prepairing straw bales for vegetable planting

imn2plntsMarch 22, 2012

Greetings everyone,

I am new to this forum and from what I have read here it seems to be an interesting, friendly and informative place. I would like to say hello to all of you and good luck in all your endeavors. I am starting a straw bale vegetable garden this year and would like to ask a question about preparing the straw for planting. I watered the bales for three days then added 1/2 cup of ammonium nitrate per bale for three days and then 1/4 cup ammonium nitrate per bale for three days. I watered in the ammonium nitrate well with each application. From what I have read the straw is supposed to heat up during this process as it is decomposing but I have yet to detect any heat. My questions are:

a. How long should it take for this heating process to run it's course?

b. Being as it has been 10 days since I began this process and the straw is cool to the touch is it safe to plant vegetable seedlings at this point?

c. Should I give it more time to heat up and cool down and if so should I stop the ammonium nitrate or keep applying it?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It is a very unusual method of gardening so you might get more info from a site that focuses on the method rather than one that is traditional gardening oriented. I did find this one long discussion about it from over on the Garden Experiments forum.

And a Google search pulls up several links to info on how-to do it and I linked a set of step-by-step videos below and I hope they are of help.

Just a guess on my part but I would suspect, from what I have read, that your bales are too fresh since partially decomposed bales is what is called for. But it looks like you could still hollow out the core and fill it with potting soil for planting.

Hope this helps.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Straw bale gardening videos

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

I had never heard of that method of gardening until last spring, when the clerk at the local gas station was telling me about it. She said you had to wait 3 weeks before planting.

I asked through the summer how it was going, and she said the seeds sprouted, but they weren't doing well. By the end of summer, she declared it a total disaster and a waste of effort (not to mention not getting much in the way of crops). She said something hatched and the bales were surrounded by clouds of some kind of small flying insects.

She said she would never do it that way again.

Then I googled 'bale garden failure', and got lots of hits agreeing with her view. Below is one of them.

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: Baling out of the perfect garden dream

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 11:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
imn2plnts

Thank you for the information digdirt and belgianpup.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 2:24PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Best kind of mulch for vegetable garden
What kind of mulch is recommended for a veggie garden?...
Peter
Woody Parsnips
What causes parsnips to develop wrinkly skin and woody...
qbush
Puzzled with my bell pepper plants
I have been harvesting from the same plant since last...
jacat426
Are winter squash leaves edible?
for example, butternut squash?
takadi
Fertilising
Hello All, I am planning my winter crop (live in New...
bopwinter
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™