Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day One

Let's get something straight, I don't really have a green thumb. In fact, I've probably killed more plants then I've kept alive. And as you'll see in these picture, I'm really good at growing dandelions and other weeds. However, last summer when I watched as Mckmama blogged about her Straw Bale Gardening experience, I knew I had to try it. I've always wanted to grow pumpkins for the kids but our current garden just doesn't have the space for them with all the other things growing in there so I figured this would be the perfect way for us to do that.

I didn't do much, if any, research over the winter. I did two simple things. 1.) Find a place in our yard where they could be and 2.) Make sure I could get two bales. So, that preparation took about 30 seconds and probably took place before the ground even froze. The last few weeks and days I haven been doing lots of research on how to prepare the bales for planting. And let me tell you, it's quite the process. Whose idea was this? Oh yeah, mine, that's right. Good thing I'm pregnant and only have 3 kids to chase around, I've got plenty of time and energy to do this.....Yawn.

If you Google Straw Bale Gardening you will find yourself overloaded with ideas, tips, tricks and lots of info about manure (Blah!). A few sites that I have found really helpful are No-Dig Vegetable Garden and Grow and Make. Every one seems to have their own way of preparing, planting and fertilizing so be prepared to be somewhat confused and overwhelmed. At least I hope you are because I was, and then I decided to just stop reading and go with it.

So here we are...Day One.

First step is finding a good spot for these suckers because once they are water logged you'll need a front end loader to move them. I picked the side of our house where we will get plenty of sun and we have lots of space for pumpkins to spread out. Make sure that when you place them you place them so the straw is vertical to the ground. This usually means that they twine holding them together DOES NOT come into contact with the ground. This placement allows for the water to properly disperse itself through the bale. Make sense? Good. Moving on.

And then? Turn that hose on and soak the suckers. Yes, I'll be using all sorts of proper terms like suckers, etc throughout this process. Your welcome. Can you see the dandelions? Someone should really get on top of those.

I watered them for about 5-7 minutes each. The water was coming out the sides at the end. Since its in the upper 80s today I'll probably water them again tonight. The key in this whole watering process is to NOT LET THEM DRY OUT! Did you hear me? They must not dry out. They need the water to cook and get all juicy and ready for planting. So for the next 3 days we will water, water, water. Water!

See you on Day Four!

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