds and it just wipes it away.
The weatherman called it a Pineapple Express.
That is too bad about the job Lean, but as Russ said, there are more out there.
Jeanette, I planted some White Clover last summer between my cucumbers and tomatoes. Grew nicely. I think it is supposed to be perennial so my plan is to mow it down next year when it gets too tall just like in the lawn, and use the area for my path .
The pineapple express came through here yesterday and melted all the snow. It is clear outside now, and supposed to reach 50 degrees today, then back to normal.
Good to hear about the clover Donna.
We are going down to Spokane today and the weatherman said 50 to 53 degrees. Can you believe that? Nice for a change. It has been almost a month or more since we have seen that. Yes, snow on Saturday he said.
How do you like those temps Russ?