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Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

I actually tilled some garden this past week!

Posted Sunday, January 28, 2018, at 2:49 PM
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  • Behind the garden bed on the left you might notice some taller dead grass. This is the remnants of a Hugelkultur bed, (wood and heavy organic material buried under the soil.

    I can't mow it, so I plan to put a HEAVY newspaper and hay mulch on it then plant a few squash plants. The rest will return to grass except for a large tractor tire where I planted some perennials.

    I was asked about straw bale gardening recently but don't anticipate doing any this season. Since the tiller is working and the bales require a lot of watering, I think I will just save the method for the day when I can no longer till or bend over at all.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jan 28, 2018, at 2:49 PM
  • Looks great, Steve. I am glad you are feeling motivated enough to start your garden. I have lots of cardboard if you are interested. My motivation may not arrive before the heat sets in and I agree with you….If it is not done before that I don't want to do it.

    Really happy to see your progress…..

    I was motivated to take in a rescued Collie and we are getting to know each other. Too bad she can't help me in the garden…..

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Sun, Jan 28, 2018, at 5:44 PM
  • Good for tou and the Collie. Unless she is very talented she may only be able to help you dig. :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jan 28, 2018, at 5:55 PM
  • Might could also help fertilize.

    -- Posted by fair share on Sun, Jan 28, 2018, at 8:08 PM
  • Euwwwww! I hate it when working the soil with my hands and find a surprise left by one of the cats.

    Good for the skin I hear. NOT!!

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jan 28, 2018, at 8:16 PM
  • MY FAVORITE PART OF TENNESSEE GARDENING IS STARTING SEEDS….THE OUTSIDE PART IS NOT FUN…….

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Mon, Jan 29, 2018, at 4:48 PM
  • Somehow I think I heard of that. :-)

    I met with a doctor of Ostepathics today. He explained why I have been losing my enjoyment of toiling outside.

    More about it that later.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jan 29, 2018, at 8:14 PM
  • Steve, how do you prep a bale for straw bale gardening; I'm thinking about starting one.

    -- Posted by Tyger on Tue, Jan 30, 2018, at 7:55 AM
  • In most cases the bales are kept bound by twine. Choose a bale that is held firmly because as it decomposes the bale gets looser.

    Depending on what you are growing, find a good level spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, and is easy for you to care for it since it will need some regular watering. There are automatic watering systems that could be set up, but I chose to wait to see how I liked it

    Turn the bale on its’ side with the sharp ends of the straw sticking up. This will allow the feritlizer and some garden soil to easily sink in as you soak the bale. I do meant soak it.

    The basic ingredient of the fertilizer spread on top should be heavy in nitrogen which will help the straw start to compost down. (Rot) There are several on here who have recipes for how much nitrogen and for how many weeks ahead of time you need to prepare. It needs time to “cook” before planting.

    Espoontoon helped his mother grow them for several seasons and Cherokee2 has it down to a science if he is still on here. If neither are on the boards right now, I will get some Favebook groups or search straw bale gardening on almost any search engine.

    Here is one of our previous conversations on the T G blog. http://www.t-g.com/blogs/stevemills/entry/61871

    Some will put a layer of topsoil to add necessary micronutrients as well as grit for worms and beneficial bacteria. Others use potting soil and add specifically what they want. Remember the top will dry out quickly so after soaking these ingredients in, I would lightly mulch it or plant on sprinkling every day if it does not rain.

    I grew tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and some squash. All were from started plants, none direct seeded although there are many who seem to succeed with this as well.

    I will discuss more after we see if someone else responds AND when I am out on the computer. I can’t sleep so I am typing this with thumbs on the side of the bed. (It probably shows) :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 31, 2018, at 1:47 AM
  • Much oblige, Steve. I'll check some websites.

    -- Posted by Tyger on Wed, Jan 31, 2018, at 7:54 AM
  • I checked the Facebook discussions I used to follow and quickly found they were straying off topic. Not bad topics, just not straw bale so I googled and found this one to answer many of the concerns someone starting out might have, along with pictures. https://modernfarmer.com/2013/07/straw-bale-gardening/

    I hope you don't think I am putting you off, but there are better "experts" on this than me. so I thought I would defer.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 31, 2018, at 9:24 AM
  • Yeah Steve! So glad to be reading about planting and not politics! Glad you are feeling well enough to get out there! HP

    -- Posted by horsepoopperson on Thu, Feb 1, 2018, at 7:32 PM
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