[OT:] Gardening?

Anyone garden here? =]
I have a few questions and I joined a Gardening forum, but it doesn’t seem very popular or populated. =

What kind of questions? I can try to help…


Straw bale gardening. Where you plant stuff on straw bales?

What can you plant on it?

I’ve heard you can plant strawberries, tomatos, cucumbers, but not corn

So I just wanted to know what works.

:shrug: Wow, you got me on that one and I asked my husband who sells flower bulbs and he has never heard of it either. I did Google it and this site looks like it has a lot of info http://www.carolinacountry.com/cgardens/thismonth/march06guide/straw.html

Good luck with it!

That’s where I learned about it from. The magazine.

Thanks much though. =]

I have planted potatoes, right on top of my garden soil, and covered it with straw bailing. They grow quite well that way, and are easy to dig up when harvest time comes around. I also understand that strawberries like to be mulched with straw (thus, straw berries)

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I don’t know either, BUT have you seen this site (my fav magazine, too) www.countrysidemag.com - maybe there’s a back issue/article?

Check Organicgardening.com . They have a forum also and it may be more populated.

I’ve done straw bale gardening. It depends somewhat on how high the straw really is as sometimes people don’t really have a bale thickness but what I’ve tended to do is to part the straw a little, put a small pot full of earth there into a mound and plant into that. Say good, healthy seedlings that you know will throw roots quickly. It can be reasonable to part the straw completely and plant IF the soil is rich and healthy and suited for the plant BUT wet straw around a plant can lead to stem rot etc so best not to have the straw right up against the plant at all.

What sort of plants are you wanting to put in? Vegetables or flowers or flowering shrubs or…? And are you planting seedlings or more mature plants…?

It would be perhaps easier to simply do a google search on ‘straw bale gardening’ and look at info sites. I’m not sure about corn but again it may be the issue to do with rot and mould. If straw is soaked and stays that way for a long time it was get blackish and mouldy. You need to water well but it’s best to not let the straw stay soaked for days in possible. Obviously you can’t help if bad weather hits.

I’ve never heard of it, and, from what I know from working on a farm, wet straw is not a good thing at all. For mulch, it does decently, but I can’t imagine letting plants grow on them. The moisture needed would ruin the straw.

Is it a starter for plants, so that you can remove the roots easily and replant the seedlings elsewhere once the weather is warm enough? :??

Riverdaughter. The idea for straw bale gardening is reasonably sound. Firstly it’s meant for soils that have become very hard and/or fairly poor. It’s a way to apply longer term mulching without back breaking work. Using the straw (softer than the ground in some cases) provides a ‘bed’. That’s why I’ve made a hole in the straw, made sure the base of that is covered thickly with straw (so soil I add doesn’t just fall through) and then add the pot or so of soil mix as a planting medium.

Secondly it’s used to reduce weeds. Third it’s used in dryer climates to assist water retention. Fourth it can be used to avoid high costs in trucking in soil in areas that have lots of sand and so on (or hard and poor soils as discussed previously). Using the bales can cut back soil purchases significantly.

I agree with not allowing continued soakage which is why I mentioned that before. Once shouldn’t be scared to water well and in fact you need to but don’t overwater.

Oh, and no, it’s not just a ‘starter’. Unless you build the bales up like a house the 3 little pigs lived in LOL the straw will break down fairly quickly. If you have about a 12inch depth (or even a bit more), you will be surprised how well plants will root eventually into the soil below. I’ve grown in about a 10" depth and have had to put more straw around plants 3 months later but by then, if adding some nice nutriments in adding to the straw (that would depend on your soil but agricultural lime and so on are possible) over a few months and watering, the soil underneath will be much improved.

There’s a product in Australia called “Charlie Carp” which is made from carp initially caught in our waterways (now more farmed I think). Carp was introduced here and carp unwittingly began to kill off lots of out native riverlife so finding a way to utilise this ‘beast’ was great. It’s a liquid and is very beneficial to add to gardens and lawns every few months. This kind of product can be useful to add to straw gardens but again I’d do a google search and look for recommendations because what you add can also depend on what you’re growing. Obviously if you are eating what you grow you’re extra careful of what you add :slight_smile:

have you checked out gardenweb forum?

I think I did check that out.

Uhm We had planned on planting tomatos, cucumbers, and maybe some strawberries or potaotes. We had planned on eating them.

The article said to water really well every day. Is that a bit too much water?

I don’t know if we’re going to use seeds or plants or what. Which is better and easier to start out with?

I would not plant seeds. I buy punnets of vegetable and flower seedlings at a local nursery. They are ideal. If you can’t buy these where you are I would buy seeds but grow them initially in a tray with seed raising mix (it’s called that and you buy it in bags). The ‘mix’ is excellent and you’ll have seedlings in no time. Wait until they have a few leaves and have a healthy stalk before planting out.
Watering each day is fine but no need to water if you get rain.
Your list is fine except for potatoes. I would ‘trial’ that of course but because potatoes generally have to be planted almost completely under soil I think that a problem. You could try pumpkin vines tho. They should love it.