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!!