Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Project "Straw Bale Garden" Begins

I have read several articles on straw bale garden and decided to give it a try. If you are not familiar with the concept, you garden "in" the straw bales after the center composts into soil for your plants. The bales provide a raised bed that feeds and warms your plants and you can put them anywhere that gets enough full sun to grow stuff. That the deal in a nutshell.
I started this project yesterday. The straw bales are purchased and laid out in the garden fence that was moved to a sunnier location. The fertilizer has been applied to begin the composting process and the soaker hose secured on top of the bales. The hard work part is done. But I have some concerns...

Oh yeah, I'm allergic to straw.  I remember that now from my 4-H days at the fair.  I'm betting I won't notice it once the bales begin to age.  I'm on allergy meds anyway.
One of the articles I read made it sound like it would take the bales about 2 months to compost enough to plant in, and that was the theory I started with. If that's the case, I'm only about 2 weeks late of my "frost free" date and there's no problem. Another article I came across yesterday in my local newspaper says he starts his bales in the fall and let's them get ready over the winter. Now that's a serious problem. If that's the case I won't be able to plant my summer garden in the bales and I'll have to default back to the dirt garden that is now not protected from the deer by a fence. That probably won't be the end of the world, but I really wanted this bale garden to work out. I'm going to top the bales today with compost to see if I can help speed up the process. Fingers crossed. Stay tuned.

Yesterday I planted seeds that Susie and I bought from Territorial Seed Co. This is the first year that I have gotten serious about starting plants from seed. I bought a seed tray with a humidity dome and a heating mat to get the seed germinating. So far I am using an existing overhead florescent light,  once the plants start to grow I'll transfer them to my neighbors new greenhouse. 
It's spring in our backyard.  The bleeding heart is one of the first to put on a grand show.

The magnolia is very happy with spring so far.