Will Holland wrote:I'm not referring to the Ruth stout method, but straw bale gardens, where whole bales of straw are "charged" in high - nitrogen solution and planted directly into the straw in its baled form.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau, elle, sorry the bales didn't work out for you. One of my neighbors tried it last year and he, like you had limited growth.
When I asked him how many days he infused his bales with the chicken poop, it turned out he only put it in three times over the three week inoculation period.
I do mine every day for three weeks, I also keep them soaked through during that period and I water in compost every day for two weeks after the first three week period.
Not every method will work for everybody, Nature is just like that. I did see that you had success with some of the other methods you tried out. At least the bales will compost nicely and help your garden soil that way.
I use a set of bales for three years, the first year we only grow shallow root crops, the second we add squashes, the third we can grow potatoes in them since they are fully broken down. After that we use them as compost or mulch and bring in new bales.
One of the things I have noticed is that you really need to know what the straw that makes the bales went through before being cut and baled. I know an other farmer that tried it with his own, chemically grown wheat straw and they functioned like your trial bales.
I get mine from a registered organic farmer, he uses no till holistic farming methods so there are no adverse chemicals of any kind on his straw bales. That probably has a lot to do with the success we have with this method. It isn't the only way we grow gardens though, we have raised beds, growing mounds, kiddie swimming pools for herb growing and huge containers with potatoes. Some of the raised beds are actually tray type so the wife doesn't have to bend down (just over).
Kudos to remaining open minded and trying new things out. I really like your site too.
Dillon Nichols wrote:
We also had horrible slug issues, far worse than the rest of the garden. We had the bales directly against each other, so perhaps they were hiding between the bales? Not a problem we foresaw.
Between the prep time, the slugs, the herbicide risk, the chemical fertilizers, the high price of organic straw, and the not-very-impressive results, I'm not sure if we'll try again.