I'm attempting a vegetable garden for the first time ever this year. Gardening has never really been my idea of fun in the past (ask my parents who were always trying to get me to help out in the garden as a kid), but it's time to suck it up. Buying organic produce can get expensive and there no reason why I can't grow some of my staple vegetables. I elected to try straw bale gardening when I heard about it because of its pure simplicity. Before straw bale gardening and I became acquainted, I was stressing out about the lack of space in my backyard and the lack of quality soil. Problem solved (I hope).
With straw bale gardening, the garden is the bale! With water, a nitrogen source, and time, the bales begin to "cook" and provide a nutrient rich environment that continues to compost during the gardening season. Straw bale gardening has numerous advantages such as:
- you can garden on top of non-gardening surfaces (cement in my case)
- it provides an extra raised bed so you don't have to bend over or kneel
- it is a cheap alternative to other garden soils ($5/bale in my case)
- they are an excellent source of compost at the end of the season
After placing my bales where I wanted them in my yard I mixed up a 2 parts bone meal and 1 part blood meal mixture.
I'm not exactly sure how much of this I'm supposed to use (remember this is my first time gardening), but I ended up spreading the amount you see in the picture above, over 3 bales or so.
By the way, these bales became like giant lollipops to my dogs as soon as they were covered in bone and blood. I spoiled them long enough to take a picture of the event.
It looks like my white dog is about to tear into me if I come any nearer, but actually he's just trying to do something with the straw he managed to get stuck in his teeth.
After the bone and blood meal was laid I hosed down the bales really good to mix it in. It's important for me to keep the bales nice and wet for the next week or two to make sure the bales are nice and cooking (composting).
To make life easier I decided to go with a drip hose that connected to my automated watering timer system.
Hopefully, that's it. Sometime in the next two months I should be ready to start planting my seeds. Wish me luck. I realize this was the easy part.
* We linked this post at Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS *