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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thursday Garden: Hay Bale Gardening

Last year I heard about straw bale gardening.  It sounded intriguing to me until I went to the grain store and saw that the straw bales were $13.00 apiece!  No way!

During the winter my sister sent me an email which mentioned hay bale gardening.  I followed the link to Suzy's video and watched it.  This was exciting since hay bales are only about a dollar apiece depending on quality.

When I inquired on the Listserv to see if anyone had any bales to sell, I received only one reply and only after an appreciable amount of time.  The bales were now FOUR DOLLARS a bale, but that was so much less than the straw bales that I was happy.  Instead of getting twenty bales, I purchased ten bales.

Two bales I set up at the end of the side garden where we had some cucumbers eaten by woodchucks last year.  Twice eaten by woodchucks.  I am hoping that having them planted higher up that the plants will have a chance to really get a great start before the woodchucks notice them.

The other eight bales I put out in the Mittleider Grow Box, or rather, what used to be the grow box.  They were place with one bale perpendicular to the tomato fence, five bales along the tomato fence, and two more bales perpendicular to the fence again.  The plan is to plant one tomato there along the tomato fence, one zucchini on the one perpendicular bale and yellow string beans along the tomato fence with lettuce growing on the two perpendicular ones.

Preparing the bales for planting takes a while.  If this does not work, it is all my fault as I did not follow the directions precisely.  Because our vacation came at a bad time, I started watering the bales a week late, only watered them for 10 days then sprinkled on one cup of the fertilizer for three days and a week later shoveled on the compost.  Watering all the time.  Then I left town.  The interiors of the grow box bales were still very hot so I did not plant the started plants out there. I left that job for Dear One to do.  Of course, he wants specific directions which I have still not emailed as of this date.  I do hope that the started plants have not died, nor have they started growing into the ground where they wait!

Four cucumber plants on two hay bales under Latasha's cucumber trellis
Before my dear friend Latasha moved away she had a fabulous garden.  She built a wonderful cucumber trellis which worked really well for her.  She gave it to me when she left.  I am so grateful for it and really look forward to a good cucumber harvest this year.

You can see part of the trellis 'tented' over the two bales.  We used Moo Doo compost on top of the bales which we purchased at Mill Gardens, a wonderful garden center.

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