Thursday, April 14, 2016

Starting a Straw Bale Garden

You know at the old house, we planted in raised beds that 
Keith built, with great success. 

We also (let's face it, KEITH built it, with help 
from my grandson and his girlfriend) built a hoop house, 
whose frame is still standing there. 

Several years ago, I became interested in Straw Bale Gardening, 
and I read the famous book by Joel Karsten, and then bought it for 
my Kindle. 

Pretty much there everything stopped while we moved, etc.. 
Last year, my tomatoes were all in planters, along with 
the green peppers. 

This year, I got interested in the bales again. 

I found that there is a dearth of bales in this area at the moment, and 
they could be found from 8.99 to 10.99, UNTIL I stumbled on 
some at a lumberyard for 6.50 a bale.  I got five. 

(took 3 trips)

We put down weed barrier first. 

We moved the bales into a square, and... we are planting in the middle, as well. 

This is the bottom of the bale, do you see the cut straw 
with it's straw-like openings?  This is where 
the nitrogen is placed, and watered in. 

The folded side is put on the bottom for this purpose. 

I asked Keith to supervise after a while.  He was glad to. 

We spread the fifth bale into the middle and around the edges.  More about 
that later. 

Today I started the conditioning process: 

That's Nitrogen fertilizer spread on top, and 
it has to be watered in. 

Guess what?  The hose doesn't reach. 

So, I hauled buckets.  It didn't take too long. 

Tomorrow, the bales are watered again, and on Saturday, 
they are treated with fertilizer again, and watered. 

There is a strict formula to follow. 

One thing I found is that the straw spread around made it 
very hard to water... so I am going to extend that hose 
tomorrow or Saturday. 

How I wish I still had ducks and could use their enriched pond water for these bales. 

These are my only two volunteer tomato plants left.  I had them on the floor of the basement...
and mice got them. 

I'm protecting these. 

I also enrolled in two Facebook Straw Bale Garden groups, and my gosh, 
the people could not be any nicer, and are extremely helpful. 

Straw Bale Miracle Gardens 

Straw Bale Gardening

Both show as closed groups, but just petition and you will be added. 
They are so helpful. 

I can't leave you without a few pictures from nature: 

This morning, I took the dogs to the vet early.  As we drove, I could see 
two turkey hens coming up a pasture on my right.  I slowed down and finally stopped.. but that freaked the first hen out. 

How I wish I had been able to jump out of the car. 

They are such powerful fliers! 

And they are big powerful birds! 


  1. It will be interesting to see how things work out.

  2. Mary Ann,

    Gorgeous pictures!!!

    I did the straw bale garden 2 seasons ago. My tomato plants did okay. Had my husband actually drill holes out for planting with a door knob bit on his drill. I hope your garden works out wonderfully for you. Looking forward to hearing more about it in your upcoming posts.

  3. this is going to be lots of fun to watch!

  4. Good luck with your garden. Sounds interesting.

  5. When we were riding one time, we came upon a flock. They took off and there were huge birds flying all over the place.

    Good luck with the straw garden. I'm interested in seeing how this works out for you.

  6. I'll be interested to see how your garden grows. I've never see anything done like that before. I'd never seen a turkey in flight before either. Amazing ! Hope you have a fantastic Friday !

  7. We never heard of using the straw before. We'll be interested to see how it works out. If you have to water much you better get another hose BOL!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  8. Looks like you are going to have lots of veggies
    Lily & Edward

  9. We have some friends who have tried several different methods of straw gardening, and they seem to like it! I'm curious to see how yours comes along!

  10. This will be fun to watch! I have seen it in magazines.
    FAntastic bird shots! just fantastic.

  11. Oh how exciting! I've been curious about straw bale gardening so I'm interested to see how it all turns out for you! Great shot of those hens!

    Hope you have a lovely week!


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