If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.William Morris.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Five on Friday

Five on Fridays is back on Amy's blog so skip over there and give it a look to see what others are posting for their five
My five this weeks........
 Is lessons learned on straw bale gardening

This was my first year to attempt straw bale gardening. It's a very ingenious way of gardening if you do not have good soil, the space or energy to have a garden.
It's temporary so if your're a renter, you don't have to worry about making any permanent changes to the yard.
It can be done on concrete if you don't have any place for garden.
I do not fit any of those criteria's but I wanted to give it a try anyway.
I have a large enough garden to keep me busy all year but I was fascinated by this idea and wanted to give it a try so here are the five things I learned from my experiment this summer

1. I found out that you will need to look for a tightly compress bale. Mine were loosely packed which created some issues when coming to planting the seeds, holding their shape and keeping up right.

2.  Because the bales were loosely packed and leaning, the water would just run off the top. So it is very important that there are erect and if not use a support of some sort to keep the bales upright. I learn I should of used T-posts to do the trick. Will next time.

3. Conditioning your bales to get them to start decomposing is a major part of this method. I went the organic way and use blood meal. Well I'm not really sure how important that is, other than just principal. The cost with a lot, lot more than if I would've went with a fertilizer. Another thing about blood meal is the smell. Smelled like something died in my garden. If you were to do this in a residential area, where neighbors were closed... I wouldn't advise it

 4. Fertilizing is very important and essential. I believe I did not fertilize enough. We did have a lot of rain here and I believe that  my attempt of fertilizing, just leach out. I have bought a Miracle Grow fertilizer dispenser for the hose and I will be giving that a try the rest of the season and see if that helps. I have a liquid organic fertilizer.

5. You know that saying.... location... location...location
Is so important.
 Where I located my bales I thought was a good location. Prepped it with some weed barrier cloth underneath the bales. And as far as that part goes, it work really well.
 What my issue was with the adjacent pasture next to where I had  them. Had problems with weeds and vine plants outside the garden but near the bales. If you can, try putting them on concrete or gravel somewhere, where there's no weeds. And put down a weed barrier, that works good. Just take notice what is a foot or two away from your bales.

OK this is not part of Five on Friday.....
 for my conclusion to my experiment is operator error. 
Should of started with less bales and will next year.
  Will make sure to get tight bales.
 Second I'm going to get the bales here at the end of summer instead of waiting till spring when bales are hard to find and choice of quality is poor. By getting them now I am going to let Mother Nature do the decomposing of the bales with very little help from me. 

And you can see from the example here, a couple of bales were left in the chicken pen over the winter and they decomposed on their own. 
Will move the location of the bales also. Making sure that the spot is flat and if not I will give it some sort of support to keep them from leaning.
  Will continue with a drip water system.

Lessons well learned


  1. Fascinating!! It sounds as though you have learned a lot this year and that next year will be even bigger and better! I hope so! Thank you for joining Five on Friday. I hope that you have a great weekend!!! Sorry to be late visiting, we have been away and just got back today. xx

  2. Good lessons learned. I found this whole post really interesting not having thought about this type of gardening before. I'm not sure I'm tempted to try it however, the jury is out with me, seems a lot of effort... or am I being lazy?

  3. I have never come across this type of gardening before, so found the whole post fascinating. Have a good weekend.

  4. Visiting from Amy's "Five" ... I've read a few blogger's experiments with bale gardening. It looks like an interesting way to grow a veggie garden. I had thought about trying it for squash, but that's as far as I got ;) I would like to have a huge squash vine crawling all over the bale. You sure have a lot of bales to start with! Have a great weekend :)


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