Friday, November 5, 2010

Makin' hay while the sun shines...

Or maybe that should be "makin' straw bale gardens" while the sun shines.
Either way, this is what I've been up to lately.


I've been taking a bunch of straw bales, and turning into this: (potentially anyway...)




Or maybe even this:


At this point, I really dunno know what I'm doing, but I'm having fun doing it, anyway.

In a nutshell, what you do is take a straw bale (not a hay bale, but a straw bale), turn it on it's side, water it thoroughly for a couple of days or a week until the breaking down process starts, and then you simply plant your plants - veggie or flowers - directly into the bale.
Theoretically, it cuts down on weeds, watering and bugs... but time will tell, I guess.

Now when I ran across this idea, it sounded super easy and extremely cheap.
But I forgot for a moment that I'm livin' in Oz.
There's nothing cheap about buying a plain old straw bale here.
Everywhere I looked, I was looking at prices in the neighborhood of $11 and up (mostly up) - per bale that is - which is almost quadruple the cost that the US website recommended.

But ... I figure that once I get a seasons worth of growing out of it, it can then be used for mulching or whatever, so the idea of "dual purpose" made the exorbitant price seem a little more bearable.

I ended up starting out with 4 bales, and had them all nicely placed and the breaking down process started, but then we ended up with some hellacious rains and when it rains hard here, my patio ends up getting flooded.

So I moved the bales to the edge of the patio, to sort of keep the water from flowing in so badly.
And it worked.
The problem now is, is now that the bales are so heavy with water, I'll have to get someone to come help me shift them back to where they were in the first place.
IF they don't start breaking up on me, that is.
If they do, my "dual purpose" bales may end up being nothing more than bloody expensive mulch after all.
Or costly cat litter, once it's tossed on the garden.

I'll try and get some pictures of my own, once I get the bales back in place, okay?
But as helpful as the Old Guy is, that may well be the "twelfth of never"...
I know the Young Lad would be willing to try and help, but he's pretty small for his age and he even had trouble moving them when they were fairly dry.
Plus, all the grunting and groaning coming from them both, (while I moved 2 of them with sort-of ease) made my ears hurt.

And they call women the weaker sex?
Ha! yeah, right!!

9 comments:

Becky said...

Now that's a funny post! Why are doing all this hard work, for curb appeal to help sell your house? Tell those guys to put on their big girls panties and get to work!

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

That works great and I´ve been thinking of doing it here too! Works great for potatoes for instance. But I have to say they were bl...y expensive :-) :-) Thankfully I live beside farmers so I can get it cheaper from them.

I look forward to read more about this, so I can avoid any problems You´ll have :-) :-) :-)

Have a great day now!
Christer.

Kurichan said...

Hey--you must have gotten the little ad on your facebook page, too! I saw that recently and I think it sounds like a great idea! Keep me posted ;-)

Nancy M. said...

Interesting! I've never heard of that, but I am all for less weeds! Sometimes it just pays to do things yourself!

HermitJim said...

Looks like an interesting experiment! It will be interesting to see just how it does!

Good luck with the bales, my friend!

Gramma 2 Many said...

I really like the idea. Wish I had room to try it. Maybe though, I could line them up in my little flower beds and raise them up to a height so I do not have to stoop to weed them. Might just give it a try after all:)

Marjie said...

My dearly beloved never refers to me as "weaker". Just smaller. And then he gets mad when I leave the cupboard doors above my stoves open. Hells Bells, darlin! It's at least 15" above my head! How do I even know the damn doors are there!

Hope your straw experiment works out for you, Old Guy and Kid's help notwithstanding.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Kate!!! This is a FABULOUS idea!!! I never heard of this, but I want to COPY you!!!! Too bad about the rain...but I'm sure YOU will figure it out!!! You are Wonder Woman!!! :-)) Just wanted to stop in to say "hello!" and to give you some hugs! Love you, Janine XO

Homestay Mama said...

I wonder if straw bale gardens would work in rainy Seattle? Intriguing idea, though. Let us know how your experiment turns out!


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