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Old 02-07-2013, 05:00 PM
 
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Has anyone else done this? I've been growing my tomatoes and peppers in straw bales for the past few years, and I am delighted with the results. There really is no downside to it: no soil prep, no weeds, no soil borne diseases, incredible growth and yield, easy harvest because the plants are planted higher than ground level...okay, they need a bit more watering. Then when the season is over, I distribute the spent, mostly composted straw into the soil and garden.

This is last year's tomato patch. Twelve plants in eight bales. The weather was bad for yield, but these did pretty well. Another thing I like about using a bale as a container is that you're not locked in to using the same area every year. I can plant the maters any place I decide to put the bales.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

I also have bales around my three compost bins to mask them. I usually plant peppers in those, but one year I did cannas -- and wow, was it ever easy to retrieve those rhizomes in the fall. No digging! This is a really good method for planting container plants also.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:24 PM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
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OMG this is spectacular. Do you just dig out the size of the container and then pop it in the hay? What about the canna bulbs? Do you just add the bulb or some dirt too? I am so ready to try this this spring.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:36 PM
 
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I would love more information on this. Did you use hay bales? Pine straw?
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
12,589 posts, read 16,102,929 times
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Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
I would love more information on this. Did you use hay bales? Pine straw?

See my own ignorance......not being in the farm belt hay and straw are the same to me. I just googled it and I learned soemthing new there is a difference. OP said straw.....wonder if hay would work????
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:18 PM
 
Location: West Lafayette
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Straw == leftover stems/petioles of small grains (wheat more often than not)
Hay == blades and leaves of forage crops (alfalfa, orchardgrass, timothy, etc)
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:23 PM
 
Location: oregon
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I volunteer at a demo garden near my home in Oregon and they do hay bales every year in the veg garden..It works
and then after it decomposes you have great cover for winter crops..They just put holes in the straw with a bit of soil and watch veggies grow..
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:08 PM
 
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I've heard of this and thought about trying it. Good job, your's look great! Are there ever ny problems with critters? I have some naughty squirrels that love to tear into my patio furniture cushions. I wonder if they might like the straw bales, as well. I might try a couple this year and see what happens.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:15 PM
 
3,339 posts, read 8,969,899 times
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Originally Posted by nuts2uiam View Post
OMG this is spectacular. Do you just dig out the size of the container and then pop it in the hay? What about the canna bulbs? Do you just add the bulb or some dirt too? I am so ready to try this this spring.
Okay, this is simple.

Place the straw (not hay) bale where you want to keep it. You can position it with the straw going horizontally or vertically. I place it horizontal with the baling wire facing up. Other people place it with the straw horizontal. I dopn't think it matters.

Beginning in early March, start watering it. You're going to season it, start it composting so it makes a good growing medium. Once a week, sprinkle a half cup of high nitrogen fertilizer, like granulated urea (cheap) over the bale and water it in. Keep it moist. After 4-5 weeks of seasoning, the center of the bale should be softened and beginning to decompose. Now it's ready to plant.

At planting time, scoop out a large chunk of straw and put compost or potting medium in the hole. Put in the plant as you would in a container and use the straw you removed as mulch. You'll need to fertilize, and also water more frequently than with soil.

Dead simple, eh?
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:17 PM
 
3,339 posts, read 8,969,899 times
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Originally Posted by TXNGL View Post
I've heard of this and thought about trying it. Good job, your's look great! Are there ever ny problems with critters? I have some naughty squirrels that love to tear into my patio furniture cushions. I wonder if they might like the straw bales, as well. I might try a couple this year and see what happens.
Critters depend on your location, I guess. It's weird. We have been here for six years. We see squirrels across the road and on nearby farms, but we have never seen a squirrel on our property. Sometimes we see deer, and we have bunnies, but I haven't seen any damage from them. Lots of tomato hornworms, though. Wow. I pick them off and give to a friend who pupates them.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:20 PM
 
3,339 posts, read 8,969,899 times
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Originally Posted by nuts2uiam View Post
See my own ignorance......not being in the farm belt hay and straw are the same to me. I just googled it and I learned soemthing new there is a difference. OP said straw.....wonder if hay would work????
Hay has way too many seeds. Straw has a lot less, and it will sprout when you season the bales, but once you pull it, that's it.
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