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23.02.2014 admin
Use these free images for your websites, art projects, reports, and Powerpoint presentations! We learned at last year’s Bonnaroo gardening workshop that straw bale gardens are a simple alternative to raised beds.
Straw is different from hay – Straw bales are made of the dried stalks of grain plants, hay bales are made from cut grasses that still have seed and grain (a nutrient source for horses and livestock) attached.
Be sure that the straw has not been treated with anything you wouldn’t want your food growing in and that will not deter the growth of vegetation (herbicides).
Once the bales are moistened, fork in lime (1 pound per bale) and fertilize with a manure or compost tea. If you’re worried about critters, lay the bales on top of gardening cloth or a layer of poultry fencing. If after about 3-5 days, the bale does not reach an internal temperature of 100 degrees F, add a bit more fertilizer and re-check after three days. You can re-use the same bale for subsequent plantings (be sure to fertilize each time) and, once you think you’ve grown all you can in it, compost it for future soil. Tried this about three years ago – got loads of spuds but couldn’t cope with the slugs! Note to my previus cmment: Before planting, a process for fermintation of the straw in the areas under the water drippers was initiated by applying posphoric acid followed after one day by urea and decomposing microorganisms (extracted by leaving peogon drops in water for one day, then filtered in cloh and added to the fertigation system). Straw bales are great garden materials, not only they keep slugs they add nutrients to the plants as well. I grew the most wonderful tomatoes (my Brandywines reached seven feet high, as did Sun Golds), Japanese eggplants, peppers, basil, parsley in my bales last year, which was my first attempt. Gopher or Mole?The moist soil after some much needed rain in California, has brought out the moles and gophers in droves. Gophers tunnel deep in the earth, leaving mounds (usually “U” shaped) of fine, powdery soil at the surface. Moles are insect-eating mammals that tunnel along the surface of the earth and leave round (not “U” shaped) mounds of soil as they excavate their tunnels.
Nothing has sparked more life back into my tired (hum, or am I talking about me?) butterfly garden than Haven Brand Manure Tea!  This is not tea for drinking, but a blend of natural manure made from pesticide and antibiotic free, grass fed livestock from the Haven Ranch in San Juan Capistrano, California. Master magician, munching to and fro, a caterpillar works illusions til’ the end of his show ~K. There is no a better way to entice butterflies into your garden then with healthy, butterfly nectar and host plants.
Female butterflies have evolved to be very picky individuals when it comes to laying their eggs. A great project to teach children to protect and respect nature and to give them a bit of perspective…life is to allow them to watch caterpillars turn into butterflies.
If you are redesigning your garden, adding to it or creating an entirely new one then there are a few things you will need to know about landscape design to help you make a success of your work.


Remember, when designing your garden, to take into account, the seasonal nature of your garden and how each plant will appear all year round. Autumn, especially, can be a delightfully rich season for the garden and perennials will continue to grow and blossom each year. You can find a good soil thermometer for under $10 at your favorite garden centers and online. Pour about four inches of soil on top of the bale, then create a hole in the soil and the bale for your starter plants.
The web site is packed with great information and there is a calendar of workshops for interested Minnesotans, too. It doesn’t go to seed before harvested, and as a legume wouldn’t it have a higher nitrogen content? We have very poor soil in our garden areas so I use raised gardens or small container gardens.
We used compacted rice straw bales successfully in commercial vegetable production in the desert land saving costs of land reclamation.
After one weak in summe and 10 days in winter, these areas turned into like-compost structure inwhich the seeds or plantlets will be inserted. Anyone who composts knows how important the right mix of carbon and nitrogen is for your plants.
There is sometimes confusion as to whether your garden has been invaded by gophers (a rodent that eats plants and roots) or by moles that tunnel along the surface, upsetting topsoil and toppling seedlings. The soil in the mound of a mole has clumps of dirt in it rather than powdery soil as in the mound of the gopher. Realizing the demand from local farmers for her natural soil fertilizer, Annie Haven, of Haven Ranch came up with a wonderful way to package up her naturally rich soil conditioners for the home gardener. Even when a prospective plant feels, tastes and smells just like the right species, it may be rejected by the female butterfly for a variety of reasons.  It may be to exposed to the elements. On average a female butterfly may visit up to 10 prospective host plants before picking the perfect one! The most important thing to know is what sort of soil you have to work with and which plants are best for it.
Try to envisage what sort of garden you want to have in all the seasons and design it accordingly. A good landscape design will provide you with a good plan for work, and a rewarding garden. Any vegetable will grow well in straw bales, but stay away from anything that grows too high and may topple over the whole arrangement. If you have male friends or relatives who are willing to(it is a little easier for them to do this), ask them to use your straw bales as a urinal (any barbecue or evening around a bon-fire with a 6 pack will provide plenty of opportunities for this) and it will accelerate the process of composting and provide bacteria good foundation to turn into soil nutrients for your plants. You must add nitrogen and food and saturate with water for a month or two (in the rain is best), See my interview.


You have performed a formidable process and our whole neighborhood shall be thankful to you. I didn’t even put a layer of soil on top, simply a trowel full when I planted my seedlings. For colder climates I find it best to expose the straw bale to the weather a couple of months before starting the fertilization or priming process.
They sometimes eat the roots of tender plants but are most commonly a problem when they disrupt flower and vegetable beds and burrow through lawns.
Even after she has made her choice, she may spend up to 9 hours surveying and selecting precise leaves on which to deposit her eggs. A knowledge of your garden’s position is also important; such as which side is north and which south and where are the sunny spots, the shaded spots and whether some areas retain more water. A plan assists greatly in the whole decision making process without incurring any more expense than a pencil and paper, and your time. Be careful you don’t put all your efforts into creating a spectacular summer display of colour and shape but have dead matter for the other three seasons in the year.
Lettuces, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs and peppers are big favorites with straw bale gardeners. All resulted in 15-20% increase in harvest and better fruit quality with fair prices contributing to income increase for the participating vegetable growers. You couldn’t ask for a more spectacular show then watching a female butterfly dance upon your butterfly garden for hours. You might, of course, employ the services of a professional gardener or landscape designer to assist you or undertake the job themselves; but it can be immensely satisfying to create your own ‘masterpiece’ and you can learn the essentials as you go along. Your plan will include what building or new digging work needs to be done and where; it will include the plants and where they will be placed and you can decide which colours and shapes will predominate where. If you wish, I can send you photos for the commercial production of vegetables on compacted rice straw bales in Egypt. The earlier you do this compared to planting, the more time you allow the composting bacteria to get established and utilize the foundation materials to make things optimal for your plants.
Some go so far as to draw up a scaled picture of the garden and attach photos or illustrations of plants, others use computer software and some merely type up a series of lists; but so long as your planning allows you to approach the work in an organised way then it is serving its purpose. Trapping and applying poison deep in the tunnel are the common methods of ridding your garden of gophers. A wire basket surrounding a newly planted tree or shrub will protect the roots from these pests.



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