Garden, 2016

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Ken Anderson, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    To the left are onions, to the right are beans. The beans that I threw in my compost piles are doing better but these are okay, I suppose. Last year, our beans were all eaten. This year, I am using diatomaceous earth. I hope it helps.
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    The onions will do well. Onions always do. There are several varieties of onions here, including a few didn't come up last year but sprouted up this spring before I planted anything.
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    As I mentioned in another thread, this was not the kind of straw bales that I wanted, and they were made worse by the fact that they included seed, so my straw bale experiment this year didn't do well. The carrots, on the right, didn't come up at all. I do have a few bean plants growing, and doing better than the ones in soil, but the bales that I planted onions in split open.
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    I think straw bales are a good idea, but I'll hold out for the right ones next year.
     
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  2. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Before you plant in the straw bales, I think that I read that you should soak them down good for at least a couple of weeks and this will help them break down, plus they should also heat up like a compost pile does, and that would kill all of the wheat/grain that is sprouting in your straw.
    Normally, they would have harvested all of that before baling the straw, but yours certainly has a lot of sprouts coming up.
    The bales almost look like really dry grass hay as opposed to the larger stalks of wheat/oat straw.
    I used some around my trailer in Idaho, and after I eventually got it properly skirted, I used the straw as mulch in the garden. I should have tried using it like you have done; but I had not yet learned about straw bale gardening.
    It certainly made great insulation around the trailer the first couple of years though, it is great for that if you will need some around your cabin up north.
    I had a local farmer deliver a ton of it, which is a large truckload since straw is very lightweight compared to a bale of hay.
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    You're right. But I did that. I think I'll do well with it next year by using regular straw bales. This stuff came from the Tractor Supply Company store rather than from a regular supplier of hay and straw. The bales are smaller, far more tightly compacted, and the straw is stacked in every direction. Plus, straw doesn't ordinarily have the seeds that this stuff did. There were a lot more. I pulled a lot of it.

    No matter. I will use it to line my compost pile throughout the winter, and get regular straw bales next spring.
     
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  4. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    If you get your straw this fall after they harvest the wheat and oats, then it can be decomposing over the winter, and ready to use for next year's garden.
    It should also be much cheaper if you get it after the harvest this fall.
    We have a lot of Mennonite farmers up in the area of north Idaho where i lived, and they were always very fair and honest to deal with. If you are close to Amish, then it would likely work the same way.
    I orderd mine when the farmer was threshing the grain, and baling the straw; so he just hauled it right from his field to my house, and he didn't have to move it twice or store it for the winter.
    The price was only about $50 for the whole ton, maybe less, hard to remember , and it might have even been $35 per ton plus the extra $15 for delivery.
    If they have to store it in the barn all winter and then it has to be hauled to the feed store, the cost will be a lot more per bale.
    Grass hay has a small, solid stem, whereas straw has a larger stem, and is hollow, almost a golden color as opposed to the washed out yellow of dry grass.
    When I lived in Missouri, most of the cattle ranchers fed grass hay to their cattle ; but they didn't cut it when it was green like most hay is cut. They let the grass go to seed, and then they harvested and sold the grass seed, and then put up the hay in those big round bales, and often left it outside all winter for the cattle to eat right out of the field. Even though they had harvested the grass seed, the hay still had a lot of tiny weed and grass seeds in it that would sprout if they laid out on the ground long enough.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I grew up on a farm and, while I didn't learn everything I'd like to know, I do know the difference between hay and straw. I also know what kind of bales I need to get for next year. I had a pretty good idea that this probably wasn't going to work well but, since winter gave us a late start on spring, I decided to give it a try. It was available locally, it would fit into my Tracker, and I knew that I could use it for compost even if it didn't work for its intended purpose. I won't be using enough bales to be able to expect anyone to deliver but that's not an insurmountable problem. I'd have an easier time getting it delivered to my land up north since there are more suppliers there and I could use more of it there than here, but that's not where I was going to be this spring.
     
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