Garden Update

It has been raining for a few days then this happened yesterday…

SNOW!

Today was a beautiful day. So I finally got some more stuff done in the garden.

FENCE:

In the rain and cold my honey helped me put the chicken wire fence up. It’s almost done. Waiting for some stakes to come in on Wednesday.

PLANTS:

Sage

Sage grew a lot!

Strawberries

I cleaned up the strawberries. For the most part they did pretty good in the cold. Some leaves were hurt but I picked them off.

Chard

Same with the chard. I removed all the damaged leaves from the cold.

GROUND COVER:

Since I got the fence up I was able to lay down the rest of the straw. This will help the large and vine plants that grow to the ground stay cleaner and dryer.

Before
After

STRAW BALE CONDITIONING:

Unfortunately because of the rain and cold I have done nothing with the bales. I did give them a good watering today but that’s it. ☹️  The bales seem to be staying 60 degrees inside. That’s good considering our night temps have been 28-30 degrees, day temps 40’s.

Tomorrow I start work again. Won’t be able to play in the garden until Thursday. Bummer.

MASON JAR HERB GARDEN:

I did put together my mason jar herb garden today.

 

Rosemary, Spearmint, Lemon Balm, Cilantro, Basil, Thyme, Oregano

 

Parsley, Sage, Dill, Chives

INDOOR STARTS:

Are looking good! Started tomatoes today.

Until next time – Happy Gardening!

Straw Bale Gardening: Watering with Soaker Hoses

Just a quick post because I am so excited! My Automatic 4 Zone Water Timer just arrived!!


This baby is going to free up so much time for me this summer. Hopefully, no more worrying about having someone water the garden when I need to leave for a few days.

Maybe I’ll do more camping this summer with the family!?!?

Until next time – Happy Gardening!!

Straw Bale Gardening: Watering with Soaker Hoses

So in my last post I believe I mentioned I didn’t think one soaker hose going down the middle of the bales would be efficient enough to water the plants . . . I just upgraded!!

A simple “y” fitting, another 100′ of soaker hose, a coupler and I’m satisfied!

I grid out the bales into three rows. So I could plant in each row and the soaker hoses will do thier magic of slowly watering eveningly.

I was a little concerned towards the end. One row of hose was too short to reach the end of the bales and the other was to long.

So they have a fitting for that! I just wrapped the long hose around and attached to the short one with a female brass hose coupler. It worked perfectly! My upgrade cost less than $22! Approximately $13 for 100′ feet of soaker hose, $5 for the “y” fitting & $4 for the coupler.

Well as you can tell in the last picture it’s getting dark. I had to use the flash to take the photo.

Until next time – Happy Gardening!!!

Straw Bale Gardening: Bale Conditioning Day 7-12

Things are moving along slowly but it is still cooler temps here in MT and raining. Also since I have so many bales to water at once I’m just using my well water which is cold. During the conditioning process it mentions to use warm water to help break down the straw faster.

Using cold water and an organic nitrogen source during conditioning will most likely prolong the process a week or more.

I followed the instructions for day 1-6 exactly. I’m changing things up for day 7 – 9+.

Here are the oringinal instructions for day 7 – 9:

Day Seven to Nine

Days seven through nine use half the rate used on day one. This would be ¼ cup of a complete garden fertilizer or 1 ½ cups of Milorganite fertilizer. Thoroughly water the bale each time.

Since I’m not using warm water during the conditioning process the Milorganite fertilizer is not breaking down quickly. It’s actually accumulating a good pile on top of the bales. See the pic below…

Since there is so much nitrogen still on the bales I’ve decided to just water in between the days that I add 1.5c of Milorganite. So this is my new conditioning schedule:

DAY 7: 1.5c Milorganite and water

DAY 8: water (I’m here right now)

DAY 9: 1.5c Milorganite and water

DAY 10: water

DAY 11: 1.5c Milorganite and water

DAY 12: water

I am at day eight right now. I have a long compost thermometer pushed in one of the bales and yesterday morning it read 40 degrees. The whole day was beautiful and warm, finally. This morning the bale read 60 degrees. So it seems the bales are finally starting to cook. Yes!!!

WATERING!?!?!?

I’ve added a soaker hose to the bales. One hose doesn’t seem to be enough. I’m thinking of attaching a “y” fitting at the beginning of the hose and running two soaker hoses instead. I feel this will water the bales more efficiently.

I’ve also decided to create a soaker hose irragation system for the main garden.  At this point I have expanded my garden to 380 square feet of growing area, so watering everyday, sometimes twice is going to be a harder challenge for me.

I did a lot of research and sketching. After a few headaches I figured out how I was going to build it. I have ordered everything and now just waiting.

Until next time – Happy Gardening.

Straw Bale Gardening: Bale Conditioning Day 1-6

Today was windy & cold but sunny so I spent the whole day outside in the garden.

I broke open my first bag of organic nitrogen “Milorganite” to start the conditioning process of the straw bales.


I am using the conditioning guidelines from the milorganite website…

Day One to Six
On day one, spread fertilizer over the top of the bale. Use a ½ cup of a complete garden fertilizer or three cups of an organic fertilizer like Milorganite. Then completely moisten the bale. The organic fertilizers feed the microorganisms that help decompose the straw into a nutrient rich planting medium. Thoroughly soak the bale everyday. On days three and five you will add more fertilizer at the same rate used on day one…

PROTECTION:

I decided I didn’t want the deer to have a feast on the straw bale garden plants, so I’m going to build another fence. I needed 11 t-posts, checked my stash from last year and had the exact amount. I took this as a good sign. So I pounded 11 t-posts in the ground today! I’m pretty sure I’m going to be sore tomorrow!

I have a large roll of chicken wire that was given to me two summers ago. I’m finally going to be able to use it. I hope it’s enough.

LIGHTING:

The lighting I put in last week looks pretty cool.


Next weekend I hope to get the fence up. If anyone has used the straw bale garden method with success, please share your stories.

Until next time, happy gardening!

Got my Straw Bales!!

So this year I’m going to try straw bale gardening on the outside of my fenced in garden. I’m going to grow the bigger plants hoping the deer can’t eat all of them. Like broccoli, cauliflower, radish all my winter and summer squash, carrots, melons, potatoes Etc. Also I’m hoping to create an attractive, natural wind break for the inside garden.


I just got my book “Straw Bale Gardens Complete” by Jeol Karsten yesterday. i’m excited to start the conditioning process of the straw bales today.


I also got my little garden work place together. Last year my honey got me this portable table that has a sink, you just hook it up to a hose and u have running water outside to clean off your vegetables. Very excited to use it this year.


There is a nice little sitting place to to kick back and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery too.


My biggest obstacle about growing a garden where I live is the wind! So this year I’m going to try something different. You know how those big packages are plastic wraped on pallets, so they don’t fall over. Well, I’m going to wrap the bottom half of my raised beds so hopefully it can give a wind break for the plants. I have wrapped two so far to see how it withstands the awefull harsh winds. It sounds a little weird but I think it might just work. I thought of shade cloth and burlap but it’s expensive. This is cheap and clear!



Now off to find some organic fertilizer to start conditioning these Straw bales!

Enjoy this beautiful day!