Straw bale update.

5 Jun

Things are growing!

So far, the straw bale garden has been a fair bit of work.  I conditioned/watered the bales with fertilizer for about two weeks to get the insides cooking.  As things cook, the bales get hot inside.  One of the bales reached 120 degrees!  (You shouldn’t plant in the bales if they are over 105 degrees; I had to wait many days for that bale to cool down before it could be planted!)  Other bales never showed temperatures of much more than 15 degrees above air temperature.

I trusted the process and started planting.  Here’s the list: (deep breath) tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, carrots, lettuce, shallots, sunflowers, cucumbers, snap peas, pole beans, acorn and butternut squash, herbs a plenty, and, as of two days ago, sweet potatoes.  A little bit of a lot of things!  Many of those things are planted on the tops of the bales but those veggies that trail – winter squash and sweet potatoes – I planted on the sides so they will vine on the ground.  (I’ve read conflicting reports on the sweet potatoes; supposedly, they are best on top of the bale.  Top bale real estate was limited when I picked the plants up at the store on a whim a couple days ago.  What the hay – get it? – it’s a $3 sweet potato experiment.)

Right off the bat, quite a few of the plants died.   I’m not quite sure what that was all about.  Maybe the bales spiked in temperature and it was too hot for them.  Not all of the fertilizer washed into the bales and perhaps that burned the plants.  However, most of those things that died (cucumber, squash, and pepper) I’ve replanted with success so far.

In the midst of all of that, I installed a soaker hose on top of the bales and trenched the garden hose that leads to the garden into the ground.  (No hose to move when I have to mow!  It’s the little things that make me happy.)  The soaker hose is on a timer and so everyday, twice a day, it waters for 10 minutes.  This was how I was able to plant before leaving on vacation – the watering was taken care of!

It was also super exciting – I came home from vacation to mushrooms!  Cue the band!  Release the balloons!  Mushrooms (the not edible kind) are a great sign that your bales are decomposing as they should to be good “soil” for your plants.  Mushrooms are littered all over the bales.  And Lindsay rejoiced.

Things are growing and soon the rest of the trellis system will need to be finished.  In a couple photos, you can see the fence posts at the end of the rows.  A 2×4 will be attached to the top and then wire strung tightly between the posts every ten inches.  The wire will act as the trellis as things begin to grow and need support.

I’ll continue to keep you updated!

Clockwise: landscape fabric down; bales arrived and my dinner plate border added for fun and whimsy; soaker hose installed on top of bales; upon arriving home from vacation and seeing green things still alive and bigger than when I left!  (The decomposing bales don’t look super pretty so since that photo was taken, I added some extra petunias in the sides of the front bales!)

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Straw bale update.”

  1. Grandpa June 6, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    SOUNDS LIKE WE NEED TO GO ON A ROAD TRIP /I SAVED A PIECE ON SPAM MUSEUM THAT WAS ON TV THE OTHER NIGHT I WAS HOPING TO SEE DAVE IN THE PIECE /NOPE! BUT IT HAD A LOT TO SAY ABOUT AUSTIN SO I SAVE THE LITTLE CLIP ON MY DVR. LATER GRAMPS..

    • Lindsay June 8, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

      Yes, you should come visit! We’ll go the new SPAM Museum for sure. (I haven’t been there yet.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: