Sunday, May 10, 2009


As I said in the last blog "green is not my favorite color"'s quickly becoming a runner up for first (red is my favorite). Green and I should say pale yellow (as in straw) are in a close race.

Why? well...I have come to realize that in just a short time, my kinda sorta like; has become a LOVE scenario........Love, love, love straw bale gardening. Not only are my veggies doing double duty, as in growing at twice the usual rate; not a weed in sight other than the expected trim I have to do because of the bales themselves sprouting. (but that just means you are doing everything right) So it's kinda a pat on the back that you actually achieved the perfect scenario for your plants to thrive. after all the bales sprouting up themselves means you have seasoned, watered, and maintained the perfect environment for the bales to grow. (therefore anything you stick in them grows too).

All together this is about the third week of this process. The first week I spent (after a little research) laying down the black plastic, and arranging my bales to the configuration I thought would work best for me. After that I spent the time seasoning the bales with the Miracle grow, blood meal, manure and topsoil...(I also did the center so it was more time consuming as opposed to just doing the bales themselves) In the center I did the Lasagna technique as explained in the last straw bale gardening blog.

In the last blog I really didn't list what I here it goes....

1)Broccoli plants- 2 per bale is ideal-just dig, hatch, cut into the bales (sometimes they pull apart easily and you can just gently push the plant root down into the bale and close it kinda like a book) and sometimes you don't find that divide in the bale so easily and you have to cut and remove some straw. You can fill in the space with a mixture of topsoil, manure. Some books I have read suggest cutting a piece of carpet out and putting it around the stem of your plants to prevent a certain type of worm and their far I just cut out the bottoms of Styron foam cups and ripped it to the near center, put it around the base of the plant then push it back together to form a barrier..(so far, so good) also with bale gardening one perk is Less pest!!!!! so you may not even have that worry at all.

2)Cabbage plants- I did 2 per bale. However considering how large they get, perhaps just one is ideal. I couldn't bring myself to give up an entire bale to one plant; I may pay in the future for that..So far the 2 in the bale has not been a problem and they are thriving very well.

3) Lettuce plants- I did 3 per bale-again, that's pushing it. 2 plants is plenty if you are doing HEADS of lettuce. Otherwise the salad greens types are fine..The more the merrier, and you can continue throughout the season (colder) planting and replanting lettuce.

4) Green beans Seeds- I covered one entire bale with blood meal, manure, top soil and planted approx 12 seeds of green beans-They have already sprouted are are doing great. If you decide to do seed, just push them in enough to kinda lodge in the top of the bale and cover lightly with soil.

5) Pepper Plants- I planted 2/3 per bale..All different types of pepper plants. Make sure you dirt up as your plants grow. This will help support the plants as they get taller.

6) zucchini seed- I covered an entire bale with seed thinking that it might not take off...YES they did take off and now I am going to have zucchini as far as the eyes can see!!! LOL oh well, live and learn and I can also remove a few...I intend to help the vines outwards toward the yard so that they don't overtake my center area of the straw garden.

7) Cauliflower plants- 1 to 2 per bale. I only did one per bale because of the size and then added some greens seed to the other side so not to waste the space..I will have lots and lots of lettuce.

8) Tomato plants- I have Cherry's, big mommas (I think) and two other kind I don't quite remember at the moment. I plan to stake them directly through the bales. Also check out my upside down tomato plants..they are doing even better than the straw garden ones. Manure I find is the key to tomato's....

9) Brussels sprout plants- 2 to 3 per bale. Make sure to dirt up as the plant grows to help support its heavy load of sprouts once it starts producing.

10) The center area is planted Lasagna style. I planted strawberries on the far side and left lots of room for their runners. I also planted Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, and sweet peas (Rocco's favorite) in the big tractor tire (we found in a ditch) Also I decided I love the no dig Lasagna style gardening too. So I took cinder blocks and created a Lasagna style garden. First I made my rectangle with the blocks 6 blocks long, and 4 blocks wide. Next I took cardboard paper (3rolls) and layered the inside bottom, then added my compost from my compost bin, manure, topsoil, blood meal. Make sure you wet the cardboard paper well before putting on your layers of other matter. My herbs were planted on the edge inside the cinder block holes and I planted onions, lettuce, celery, spinach, asparagus, radishes; which, all of the seeds are already sprouting and I need to thin them..check out the pics

11) In the Styrofoam container- I pushed holes in the bottom of the Styrofoam cooler (recycling) and added topsoil, manure..then I threw in carrot seeds. I will have thin them out because they really took root and all are growing.

See?..............I drive around and see people just now tilling up their plots. They haven't even started to plant yet because it still gets cold at night. It's amazing how early you can start to garden when you use bales. The Lasanga style allows you to plant immediately because you dont have to wait for all the compost break down. So you can take any space on your lawn and instantly turn it into a veggie paradise.........Hope you enjoyed this blog and it was imformative.

(Be sure to check out "My complete profile" for ChewyChewsNews-a family oriented second blog-Also YOU readers feel free to leave COMMENTS!!!! good or bad; I can take it)


Wednesday, May 6, 2009



Green-not my favorite color!
Green-proven that if you pick that color for a car your SMART (proven? really?)
Green-became an enemy, when I became a Golf widow (used to have an overwhelming urge when traveling on the highway and seen a particular golf course; to throw a exploding projectile onto the 18th green and snicker devilishly as I imagined all sorts of plaid clothing fly into the sky in a cloud of smoke he..he...he ...exclaiming FOUR!!!!!!!!! (ahem! sorry, got carried away) Geez...where would I get an exploding projectile. Hey! where would I get an exploding projectile? LOL..just kidding......or am I....
Green-makes the world go round-that's why I'm stuck in the vortex never quite spinning with the rest of the world...No green!

Green-A project (experiment really) I'm trying.......called Straw Bale gardening--

I have found there isn't much information out there about straw bale gardening. When you do find information there aren't many pictures of the process. So I decided that I would teach myself through trial and error and see what becomes of it. I don't claim to have a green thumb, and my only success story previously is that I have a few house plants that are still alive and thriving. I tried a traditional garden last year and was overwhelmed with weeds. I didn't see any fruit of my hard labor and that almost did me in on gardening. Most articles I read about Straw bale gardening seem to market the idea to those that can't bend much (like the elderly) or those that live in apartments, or don't have the yard space. All of those reasons are good ones of course but I decided to try it because it seem out of the normal realm of gardening; that appealed to me.

1) Get a few straw bales and set them up anyway you like-be creative-(make sure the twine around the bale isn't touching the ground) I put a sheet of black plastic down first because the bales need lots of water and the plastic helps retain water. plus, if you decided ( I did) to use the bales for a border and plant Lasagna style in the center (more about that later) then you will need to layer the center up (more later) and plastic is the first layer.

2) after you have set the bales up on the plastic-soak them everyday for 3-4 days. The other articles I read suggested using ammonium nitrate to soak the bales (but it is not found easily in USA) regulated etc...I had no luck finding I experimented and soaked the bales with Miracle grow once. (really soaked each bale; you need a good nitrogen soak up)

3) The next day I covered the tops of the bales with blood meal, then manure, top soil.

4) Give your bales time to cool down, and start planting about four days after the Miracle grow. Plant- 2 plants per bale(just dig, cut or wedge down into the bale). If you do seeds (pushing them just barely into the bale) cover them with a thin layer of top soil and thin them out over time as they begin to sprout.

5) water often-straw bales require more water than traditional gardens.

6) Experiment-I can only offer the results thus far with my own straw bale experiment. I think I have already become obsessed. I have better results in the first week and a half than any other type of gardening I've tried. I also bent the rules a bit when planting. Because you get less area to plant, I decided to put a few plants like vining ones in between the bales at the bottom so that they grow out and into the yard. This way giving myself more available planting spaces...also I planted inside my rectangular shape. I decided in this area to try Lasagna gardening which is another alternative gardening style to the traditional dug garden.

The process of the center area of my garden is Lasagna style.

1) first we already laid the plastic.

2) cardboard or cardboard paper or newspaper.

3) top soil, blood meal, manure, compost--mix it into each other with a hoe etc...

4) loose straw

5) take the plant with a handful of topsoil and push it into the straw, firming it into the compact soil, and bringing the straw in close around that plant.

6) water, water, water.

Both of these techniques have saved me tons of time. I am a mom of four, and I don't have time to dig and weed. These techniques work great and my plants are doing wonderful!!


Friday, May 1, 2009


I said I was a pessimistic....that does not mean a complainer!

But I have a few bones to chew; about some obvious (should be) things..

This past earth day I happened to catch Oprah and Ellen doing a wonderful show about exactly that..THE EARTH and it was a lot to do about how WE as people are wasting, polluting, and leaving our footprints all over this beautiful globe.
I agree! However instead of making us feel bad for the stupidity that is the human race and sign off with that...what about solutions??? yes they suggest each and everyone of us take responsibility for ourselves; ok, agreed..BUT..and here is the big BUT...what about the damage we have already incurred because of our ignorance or just plain bad habits????

Oprah goes to LA and shows Americans biggest landfill that is approx. 200ft deep with just a portion of LA residents......and as they are filming trucks are DUMPING more garbage...what to do?????

I have an easy solution...and all you PC people out there cover your eyes.....An easy out here it comes............Have all the non violent inmates, in all the fifty two states out there cleaning up the devastation! What a solution...Instead of these loafers sitting around in Recliners, watching plasma TVs and smoking cigarettes...and instituting new fashion trends that our obviously impressionable wealthy, young white America can't resist ..(ya know! cause it be cool to be in prison) instead....give them a chore, a punishment, a purpose...wait oh wait! I forgot they already get the best of the best education in prison, health care is taken care of, three square meals a day, and even a free shrink is available to talk about their feelings, they might even write a best seller...Heck, I think they are living better than the average Free American in this country.

So I say take the two problems and create the solution. All you Politically correct people out there that say but wait...they have rights! etc..etc....A hard days work never hurt anyone did it?'s better than working on a chain gang isn't it? remember the good ole days??? when the criminal paid for his crimes big/small and didn't think of prison as a resort!

Killing two birds with one stone? Just think of the manpower...all of the non violent inmates in all the states, filling up the system...We could have these dumps cleaned up in no time!

Makes you wonder if the powers that be really want a solution...or is all this Earth day stuff just another money maker.....if you never solve the problem..more money will most assuredly be needed to continue research, progress etc...sometimes it's that easy.