Straw Bale Gardening

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Anyone here into straw bale gardening? Like to read opinions on it before I try it.
Dick
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I've done something similar. I had a huge number of molding bales of fescue grass that I threw down in "flakes" all over the garden in the late fall, after liming the soil. I tossed horse manure on top of the hay flakes and just let everything sit over the winter. In spring, I moved the layers aside for plants. It acted as a mulch. The next fall, I hoed all the stuff into the dirt and added more layers of hay and manure.
If you keep that up for 4-5 years you can turn the roughest soil into rich loam.
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So you are basically using your garden as a compost bin. Great idea! One problem I have is my son's hay fever so fescue is out. We get a lot of weeds in our yard so grass is out too. But in-garden composting with straw is worth a try. Thanks.
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snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Dick Adams) wrote:

<http://www.lensgarden.com.au/straw_bale_garden.htm
--

Billy

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in
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Of all the approaches I seen to straw bale gardening, Len's is the most different as he has one large bed rather than north-south rows to optimize direct sunlight for each row. But then he's in Queensland which gets more direct sunlight than is available on the cold side of the frost line.
We do share some equal problems though. He has roos and rabbits while I have deer and rabbits.
There's a lot of material on the Internet about straw bale gardening. But I'd really like to hear from people who have done it
Dick
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(Dick Adams) wrote:

Len lives in suburbia now so he doesnn't have problems from roos or rabbits.
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What do you have in mind when you use the term 'straw bale gardening'?
I've grown spuds in a bed with straw bales around them and infilled iwth dirt. I've cut a hole in a strawbale and put soil in and grown things in it. I've used slabs of straw bales as a base for no-dig. I use lots of straw bales in my garden and have no idea what on earth you mean by your question.
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I was looking for people like you who have actually done it.
Have you tried tomatoes, onions, squash, or melons?
Dick
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wrote:

I've planted a pumpkin into a well rotted bale into which I cut a hole. It did well. If I was going to plant toms or beans, I'd do them in a bed with bales around like Len did but in a smaller bed than he used. The spuds did well in the bed we put bales around.
I always rot my bales for a while before doing anything with them unlike Len did. I buy bales and drop them on the ground and then turn them when I think of it so the soil microbes can start work on them.
Bales also work well to extend the growing season (beginnig and end) and especially if they are starting to rot. Use them straight on the ground to protect things and with an old window or some plastic on the top of them.
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It appears to me that Len uses the straw bales for both the base and the edge of a garden plot. This is one of the two common forms that I have found. One of my problems is, in spite of my claim of being perpetually 17, my body will be 69 before the next harvest. So I'm looking for raising the height of my garden.

Extending the season is important to me. Although I'm a Southerner, I currently live just west of Baltimore in the Land of the damnyankee Snow - winters are worse than they are in Armidale. Straw bales could mean an eight month growing season!
Dick
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No, he just uses them round the edges. The base is lawn. He may not even use them anymore - those pics on his site are now quite old.
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On Thu, 5 Jan 2012 02:20:55 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Dick Adams) wrote:

I used straw bales and old shower doors for a cold frame one or two years. It worked well.
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On Jan 5, 10:08am, snipped-for-privacy@notme.com wrote:

I tried tomatoes in a bale a few years with no luck at all.I am not sure exactly what happened but they didn't grow well and then got wilt. MJ
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Thanks - I'm considering tomatoes. The management of my house wants them planted in area she has assigned to me for gardening because she thinks they will be top heavy.
As for the problem with your tomato plants, my initial questions are: 1. Was there enough well-composted soil in the straw bale? 2. Were the straw bales adequately soaked and fertilized? 3. Did the plants get enough sunlight?
My limited experience says that vegetables should be planted in rows North_to_South maximize exposure to the sun. Last year I crowded the rows of Habenero Peppers to fit them all in the garden plot. The quality of harvest was definitely a function of row position - from excellent to poor.
Also I just learned that peppers are perennials! So if they winter indoors, they will prosper again the next spring. This is great news - expecially here in the Land of the damnyankee Snow."
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On Jan 6, 6:04pm, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Dick Adams) wrote:

There was no compost of any kind in the straw. They were soaked and fertilized and had plenty of sun. The bale was placed between my 2 raised strip bed gardens so it was able to utilize the irrigation system as well as the sun. To be fair, I have not had very good luck with tomatoes in any way shape or form in this garden so I can't be sure that the bale had anything to do with it. When I did pull the plants out I did notice that the root structure was not as vast as usual. There were hardly any of the tiny filler (finger?) roots. Maybe the straw was too dense for them to grow. MJ
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I have yet to try straw bales, but everything I have read says that well-composted soil is necessary. Think of a straw bale as a container that soil will eventually break down into compost.
Dick
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Tomatoes also. I had one I was protecting from frost that lasted almost to the middle of December here in Missouri. It was too big to move indoors intact, but I cut it into pieces and made a whole bunch of new plants out of it.
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That is terrific!!
How much light did they get indoors?
I will protect you by not refusing to disclose your e-mail address my childbride when my basement becomes a greenhouse or when I tell her why we need greenhouse. ;)
This is a great newsgroup.
Dick -- Moderator: misc.taxes.moderated and misc.legal.moderated
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This is just plain weird, double negative and all.
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They went into a very bright room with lots of windows on the east and south sides. After it's warm outdoors again, I'll have large, blossoming plants to set out.

???
I agree.

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