Saturday, August 1, 2009

Strawbale garden 8-2009

My little bale garden has produced beyond our expectations this year. We have so far avoided the dreaded wilt or fungus on the tomatoes, so I hope I am not jinxing myself by writing this.

The tomatoes have become a little leggy but are still flowering and you can see from the pictures, I'm still picking some everyday. I have been sharing them with the girls at work along with eating them everyday in various dishes. One of my favorite way to fix them so far is this recipe:

Prepare a baking dish by drizzling olive oil in the bottom. Slice the tomato into 1/4" slices. Use the small ones because they end up being the perfect size to just pop in your mouth! Place the sliced tomatoes in the baking dish and cover with a slice of the soft mozzarella cheese and drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Bake at 400 x 20 minutes and allow to cool. Grate fresh pepper on top and enjoy!

Another recipe is this one:

Fresh Salsa

Cubed tomatoes x 4
chopped onion x 1
1 can corn rinsed
1 can black beans rinsed
1 bunch cilantro rinsed and chopped

Mix all together and refrigerate x 2 hours, stir and serve. MMMMMMMmmmmmmm!

Well, hope that made you hungry! Time for lunch....of course it will be a tomato and cheese sandwich!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

High Tech and Free of course!

Well, here you go! My industrious water collection system from our A/C condensate lines.

You can see the 5 gallon sheet rock/paint buckets I recycled into collection containers. The upstairs line empties into the 5 gallon. The downstairs line empties into the black 2.5 gallon bucket. When each one fills up, I exchange it with an empty one.

This way I pretty much have one waiting on me to use for watering my herbs as well as the potted plants on the porch. I also get enough to do the front flower beds. I just rotate the watering on a daily basis to each group of plants. Works great and I don't have to pull the hose anywhere!

I do though, carry the water in 2 plastic wide mouth containers that used to hold bird seed. I can quickly fill them up and away I go. I'm amazed at how much I collect and best of all it's FREE!(Even though I am on well water, I just like the idea I am recycling something that would ordinarily be wasted.)

Give it a try!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Strawbale garden 5-2009

Look at the difference in the size of the peppers...from just 10 days ago!


pole bean bed

Oh, what a difference a week makes! My little peppers have been moved to the straw bales. I decided to plant Kentucky Blue Wonder Pole beans in last years mulched bales. The tomatoes are in and looking great. I have potted up the sage, thyme and basil.

Today has been mostly overcast, but in the last couple of hours the sun has started to shine and what a nice sunny spring day it has turned into!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Strawbale garden 4-2009

Click on pic to see how much fertilizer 1/2 cup is on one bale. Looks like a lot. Of course this was watered in afterwards.


The beds have been moved to their new resting place and the bales are in. We are on day 4 of the prep. The other 2 beds were where we consolidated the old cuke/squash bed and a leftover bale that was never planted in. So, now we have 9 hot banana pepper plants and 2 mexican pepper plants just planted this morning.(The mexican peppers grow ~10 in. and are supposed to be good for rellenos). I've bought the tomatoes and they are ready to go as soon as the bales are finished in 6 days!

I know it doesn't look like much, but it is the same size as last year, just arranged in a "T" formation rather than 2 rows. I did it this way because I felt the tomatoes would get better air circulation and plenty of sun on both sides, as opposed to the row method where one row shaded the other row depending on the position of the sun.

I'm still trying to decide if I am going to plant cukes or not. If I do, then I am going to need another bed. Monty didn't mean to buy as many pepper plants as he did, so the bed where the cukes were going to go, now have peppers in them. I'm still going to sow pole beans at the end, this time in the ground. I think picking the beans for stir fry will be fun, if I can get them to grow.

So here's the recipe for the bales:

It takes 10 days to prepare your bales.

* Days 1–3: Water the bales thoroughly and keep them wet. They will still look dry shortly after watering, and do so even after the 10 day prep. But still water thoroughly.
* Days 4–6: Sprinkle the bales with 1/2 cup of ammonium nitrate (32-0-0) per bale per day, and water it well into the bales.
* Days 7–9: Cut back to 1/4 cup of ammonium nitrate per bale per day and continue to water it in well.
* Day 10: No more ammonium nitrate, but do add 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer per bale and water it in well.
* Day 11: Transplant your plants into the bales. I used a spade to make a crack in the bale for each plant. Place the plant down to its first leaf and close the crack back together as best you can. I added a spade of miracle grow potting mix to each hole before planting.

We found the ammonium nitrate at our Farmer's Supply.

I'll post another pic after the 10 day prep is up and the tomatoes are in.

And if you are planning on growing tomatoes, buy Amelia or the Christa variety, as they are virus resistant. Lowe's has the Amelia variety.

Good Luck and Happy planting!!