Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Abundant August evening in the straw bale garden

It's been a while since I've updated you on my straw bale garden, so last night our ball-tired pooch and I took a little stroll and some video.

First a disclaimer - This is the second season for most of the bales, so a few of them are in sad, slumpy shape.  I've replaced some, but many are leaning over and falling apart.  I planted everything quite early (April, which is about a month too early where we live), but it got cool and things are really lagging.  I've also been traveling quite a bit and not tending to it as well as I did last year.

That said, I was amazed by the abundance I saw there.  Lots of things are coming ripe and there is promise in the air.  The beans were a flop so far this year but I've got new seeds coming up for a late harvest.  Once my potato bales slumped over the hardware cloth gopher barrier the burrowing pests invaded and pigged out, so even though it's time, I'm not getting much of a harvest.

This year I decided to plant flowers in the bales that would work as cut flowers in the house, which I adore.  There are tons of rudbeckia, and some really nice looking dahlias, which the Straw Bale Gardening book says love the bale environment. They are right.

Next year I'm going to enclose the rows in a structure of 2 x 4s and hardware cloth - completely enclosing the bales so that if they slump, they stay more or less upright, and no critters can invade.  But I don't blame them - I've sunk my hands into the deepest depths of these soft bales and it's the richest humus I think I've ever felt.  I'm sure it's incredibly fertile.

If the video isn't useful at this resolution I'll work on getting an HD version up. 


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