Straw Bale Garden: What I Learned

Straw bale garden–April on the left, November on the right. The straw bale garden I started this spring has been one of the most successful vegetable gardens I’ve ever planted. In fact it’s still producing well into November. Here’s what I learned from the experiment: Plants that suck up a lot of nitrogen, like squash, do well in a straw bale garden. My tomatoes flourished but, due to the high nitrogen...

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Top Ten Vegetable Gardening Mistakes

...;t like clay soils and warm temperatures. Cabbage gets lots of pests here. Some veggies are best to outsource to the professionals at the farmer’s market. 4. Not having a plan My brain, to put it politely, is non-linear. If I were to overcome that cognitive flaw and plan out how much and where things should be planted I’d have both a steady supply of produce as well as a more attractive garden. 5. Not labeling plants What kind of ok...

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Straw Bale Garden Tour Part I

In this vide we take you into the backyard for a tour of our straw bale garden. We started rotting the bales in late April by adding blood meal. In May we added a balanced fertilizer and started planting the bales. In the video you’ll see the veggies we planted in early June. The soaker hose you see comes from Home Depot. I’m pretty sure it is this stuff. Every other week I add some fish emulsion to a watering can and hand water t...

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Straw Bale Garden Part V: Growing Vegetables

...ought that straw bale gardening was like hydroponics–essentially fertilizer added to a growing medium. But the presence of worms and mushrooms indicates that well rotted straw bales are more like the kind healthy soil that supports a web of soil organisms that, in turn, help vegetables grow. Some of the plants, like this winter squash, I planted as seedlings. Others, like this cucumber, I sowed direct...

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DIY Project: Reconnect with Nature

Caspar David Friedrich, Woman Before the Rising Sun, 1818-20, oil on canvas, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany This is called a Sit. 1) Take yourself somewhere away from noise and people. It is possible to do this in a garden, or even among your potted plants, but it is easier to do in a natural place. A quiet beach. In a meadow. By a lake. Up in the mountains. Go alone, or have your companion(s) leave you alone for a while. 2)...

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How to Deal With Thrips on Stone Fruit

...wer thrip (Frankliniella occidentalis), was noshing on our nectarines. Thrips damage the fruit when it is small. The scars enlarge as the fruit matures. How do you manage thrips? UC Davis notes: Western flower thrips overwinter as adults in weeds, grasses, alfalfa, and other hosts, either in the orchard floor or nearby. In early spring, if overwintering sites are disturbed or dry up, thrips migrate to flowering trees and plants and deposit eggs i...

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Cat Litter Compost, Installment #3

...ve at it. I’m using it as part of the mix that forms the worm bedding, so cat poo will become worm poo and the garden will be delighted. That’s how I plan to dispose of all of it, bit by bit. If I didn’t have the worm bin, I’d call it done and spread it under fruit trees or ornamental plantings. Lessons Learned: 1) Make sure your pile is accessible and easy to turn. Due to lack of yard space, I put my litter in a 50 gallon...

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Flowers from Vegetables

...and birds. The usefulness comes in two waves: the first being the pollinators attracted to the flowers, and once the flowers go to seed the birds will move in. Of course this means that I’m “wasting space” and making my garden “unproductive” but the rewards outweigh any inconvenience. New gardeners are often surprised to see what amazing flowers different vegetables make. People with no connection to food plants what...

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Saturday Linkages: Controversy Edition

Gardening Homegrown polenta? Floriani corn plants deliver ‘amazing flavor’ http://fw.to/2ju3QtE The High Line in Person by Susan Harris http://gardenrant.com/2013/08/the-high-line-in-person.html?utm_source=feedly … Knocked Out—and not in a good way by James Roush http://gardenrant.com/2013/08/knocked-out-and-not-in-a-good-way.html?utm_source=feedly … Hackin’ Open Tech Forever: permaculture/open tech startu...

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