Strawbale Gardening - no weeding, no hoeing, no tilling

Discussion in 'Discussion Group' started by Strawbaleman, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. Lantanalane

    Lantanalane Member

    Hi all!

    Starting my 4th year of strawbaling and excited to get rolling! My bales are out and we are in the process of prepping. I do want to mention that last year I planted the bales without using the fertilizer prep and I don't think the bales broke down near as well. This year I went back to the fertilizer prep but am going to research a non chemical way over the summer to use for the prep next year. I actually found an organic fertilizer recipe that I think could work and do plan on using it periodically to side dress my veggies over the summer. I do want to caution using any bales that had tomotoes in them from last year. If you had any of the tomatoe viruses/wilt --> toss those bales and start fresh. I used my last years bales to mulch my flower beds and shrubs as the viruses do not affect them . Great way to recycle and prevent the spread of any soil borne viruses.

    Well good luck and happy gardening to you all!
  2. Kent

    Kent Well-Known Member

    Lantanalane: Very good point about using the old bales for tomatoes if you had a virus/wilt.

    I will find out myself because I did use some old straw mixed up with some new compost that had blighted tomatoes.

    I'm hoping the blight didn't over-winter and the extended cold spells we had took care of the blight spores.

    I will still be spraying them early with some copper fungicide.

    Plus, I planted Better Boy tomatoes, which have a much stronger tolerance than the heirlooms, in the affected areas.

    Time will tell.

    Also, speaking of nitrogen, there's an interesting thread going on in the straw bale garden forum at about using natural urea, i.e., your saved pee and put that on the bales to jump start them.
  3. Lantanalane

    Lantanalane Member

    I'll check out the thread over on Daves garden. Starting tomorrow I'm planting Ameila, Bella Rosa, Krista and Fletcher. The Fletchers are from the NCSU tomato breeding line program and it's nice to know we've got a school in NC that's looking at how to address the virus and wilt problem. I got mine locally from a small farm that sells produce. If you can get a hold of some- and have the room you might want to give them a shot, mine did very well. I love Better boy but I had wilt problems with them. But I haven't ever tried to plant them in the bales. Last time was the last year I planted in the ground.

    I hope yours do great- I would sure love to try them again!
  4. VASandy

    VASandy Guest

    Storms in Va

    I really feel for everyone getting these Spring storms.
    My garden took a pounding yesterday, 74 mph wind, nickle size hail, but thank goodness no twister! I have pampered the tomatoe plants and prayed for the cukes and beans. The leaves have holes in them and they look rough today.
    Hope everyone else faired well! :grouphug:

  5. Kent

    Kent Well-Known Member

    VASandy: Hail can definitely do a number on our veggies. Looks like they will be OK.

    - - - - - - - -

    A few updated pics from this year's garden ...










  6. Kent

    Kent Well-Known Member

    Garden Update

    Things have really been popping this year!


  7. izitmidnight

    izitmidnight Member

    That July Harvest looks absolutely wonderful. Now that it is September, how was everyone's havest this year? Did your gardens do well?
  8. Kent

    Kent Well-Known Member

    This was my best garden season in some time.

    Put up over 150 qts of tomatoes.

    Peppers still going.

    2nd round of yellow squash doing well.

    Already planning what I'm going to do next season.
  9. Ima Sheltie

    Ima Sheltie Well-Known Member

    I did cucumbers vertically this year and really had a great harvest. In a three foot space I had more than I could think of eating.

    My peppers were stunted for some reason. They didn't get more than 2 feet tall and only the banana peppers produced anything.

    I have my fall plantings in, just waiting for harvest time :).

    Nice garden pictures!
  10. izitmidnight

    izitmidnight Member


    Have you given permission for your photos to be used in articles written by others? I was browsing through a website and stumbled onto an article of course on straw bale gardening, all but one of the photos are yours. They were very distinctly yours. One was of your tomato arch, and another was of your straw bale layout in the springtime.

    There was no mention of a byline with your name.
  11. Kent

    Kent Well-Known Member

    I do let my pics/info get used by others as long as they ask and credit me AND they are not making any $$$ with the pics/info, etc.

    Please send me the link (if you can get it) via Private Message so I can check it out.



    - - - - - -
    Thanks for the link....all is well.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  12. Kent

    Kent Well-Known Member

    Time to get those bales out!

    If you are planning a straw bale garden this year, now is a good time to get the bales out, water them down good for a few days and then just keep them moist until the end of April/1st of May when it will be time to transplant into the bales.

    By putting your bales out now, you eliminate the original 11-day recipe that called for some sort of nitrogen additive to get it through it's initial heat process.

    For beginners, go back to page 1 and start from there.

    Don't get in a hurry to get your plants out because we can still have some cold weather and it only takes one frost to kill your young seedlings.

    Tomatoes and peppers, especially, don't like "cold feet" and will just sit in the bales without much growth until we get consistent warm days AND nights.

    You won't lose any ground by waiting until the first of May.
  13. Kent

    Kent Well-Known Member

    WOW! BUSTED right through the 100,000 hits mark!

    Just a quick note to all the Straw Bale Gardening fans out there - thanks for the great responses to my thread and for help in spreading the word.

    Good luck with this year's garden!

    Feel free to post some pics of YOUR garden, too!

  14. izitmidnight

    izitmidnight Member


    I just use the bales for my lettuce, since my property is 80% shade. Just harvested my first iceburg head! They do well on bales! The other 7 varieties of leaf lettuce are just growing along. Plenty to last for a while.

    Hope everyone has their bales in place and ready for the excitement that this years garden will bring!
  15. Kent

    Kent Well-Known Member

    Good to hear you're enjoying the bales!

    My neighbor grows lettuce and other cool-weather plants in her bales each year, too.

    Feel free to post some pics of your garden.
  16. izitmidnight

    izitmidnight Member

  17. Kent

    Kent Well-Known Member


    time to get those bales out if you want to try this
  18. Wraunch

    Wraunch Well-Known Member

    Is it not better to do a raised bed?
  19. Palisade

    Palisade Well-Known Member

    If you really want to be picky, straw bale gardening is "raised bed".

  20. Kent

    Kent Well-Known Member

    Palisade is right on target. The bales are just instant raised beds that can easily be set up just about any where!!

    The above pic is a great example.

    Notice the strings are OFF the ground. You can also position the bales with strings ON the ground which is my preferred way. Water doesnt run through the bales as fast.

    But either way will work fine and produce great looking veggies.

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