Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cold, Straw Bales, Greenhouse Planting

Spring is officially here; based on the news, calendar, Farmer’s Almanac, and the temperature on certain days :-)

Today the temperature was 41, with winds and all kinds of rain; now the weatherman states our high will be 54 today.  I had to use my husband’s rubber boots, and a rain/winter jacket to work outside today.  Talk about cold and soaking wet, yep that’s what I was when I came back inside.

Tomorrow……………well that’s another story, low 43 with high at 80 degrees.  
I’ve been prepping straw bales for a straw bale garden experiment. 
The bale conditioning process starts as follows:
Place paper or plastic below straw bales to prevent grass from growing up inside straw bale.

Place bales on side leaving wire in place.

Days 1 – 3: Water new bales thoroughly for three days; this helps with   the decomposing.

Days 4 – 6: Sprinkle the top of each bale with 1 cup of fertilizer; ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) or ½ cup of urea (46-0-0) daily, then water the fertilizer in after each application.  This speeds the decomposition process.

Days 7, 8, & 9 cut the amount of fertilizer per bale in half.  Don’t water excessively, to prevent runoff and leaching of the nitrogen out of the bale.

Day 10 Stop fertilizing, but keep the bales moist.

Day 11 Feel the top of the bale for heat.  If still hot, check every day until the bale cools down to about 99 degrees or lower.  Still keep bales moist with water when needed.

The next step will be the planting step.  When I get to this point with my bale garden, I will do another update to my blog.  Until then, I will post about other interesting (I hope) things for your reading pleasure.
** Straw Bale Gardening Instruction Source: Washington State University Extension FS109E


Here are a few seeds I’ve planted in my greenhouse, and garden; along with seedlings I purchased at our local Farmers’ Market. 

Seeds/Seedlings Started & In Greenhouse
Celery(4 stalks) purchased from store for salads etc…., I chopped the ends off and placed them in water to root inside my greenhouse.

Farmers’ Market Broccoli (Green Magic, Tasty, Packman, and De Cleen).
Farmers’ Market Tomatoes (Heirloom Pineapple, Lemon Boy, Cherokee Purple).

Greenhouse Seeds (Oregano, Chives, Garlic Chives, Hyssop, Borage, Rosemary, Spearmint, Chamomile, Thyme, Parsley, Paprika, & Cilantro).
Greenhouse Seeds (Tomatoes-Pink Brandy Wine, Cherry, Plum Lemon and Beef Steak; Onions, Leeks, Cauliflower, Beets, Peppers Ancho, Green).

Seeds/Seedlings Started & In Garden


  1. Can your weather be any more topsy-turvy? I'm interested in following your posts on the straw bales.

    1. Mrs. Mac,

      It's terrible this year. We go from the low numbers, with wind, and rain, to extreme warmth.

      Soon I'll be able to plant on them, and I will post updates as I work with the bales.

  2. Same here Sandy--Today was mid 50's....tomorrow near 80 and tomorrow evening thunderstorms...Friday I think its only in the 60's...I am so ready for some moderation and to get off this rollercoaster of weather!!

    1. HL,

      The weather people, you can't always believe in what they say. They indicated east of where I'm at will have evening thunderstorms. Were suppose to get some in the early morning about 20 percent.

      You and me both time for the roller coaster to stop!!!

  3. Straw bale project sounds interesting. Can't wait to see the results :) that's something I haven't tried to grow. Keep us posted on that!
    Our weather today sucks!!!!! Bring on the weekend. I think we will be in the 80's Sunday :) Enjoy your weekend lady!

    1. Kelly,

      Thanks, I thought I would try planting with them this year. I read about it, and decided to give it a shot.

      My easy solution for growing celery is to take what I buy at the farmers market or store and cut the bottom end off of the celery.
      Then just place it in a cup or bowl of water and let roots grow. Then you'll see celery stalks growing in a short period of time. Let the roots get established, then plant in the ground. A word of warning, you'll need to put up some type of netting because the birds love the celery.

      Yes, the weather was nasty today and cold. Tomorrow in the 80's, and I'm looking forward to the warmth.

      Enjoy your weekend too sweetie!!

  4. I like the idea of the celery...I did read that on someone else's blog but haven't tried it myself. Will have to look into that...not a big celery eater but for soups and stews would come in handy. Chicken soup doesn't seem chicken soup unless you see celery in it! LOL!
    The hay bale experiment I am diggin! I look forward to seeing your progress. I grew potatoes in straw and tires one year and it turned out fabulous....the potatoes were clean and a lot of them from one plant. It was fun!

    1. M.E.,

      When I make broth (beef, chicken, or veggie) I use celery.
      I'm glad you're diggin my straw bale project, I am too :-)
      I've done potatoes in straw and tires 2 years in a row. I had some potatoes (not a lot of producers though). I also did sweet potatoes, and they just took off and were delicious.

  5. Sweet Sandy - all of your gardening adventures sound interesting and i can't wait for more updates. i've read about others doing the straw bale thing - i can't wait to learn more about what you are doing and how it works out! so sorry you got so soaking wet - bahahahahah! and wearing BullDog Man's boots! i do the same when i am just running out to grab something from the basement or greenhouse - i put on jam's boots. jam says that you have exactly the voice he expected you to have and that you really are the sweetest! i've known how sweet you were from day one - that's why you'll always be Sweet Sandy to me! oh, even though we are having a heck of a storm the past 2 days, we're prepped and ready for whatever comes our way but the storm has already subsided. and then we'll start the tomatoe and pepper seeds - woohoo! and cold-weather seeds in the greenhouse. this is going to be an interesting gardening year for all of us and i can't wait to read up on your progress! love you, gurl. and jam sends a whole pile of hugs to you!

    your friend,

    1. Sweet Kymber,

      Thank you, they are adventures Bahahahahahahah!!!!

      Yes, I wore Bulldog Mans boots......they were quick and easy to get to. The rain was coming down like cats and dogs here yesterday.

      Tell Jambaloney my voice has a good old southern draw, lol
      Thank you for the compliments, I'm usually sweet until something ticks me off.......then oh boy, watch out........Tornado Sandy starts swirling....Bahahahahaha.......

      I'm so happy to hear you both are okay, and the bad weather pretty much went around you. The best part about having a greenhouse is the ability to have plants growing when it's too cold or too hot.
      Sending hugs and love to you and Jam.
      Your Friend,

  6. I'm all excited to see how the straw bales work out too. Thanks in advance for the "how to" on them. Heck I didn't even know you needed to "prep" the bales so I've already learned something new!
    I've been procrastinating about our gardens what with the weather and all. That and Mars has injured his shoulder which of course is the right dominate arm. It sounds like you have a heck of a start so far.
    Take Care, and hugs to you and yours

    1. SCI,

      You're very welcome, I hope my posts explain the process well enough. I didn't know you needed to prep them either, I read it from Joel Karsten's blog, and the Washington State University fact sheets.

      I'm antsy, and want the garden in now, lol......but like you the weather hasn't been conducive for planting. Today, I put in my potatoes.

      Oh no, please tell Mars I'm sorry to hear about his shoulder and will keep him in my prayers for a speedy recovery.
      Take care of yourself. Sending hugs to you and Mars.

  7. Sandy
    I'm looking forward to following your gardening endeavors this year.
    80 degrees-You sure know how to make a girl cry, don't you?

    1. Kimberly,

      Thanks!!! I hope my gardening turns out this year.......if it doesn't, you maybe in trouble, lol......

      80 degrees today, tomorrow a little cooler. I'm sorry, I don't mean to make you cry. I can try to send you the sun, warmer temperatures.....will that work :-)

  8. After I saw what you were doing I did a brief search on the internet for straw bale gardening. One guy just put some dirt on top of a bale. I didn't see where he did any of this prep. It didn't make any sence to me but now I see what you are doing. Are you doing this because you have poor or compact soil? Or are you just trying something new? Very interesting...

  9. Michaele,

    I conditioned the bales to start the decomposing stages before planting in order to provide the nutrients to the plants I'm planting.

    You can use chemical or organic fertilizer to help.

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