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Old 04-17-2007, 04:43 AM   #11
Susan P.
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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.
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:51 AM   #12
Susan P.
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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 :-)
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:28 PM   #13
Ellieblue
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have you checked out gardenweb forum?
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Old 04-17-2007, 05:53 PM   #14
NakedPancakes
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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?
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Old 04-17-2007, 08:27 PM   #15
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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.
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