June 1, 2011

Straw Bale Gardening–Week 3

June 1, 2011
As I mentioned before we have four straw bales.  In two of the bales we have tomato plants (six total), in another bale we have 3 bell pepper plants and then in the last bale we have cucumbers.
I am totally new at the whole experience so there is a big learning curve involved.  Initially Colton and I had been watering the bales every afternoon.  The temperatures plummeted a few weeks ago and thus several of our tomato plants were looking rough.  Once the temps picked back up and everything had been transplanted they all started to perk up.
This weekend we were away for the memorial day holiday and we came back to some pretty sad tomato and pepper plants.  We also had several cucumber plants that had came up right before we left and several were dead when we returned home - the sun cooked them!  There are still two small cucumber plants that are looking good so I am hopeful!  Question – can I plant cucumbers and squash in the sides of the other bales that already have plants in them??
Colton and I spent a great deal of time yesterday (these pics are from today) watering the bales… I did not want to wait until the end of the afternoon to give them water because they looked so thirsty, but I have been told it is not good to water the plants while the sun is beaming on them.  I remembered reading something about putting an inverted bottle into the bales and watering them – at the time when I was reading the article I had no idea what the author was talking about, but yesterday the light bulb went off and voila!
I found a few water bottles (and one Gatorade bottle) so I cut the bottoms off – used a garden planter/tiller to create an opening in the straw bale and then wedge in the water bottle.
This works much better for making sure the water is getting down into the bales and it helps for Colton to have something to aim at when he is doing the watering. He has a tendency to want to stay in one spot and water or throw the water hose everywhere, thus soaking the leave of the plants. Now he can fill up the bottle and then move to the next – it is like a little game for him!
Colton really enjoys watering the “string” bales and I love spending this little time with him teaching him about how God makes the plants grow… I am hopeful that we will soon have some fresh veggies to delight in!
We do have a small pest problem… well, the pest are small, but they are everywhere!!!  Does anyone know what these bugs are??
Happy Gardening!
Share your progress on your straw bales!!

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