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Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

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Re: Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 6/16/2013, 12:55 pm

plantoid wrote:That looks good AJR .
re the older bales falling apart. Perhaps roll a bale up in some cheap garden netting turning it at least twice to hold every thing together .. the sort of cheap net used to keep birds of the fruit crops and use cable ties ( zip ties ?? ) to close the ends off .
Then all you need to do is stab holes in the bale where you want to plant once the decomposition stage  has taken place. .  it will stay together for a long time , keeping the area tidy and also ending up as a pile of useable composting material .
That's a GREAT idea - wish I had thought of it when starting out. It's actually a great idea when starting the full size bales and you could just cinch them up as needed.

A freestanding bale will contort and can twist as it decomposes perhaps more quickly in one area than another. The full sized, fresh bales that are in the rows with the fence post trellis between are cinched up to each other better and don't seem to fall apart as easily.
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Re: Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

Post  murarrie25 on 7/17/2013, 9:11 am

Have you looked at  No-Dig Garden as developed by Sydney gardener Esther Dean in 1970's  seems to be a similar method .
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Re: Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

Post  greatgranny on 7/17/2013, 6:15 pm

Living in farming country is a plus.  I have neighbors that make lots of straw bales for their cattle.  May give this a try next year.  Just a couple to start.  

I just ordered the book from the library.  Must be something that this area is interested in because I am #16 on the waiting list.  Well, it could be that this author is also from Minnesota.  Wink
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Re: Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

Post  bnoles on 7/17/2013, 6:42 pm

I have had less than stellar results with mine. They seem to harbor a lot more bug populations and I have had to do a lot more battle than in my other methods. They also have required a lot more watering and have produced much less for me. Now the bales are falling apart as stated in other posts. I think they will make a great ingredient for my compost pile though. It has been a fun and interesting experiment, but I think I will pass on further attempts with this method of gardening. Sad Sad 

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Re: Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 7/17/2013, 11:51 pm

I've had mixed results.  I've done very well on the section that I used the bare hose type drip hose on, and not so well on a section that used a different kind of drip line that doesn't spread the water around as much.

I have had to resort to fertilizing them - unlike the MM beds and my Back to Eden garden beds.  

In the good section I have had tons of spaghetti squash, I believe last count was 22 on 2 plants.  I have lemon cucumbers starting to take off, cantelope (sp?) fruiting, lots of zucchini already, roma tomatoes, eggplant growing and sweet potatoes taking off.

In the other beds, my Armenian cucumbers have done spectacularly, my purple bush beans did really well but my pole beans are not really producing like they should.  It could be the ridiculous heat we've been having though so I can't fault the bales.  

I had a watermelon that was doing fabulous in a bale and was attacked by aphids before I caught it.  I harvested 2 out of it and then fed the plant to my steer (he thought it was quite a treat).  

So, in doing this inventory I would change my thinking... I've actually had really good results.  Especially since I could not afford to build any more raised SFG beds this year.  The bales have more than paid for themselves.  I may use them in my greenhouse I'm going to set up this winter.  I'll use MM on the top 2-3 inches for planting seeds and get my fall/winter crops going inside of the greenhouse and see how long I can harvest through the winter.  

If I get a chance tomorrow, I'll post some updated pics.
Audrey
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Re: Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 7/18/2013, 11:29 am

We've used old hay bales to build a raised bed in each of the last three years (2011 bales have broken down into totally new compost, BTW).  We set the bales in a rectangle on anti-mole hardware cloth, and filled the center with Mel's Mix, then poked greenhouse-started plants in hollows made where the bales come together.  Summer 2012 I planted the bale bed with melons and cucumbers; the results were  spectacular.  Do you suppose hay has more nutrients than straw, or was it the MM?  The 2012 bed where the hay has really started to decompose is full of developing potatoes from the plants put into the center's old MM.  Alas, this year saw the last of the old hay from the barn...I may have to make midnight foraging runs to salvage broken bales left in the neighbor's hay field, wrapping them with bird netting as mentioned above.  Nonna

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Re: Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

Post  camprn on 12/6/2013, 8:25 pm


____________________________

41 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books



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Re: Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 12/6/2013, 8:55 pm

What a great article with such beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing the link.

I grew directly in the bales this past year; my tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber and potatoes were especially fabulous. I just harvested my second batch of potatoes this week - super easy and they grew great.

At the end of the season I broke apart the bales and mixed the compost and the outside straw (the inside composts down into soil) and covered the mound with straw. This spring I'll add some wood boards as sides to the mounds, add fresh compost and then top it off with wood chips which will enable me to use the straw for the second year. .
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Re: Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

Post  bnoles on 12/6/2013, 9:48 pm

Excellent blog link camprn...... Thanks!

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Re: Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

Post  sanderson on 12/6/2013, 10:26 pm

Camp. very nice article.
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Re: Any Straw Bale Gardeners Out There?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 12/6/2013, 10:52 pm

Here on our Yankton Mountain farm outside St. Helens, Oregon, we keep hydrogen peroxide and baking soda on hand for use if, actually when, we have a skunk spray: a dog, human pant leg, wood pile, etc.  Mixed like this:
 

In a plastic bucket (not metal), mix the following ingredients thoroughly:

 

1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

1/4 cup of baking soda

1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap (Ivory is recommended)

 

For very large pets you can double the recipe (recommended) or you can add one quart of lukewarm tap water to provide complete coverage.

 

Wash your dog thoroughly, working the solution deep into the fur. Make sure you really saturate the areas where she took the direct hits. Your nose knows.

 

Skunks usually aim for the face, but try to keep the solution out of her eyes, as it can sting. Keeping a bottle of pure water nearby to rinse the eyes is a good idea.

 

Leave the solution on for at least 5 minutes or until the odor is gone. You may need to rinse and repeat with some of the more stinky areas.

 

After you’re done, thoroughly rinse your pet with lukewarm water.

 

Pour the remaining solution down the drain while running water.

Nonna

 

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