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Old 05-31-2013, 06:41 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 14,371,656 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by countrylv22 View Post
Do not forget the promise about the pictures

By the way, the bales are actually on the outside of your fenced yard, right? Because you said the dogs
in the back yard are yours, right? So, have the neighbors complained about seeing the bales there? As
they walk by...

Is it hard to obtain organic bales? Many thanks
I won't.

Yes, outside. On the front lawn, if you will.
I live right near the end of a dead-end street (it dead-ends into woods) and I'm in a neighborhood where people are, well, not very particular about things looking just so. My few neighbors are completely OK with this and in fact one is helping out by planting the stuff I didn't have room for in her front yard, and pretty much anyone I know in the neighborhood knows they're welcome to help themselves to a tomato or two, or whatever.

It's that sort of neighborhood.

The bales are not organic - at least not certified organic. They are locally grown, though, and cost me $4.00 each including tax, from a little bait and feed store nearby. You raise a good point though; I don't know exactly where they came from and I should ask. But this area is rife with small and hobby farms; it's all reclaimed swamp/farm land and very fertile and people around here tend to grow both private and commercial gardens and crops on a small scale.
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Oregon
1,379 posts, read 2,498,000 times
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How have I not heard of this??? I was reading about using pine needles for mulching my tomato plants, and there was a "what NOT to use" section that included straw as something not to use. The reason being that it breaks down too fast and adds too much nitrogen to the soil creating lovely greenery but not great for producing tomatoes.
So, I came over here to ask about it and see that you can plant directly into straw bales! That's so cool. Does this mean that straw will be ok for me to use to keep our soil moist this summer??
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:15 PM
 
Location: :0)1 CORINTHIANS,13*"KYRIE, ELEISON!"*"CHRISTE, ELEISON" KYRIE, ELEISON!"0)
2,504 posts, read 4,839,573 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
I won't.

Yes, outside. On the front lawn, if you will.
I live right near the end of a dead-end street (it dead-ends into woods) and I'm in a neighborhood where people are, well, not very particular about things looking just so. My few neighbors are completely OK with this and in fact one is helping out by planting the stuff I didn't have room for in her front yard, and pretty much anyone I know in the neighborhood knows they're welcome to help themselves to a tomato or two, or whatever.

It's that sort of neighborhood.

The bales are not organic - at least not certified organic. They are locally grown, though, and cost me $4.00 each including tax, from a little bait and feed store nearby. You raise a good point though; I don't know exactly where they came from and I should ask. But this area is rife with small and hobby farms; it's all reclaimed swamp/farm land and very fertile and people around here tend to grow both private and commercial gardens and crops on a small scale.

You live in a nice neighborhood
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:47 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 14,371,656 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kadylady View Post
How have I not heard of this??? I was reading about using pine needles for mulching my tomato plants, and there was a "what NOT to use" section that included straw as something not to use. The reason being that it breaks down too fast and adds too much nitrogen to the soil creating lovely greenery but not great for producing tomatoes.
So, I came over here to ask about it and see that you can plant directly into straw bales! That's so cool. Does this mean that straw will be ok for me to use to keep our soil moist this summer??
Really? I always thought that pine needles, or growing under pine trees, was problematic because it made the soil so acidic. I've never had much luck getting anything to grow near or under pine trees for sure.

But I am no expert...as far as I know using straw (not hay, which has seeds) is a great mulch... I was under the impression that it is higher in carbon than nitrogen and nitrogen (and calcium) is necessary for strong vegetable growth. So if you have straw, it needs to be balanced with a nitrogen - usually animal-based such as blood meal or various excretia - element for a healthy growing medium.

This thread is going to be completely unfiltered as I stumble along and post updates. I'll post failures as well as what works!

Quote:
Originally Posted by countrylv22 View Post
You live in a nice neighborhood
Yeah I really do, thank you. It is very much a "look out for each other" 'hood and I've made some good friends since living here.
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Old 05-31-2013, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Oregon
1,379 posts, read 2,498,000 times
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I was surprised about the pine needles, too. But, I've read it several places online. Googled it! They produce the acid that the tomatoes like, I guess. My tomato plants are beautiful, lush, green with huge leaves. I don't think I need more nitrogen. Also, I'm getting flowers. No tomatoes yet, but it's early for the PNW.
We just raked up some pine needles today and spread them on the soil. We'll top with straw and I'm sure we'll be fine. I'm excited to find out more about your bale garden!
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:37 AM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 14,371,656 times
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Interesting, kadylady! You're correct. I have a pine, maybe I'll add some needles over the bales. Thanks for the tip!
Mulching With Pine Needles for Tomatoes | Home Guides | SF Gate

The bales are starting to slump and I worried that the tomatoes weren't going to develop enough good roots with too much of the lower stem exposed, so I made little sleeves and filled it with a mix of compost and potting soil. They definitely seem to like that.
Nineteen days after planting. Excuse the debris in the yard; those are the Rottweiler's toys.



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Old 06-01-2013, 09:45 AM
 
3,339 posts, read 6,972,002 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kadylady View Post
How have I not heard of this??? I was reading about using pine needles for mulching my tomato plants, and there was a "what NOT to use" section that included straw as something not to use. The reason being that it breaks down too fast and adds too much nitrogen to the soil creating lovely greenery but not great for producing tomatoes.
So, I came over here to ask about it and see that you can plant directly into straw bales! That's so cool. Does this mean that straw will be ok for me to use to keep our soil moist this summer??
Straw is great, as long as it's seasoned long enough to kill whatever seeds are in it. Otherwise, you're pulling ouit little grass plants all summer. However, I used our old straw bales as mulch last week and after a torrential rain yesterday, the straw is more STREWN than STRAW. I have some raking to do.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:49 AM
 
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Chiro, things are looking wonderful!! I love the upturned pots for cutworm control. I'll have to try that.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:57 AM
 
3,339 posts, read 6,972,002 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SportFury59 View Post
Quick update on my Straw Bale endeavor. Found out mushrooms really do well. If only they were edible. Book says "do not eat them". Maybe someone can figure a way to grow edible mushrooms.

Beans, peas, lettuce, radishes, beets, carrots, are sprouting. Strawberry plants are really doing well. I have 2 tomatoe plants in one bale, doing well.
But the mushrooms are raising havoc. More in some bales than others.
Had to cover plants last night due to frost warnings.

Had wood stove going yesterday morning and this morning. Wood heat feels good.
You will have mushrooms for a time, and then if your bales are like mine have been, you'll stop seeing them.
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Kronenwetter, Wis
443 posts, read 957,497 times
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Thanks, Tina, for the encouragement. It looked for awhile that they were overtaking the bales. I snipped a ton of them and it seems now they are fading, like you said.
Other than that, they are doing well. Chipmunks seem to be staying away from them. Had to put netting on strawberries because of birds. I have to get my camera out and put some pics on here.
(sidenote) I see you are from Olathe. I have a "Jack Miller" dealer decal on my Subaru Forester. One of my son's lives in Overland Park and bought the car from them and now sold it to me since he got a new car. Went down last fall to pick it up. Always enjoy going to the KC area.

Chiroptera - saw you were on the Maine forum (my favorite) the other day. (you get around
Recently commented on there about my straw bale garden and member Submariner (formerly known as Forest Beekeeper) said he tried it a couple years ago and was only able to grow mushrooms, and wished me luck.

The other day I saw the "Straw Bale Gardens" book is now available at our local Fleet Farm Store. When I bought mine in early spring nobody in town carried it.

What's going on? Had to start up my wood stove the last 3 mornings. Rainy and cold. Can't stand to hear my gas furnace kicking in at 6am in the morning.
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