Saturday, April 26, 2014

Straw Bale Gardening Day 14 Update

 It's been two weeks now that I've been conditioning our straw bales for this year's vegetable garden.  Some of the bales have started sprouting grass, which I have read is common.  It won't be hard to pull out or trim once it's bigger.  For the past week or so I have not added any more fertilizer, but have continued to keep the bales moist with the drip hose. 

The temperature of most of the bales is now about the same as the ambient temperature, back down in the 50s.  I won't be planting in them for a while, as the safe date here in the coastal range for tomatoes is around mid-May, but I'm going to keep them moist and might see if I can get a little more decomposition going with one last shot of fertilizer.

Unknown heirloom climber. 
Meanwhile, a crazy old climbing rose I've got has no sign of life at all on the bottom 10' of cane (and there is only one), but the top has grown up into a small oleander tree and is hanging down over a walkway - it's quite charming don't you think?  I'm a sucker for those big lush blossoms, and the yellow is delicate and lovely.


Judy said...

We actually plant a little ahead of when everyone else can (the beauty of the inner warmth of the bales is that they keep the little seeds warm without cooking them) by draping plastic over the bales and tucking it in the side so of the bales. On sunny days, we pull the plastic back on it's wire and clip it out of the way with squeeze clamps so the seedlings (or transplants) don't get too hot. The warmth of the bales keeps the "tent" warm enough, even on nights when we might get a light frost.

Patty said...

Judy, thanks for reminding me of that. It's another great benefit of this technique, for sure. I have not yet set up the posts at the end of the bales and strung the wires.


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